Most recently I had the awesome privilege of hearing a sermon that dealt with anger. The message covered how some people, when angered, will become “spewers.” I thought that I had a pretty good idea of what the word spew meant, but to be quite honest, I had never given much thought to its meaning in regards to anger. So, I looked up the definition of spewing and here’s what I came up with: To send or force out in or as if in a stream; eject forcefully or in large amounts. As I researched the meaning of spewing even further, I kept seeing this definition coming up time and time again: To vomit or otherwise cast out through the mouth. Disgusting, I know! But the point I’m making is that nobody wants to be “spewed” on or even around it. In fact, a spewing person is probably a person that you’ll want to avoid at all cost … whenever possible … as soon as possible.
Now on a personal note, I can recall times that I vomited my anger on my wife and children. This would account for the grimaces on their faces, not to mention the mass exodus which took place soon afterwards. If you ever want to clear a room quickly, invite a spewer. Proverbs 29:11 Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I thought that my anger was justified, but only to later discover differently. The Book of Proverbs if filled with wisdom concerning anger. Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.
HOW DO WE MISMANAGE OUR ANGER?
I will never forget my first Aha moment concerning how I was mismanaging my anger. It wasn’t until I started writing this post that I fully recognized that I never really had much control over my anger. I use to be a person who would just stew in my anger. You know what I mean, a “simmerer.” I was like grandma’s favorite Beef Stroganoff … the kind that you prepare and let simmer slowly over a low heat until it came to a well-flavored, tender stew that would fill the entire house with its fragrance. Yes! I would simmer in my hurt feelings until I became really angry and then I’d simmer some more. When it came down to how I controlled my anger, it was as if each hurt was a new seasoning being added to the stew. I never realized that I wasn’t dealing with my anger, I was just simmering. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I never showed my anger, even food simmering has intermittent bubbles that burst and splatter food onto the stovetop. But my aha moment came when I realized that while spewing wasn’t helpful in resolving my anger, simmering about it wasn’t any better.
AN AHA MOMENT TO REMEMBER
When my wife and I were dating we hit some rough patches that come when you each no longer put on your “best behavior.” You know, like when you first meet and want to impress each other so you’re overly thoughtful and attentive. Then, the more familiar you are with each other you start taking somethings for granted (I guess that can happen even when you’re married but that’s for another post!) Well anyway, Amy and I would disagree or argue about something and when she’d try and explain how I hurt her feelings, I’d say she was being too sensitive and that it wouldn’t hurt MY feelings. Well, one day Amy said something to me that deeply hurt. It certainly wasn’t the first time she hurt my feelings and it wouldn’t be the last, but this time there was something different. There was this still, small voice in my head telling me- you know your feelings were just hurt. What are you going to do about it; walk around feeling hurt all day? (Sound like simmering?) I told myself this day would be different. I’m going to let Amy know she hurt my feelings. So I told her. And, to my surprise Amy looked me in the eyes calmly and said, “I thought you said stuff doesn’t hurt your feelings. I didn’t even think you had feelings.” “Oh, no she didn’t!” I thought to myself. But in a sense, she was right. For years I told myself that I wasn’t going to let anyone or anything hurt me. I tried to ignore an emotion that was healthy and God given. I thought that I could insulate myself against hurt, and ultimately anger, if I just didn’t allow myself to feel. Unfortunately, this strategy led to my years of Anger Mismanagement.
Christians we don’t have to mismanage our anger. Perhaps you are in the place that I use to be when it comes to anger. Acknowledge your hurt and allow Jesus to help you to take the necessary steps to bring about healing and change. I encourage you to take the time to identify where you might be concerning how you deal with your anger. Be honest with yourself and asked Jesus to help you break this cycle. Take your time, you may discover that you bounce between one or two of these types. But, you’ll probably find one that plays a more dominant role for you.
Spewers: Some people are very explosive with their anger and they express their anger with an eruption. I liken this to a volcano’s eruption of hot molten lava.
Simmering: Some people simmer in their anger by going inward, only to have intermittent, mini- explosions like the spaghetti sauce simmering on a stovetop or the Yellowstone Park hot water geysers.
Suppressing: Some people suppress their anger. They are not exploding; they are imploding by turning their anger inward. I liken it to an earthquake. When it finally reaches the surface, it divides anything in its path.
Once you meditated on the three ways that people tend to deal with their anger, ask yourself if you would want to be around anyone of these types of people: the volcano, the geyser or the earthquake. I imagined your answer is, No! Can you think of a time in your life, that you behaved like one of these three types or perhaps all of them? Did you ever sense that small still voice inside of you called the Holy Spirit tugging at your heart? What did you find yourself doing, yielding to the Holy Spirit or quenching the Holy Spirit?
1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
I hope this blog has encouraged you to take a closer look at Anger Mismanagement. Next week, God willing, I’d like to look with you at … WHAT IS ANGER? We all experience it, some more so than others, and we all face it. Let’s see what light God’s word can shed for us about anger in my next post.