“That will teach them”. Every utter that phrase? Ever experience that feeling of rage building inside of you, ready to explode out of your chest like something from the movie Alien. Like an untamed wild animal gnawing at your mind and emotions. There’s that desire to tell someone off, cuss them out, or to slam on the accelerator speeding past the person who cut you off while “flipping the bird”. Like a dog tugging at its leash, it pulls you down, drags you about, and leads you down somewhere you don’t want to go. And what do we call that dog; it goes by the name of Anger.
This dog named Anger has a message. In the midst of the gnarling and the showing of teeth, it’s saying: “They deserved it”, “They will pay for that”, “They will regret it”, “I swear to God, I’m gonna…”, “If only they would shut up, then I wouldn’t…”. And the fight is on. The fight between giving someone a piece of your mind and that voice saying, “let it go”. And there it is, the other dog named self-control; telling you to stop, or you shouldn’t do that, this won’t help. So which dog is going to win, well it depends on which dog you feed the most.
That untamed dog named Anger has proven to destroy friendships, marriages, land someone in prison, and can even lead to major health problems. But the dog named self-control is capable, patient, mature, forgiving, expresses forbearance, and restores. Which dog do you feed? John 6:35 reads: Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” Are you eating from the bread of life or are feasting off the bait of Satan?
Scripture reveals to us that vengeance belongs to our Lord. Deuteronomy 32:35 reads: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.” The truth is that vengeance is His and we have no right to seek it out on our own. We are required to forgive, this is not an option that we have the right to decide whether or not we will forgive someone, but rather something that is vital to our wellbeing, both spiritually and physically. We are called daily to forgive, 7×70, not allowing the sun to set on our anger. Despite the dog fight between wanting our own “pound of flesh” and “turning the other cheek”, the fact is that God will avenge us and He is more swift and just than we are.
Even as I write this, I am reminded of the dog fights I have had to endure throughout my life. When I was younger, if someone hurt me, I would hurt them worse just to “teach them a lesson”. We may feel justified to retaliate, or to speak our minds telling someone exactly what we think, but we are not. And there lies the problem as I see it. That side where we believe that we are entitled to seek justice and “speak our mind” and the side that reminds us we are not. Let me be clear about this, I am not saying that anger in itself is wrong, sinful, or always unwanted. After all anger is only an emotion. However, what we do with that anger and how much time we devote to “feeding that dog”; well that can turn into a destructive pattern within our lives.
When we feed off of the bread of life and enjoy the fruits of the spirit, allowing God to deal with those who have offended us, the load on our shoulders is no longer heavy. There is a relief and a sense of freedom that comes about. So in the end, the hard part in managing your anger comes down to the struggle between your sinful soul that seeks justice and the spirit of God what dwells inside of you. Which dog will you feed more? Learn to lean of the strength of God that dwells inside of you. You need to prevent anger from overcoming your thoughts and life by being in the word of God because when you are in the word of God, His word reminds you of these things that provide the strength you need. So be still and know that He is God and there you will find that peace that surpasses all understanding. And isn’t that is the end goal you’re seeking, that peace that surpasses all understanding while in the midst of a dog fight.
One last thought to consider, there are tools that can help you develop that self-control and manage your anger. Head knowledge is good, Godly wisdom is essential, and developing tools that help enable self-control is possible. If you are struggling with anger, or know someone who is, call the main office of Grace Wellness Center at 724-866-7223 for more information on our anger management group. It is a group that utilizes Cognitive Behavior techniques and the word of God to reach a more abundant life. Let go of angers leash and find rest in God.