Anger Is Toxic! Don’t Spew, Stuff, Or Leak It!
It’s hard for me to remember that my anger isn’t going to fix anything. In fact, it can cause me to regret venting it. Proverbs 29:11 cautions, “Fools give full vent to their anger.” Yet, sadly, many of us have outbursts of anger.
Anger often results in everything going wrong. That’s what happened in the spring of 1894. The Baltimore Orioles came to Boston to play ball, but the game became a fight and then a brawl. First, Tommy Foghorn Tucker slid into third and third baseman John McGraw kicked him in the face resulting in a fight between them. Then both teams rushed into the ballfield and joined in a full-scale brawl.
The brawl was eventually broken up, and it seemed as if the game would continue in a few minutes. But, James Bannon, the Boston right fielder, spotted a fire under the right-field bleachers. He rushed over and tried to stamp out the fire but couldn’t do so. Bannon tried to get the people in the stands to leave the bleachers, but they ignored him, hoping to see more fights when the game resumed. Suddenly, a gust of wind spread the fire into a blaze that fans could not miss.
When awareness hit, fans exited the bleachers rushing out into the field, breaking the fence as they tumbled over one another to get away from the fire. The fire swept through the wooden fences, bleachers, grandstand seating, and pavilion. The nine-alarm fire caused no fatalities but burned the ball stadium and more than 12 acres and destroyed 200 buildings, leaving 1,900 homeless. (Source Article by Terry Gottschall from Society For American Baseball Research)
Getting angry happens to everyone, but it can cause disastrous results. When we get angry, it can become a wildfire out of control. No matter what sparks our anger, it is wise to restrain it before it is too big to handle. James 1:19-20 says, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for our anger does not bring about the righteous lives that God desires of us.” It’s hard to keep a tight rein on our tongue and actions when angry.
Anger often results in aggressive behavior. If you express your anger by throwing things, punching walls, swearing, verbally abusing and screaming at others, and placing your hands on another, you may emotionally or physically harm them. Murder often begins in anger. Most of us do not want to endure others spewing their rage at us.
Some folks stuff their anger, refusing to let it go for days, weeks, or years. When we stuff our anger, we give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:26-27 warns, “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and give the devil a foothold.” Stuffed anger invites the devil to grow unforgiveness and bitterness in us. We may feel we have the right to shut out others who have wronged us, but better to restrain our anger quickly and re-evaluate it.
Re-evaluating angry feelings helps us to release them. Angry someone cut you off in traffic? Why hang on to the offense? If there was no accident, trash, your anger.