When a golfer was asked why he bought a new putter, he said, "The old one didn't float." We live in what some people call the "age of rage." What about your anger? Do they call you "Old Faithful" at work - not because you show up everyday but because you blow up every week? Do you want to be known for your anger? It started to thunder and lightening during the funeral of a woman known for her temper. Her husband said to his son, "Your mother just arrived in heaven."
You may say, "Charles, I really don't have a problem with anger." Are you sure? Sometimes the stoic, silent people are the ones that have the most trouble with anger. They stuff it on the inside. You may substitute the word "hurt" for "anger." Some people handle anger like a turtle; they just pull their head in and go pout. Others handle it like skunks; they stink up the entire place. Both are inappropriate and both will get you into trouble or keep you from being a winner in life.
During a recent NASCAR event, the second place car tried to pass the first place car on the final stretch. The first car drifted inside and forced the challenger into the infield grass. What happened next was incredible. The offended driver pulled his car back onto the track, caught up with the leader and forced him to the outside wall. Both vehicles came to a screeching halt. The two drivers jumped out and got into an old fashioned slugging match. In the meantime, the third place driver cruised by for the win. Winners rarely lose their temper.
Getting angry is like leaping into a wonderful responsive sports car, gunning the motor, and taking off at high speeds only to discover you have no brakes. That temperamental personality becomes about 90 percent temper and 10 percent mental. You get the "Jim Carey Syndrome." The madder and madder you get, the dumber and dumber you act.
Anger out of control results in losing even when you think you've won. At a national park, people watched as an enormous bear ate out of the trashcans. A skunk ate alongside the bear. Someone asked the park ranger, "How does the little skunk get away with eating the garbage around the big black bear?" The ranger replied, "The bear knows the high cost of winning."
Anger, like a loaded gun, is very powerful. If you are careless you could hurt not only yourself, but others as well. Keep your cool in battle. Don't lose your head or you'll have no place to put your helmet.
Anger can be likened to a fire in a fireplace in a remote cabin during a blizzard. If it gets out of control it can kill the inhabitants - either directly by the heat, or indirectly when they flee and are exposed to the blizzard. On the other hand, if the fire goes out, the occupants will freeze within the cabin. The key is adequate respect and adequate control.
Anger can be your ally. It can move you from apathy to action and energize you to do things you wouldn't ordinarily do. The emotion of anger can lead to the right motion if you control it and not let it control you. Our nation was born when fifty-six patriots became angry enough to sign the Declaration of Independence.
One lady had numerous psychiatric problems and one contributing factor was an uncooperative, fully-grown son who had been freeloading off of her for years. Her physician recommended that she be admitted into a psychiatric hospital. Upon learning this news, her son seemed very pleased at the prospect of getting rid of her and was even helping to pack her bags and haul them out to the car. This made her so furious that she marched back into the house with her luggage and told her son to get out of the house and support himself. The anger forced her to do something that she knew she should have done all along. The emotion of anger lead to a motion that was good for her.
So get good and angry but be sure you control and channel your anger so others will get the good and not the anger.
Charles Lowery is pastor of Hoffmantown Baptist Church, Albuquerque, N.M.