“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25).”
Tthe last couple of weeks I have twice lost my temper, badly. Sadly, these fits of rage have occurred with my family.
I have been working hard at controlling myself of late, so I have been wondering where all this wrath comes from. Is this intense anger genetic, originating from my Irish roots? (They don’t call it IREland for nothing.) Am I mad at my mommy and daddy, as psyschiatrists might have me believe? Or am I just plain insane? After all, an archaic term for insanity was “rage”.
I’m not taking anabolic steroids. If I were this might explain my fury. I could write it off to “roid rage”.
It could be I have a disease. The etymology of the word ‘”rage” includes rabia, the Latin root of the term “rabies”. So maybe I have become like a mad dog because one bit me in my sleep.
Or maybe I’m mad at God, and therefore I take it out on my the nearest target, my fam. After all, the Bible shows that people get get mad at Him (Job 15:12,13).
Whatever is causing my fury, I have to get a handle on it. It’s not good for my health for one. Anger increases the heart rate and blood pressure.
Some people can’t even turn off their fury. According to the famous website “How Stuff Works”, these folks may not be able to produce a hormone called acetylcholine, which limits the effects of adrenaline. As a result, they stress their onw hearts and stiffen their arteries.
What is worse than the physical effects of my rage is what I know its doing to my family and my other relationships. The same website says:
“Chronically angry people may have built up years of expecting to be disappointed and frustrated by events around them. These people react more angrily to even small stressful events, but in doing so, they create even more reasons to be angry. Individuals with higher anger describe higher levels of family conflict and lower levels of social support because of the effect their anger has on those around them.”
What is ironic about raging at other people is how hypocritical it is. Judah was ready to burn his daughter in-law Tamar at the stake when he was told she was pregnant out of wedlock. Then he learned that he was the father (Genesis 38:15-26). People even get mad at God when they are only just reaping the results of their stupidity (Proverbs 19:3).
Rageaholics tend to go to extremes in their anger, also. They do not fit the punisment to the perceived crime. For example, God allowed Israel to punish their brethren from Judah because of their sin, but they overdid it. They enslaved them. God was not a happy camper.
He sent a prophet to rebuke Israel. The prophet said to them, “Because the LORD, the God of your fathers, was angry with Judah, he gave them into your hand. But you have slaughtered them in a rage that reaches to heaven (II Chronicles 28:9).”
God also got angry at Edom for their ongoing destructive rage against their blood relatives from Israel. He said, “For three sins of Edom, even for four, I will not turn back my wrath . Because he pursued his brother with a sword, stifling all compassion, because his anger raged continually and his fury flamed unchecked (Amos 1:11).”
I am as hypocritical as these biblical folks were. I get mad at my family when they are late, bicker with each other, or slow my progress. Yet, I operate on my own selfish schedule, argue with them myself and hinder their goals, also.
I also tend to mete out massive punishments for slight offenses. I am ready to give out a week of house arrest for a small tussle between the kids.
Look, God obviously doesn’t approve of my unjust rage and punishments. Otherwise, He wouldn’t have told his people, “But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips (Colossians 3:8).”
What’s the solution? How do I do my part and get rid of the rage.
If I had all the answers I wouldn’t be throwing hissy fits. However, I do think am getting better. My anger events are less frequent and less intense overall.
One thing that I believe has helped me contain my fury is medicine. Not everyone agrees with its use, but I think it has kept a lid on my rage. Yesterday, I felt like a boiling pot, but I didn’t melt down to the point of doing something really stupid.
The other factor that has definitely helped is that I am seeking the Lord out more than ever before. His Spirit within me frees me from self condemnation and helps me to move on from my rage events. The Holy Spirit I also believe is supernaturally helping me with my anger as I walk with Him (Romans 8:1-10).”
Even so, I want my ire events to cease completely. I know God isn’t pleased with them. I don’t want Him to say to me “I know where you live. Don’t make me come down there”, as He did with the enemies of Israel (II Kings 19:27).
God cares for the downtrodded and oppressed, and He cares for His people. He said of Israel,
“Their people, drained of power,
are dismayed and put to shame.
They are like plants in the field,
like tender green shoots,
like grass sprouting on the roof,
scorched before it grows up (II Kings 19:26).”
This is a good description of my family at the moment. They are worn out.
God cares for my wife and kids, and so do I. They are precious to Him and to me. I am responsible for them before God. Therefore, I don’t want to add to their problems with my temper tantrums.
I may be walking with the Spirit, but I tend to be a bit behind Him. It’s time I catch up.