Have you posted something lately to have trolls overwhelm your page?
Have you posted a comment on something that made you angry?
This initial reaction to a post title or someone’s comment grows inside of us until our fingers are flying across the keyboard in a rage. We can’t type fast enough and then we hit the submit button, “That’ll show em’.” We think, a few seconds later another comment blasts back, it’s relentless. The internet provides a never ending flow of rage. Social media has become a buffet of outrage and fury.
I’m worried we aren’t accomplishing much, besides pissing one another off.
The Vikings used anger as a weapon. A few of their battle hardened warriors called Berserkers used rage as a superhuman ability. They would work themselves into a frenzy of anger. They had to time it just before the battle, because the rage didn’t discriminate once it took hold. They would wrestle logs floating by on the way to a raid. Once on the battle field they became a storm of violence and death. They were impervious to pain, almost unstoppable in their rage trance fueled by adrenaline and endorphins.
Anger is a defense response from our brain. It floods us with adrenaline and endorphins. It’s a reaction void of logic and reason. It’s only imperative is to lash out and destroy the threat. Proverbs tells us a hot tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention (Proverbs 15:8).
Anger is addictive. It’s an emotional response, it doesn’t require thinking, only action. The adrenaline and endorphins can be comforting. It can be comforting insulating ourselves in anger, but destructive to those around us and ourselves. It does more damage to the vessel than the object of our anger.
The indigenous people, the Inuits call anger childish. Similar to my two year old throwing a tantrum. An adult who acts angrily is a child who has not learned how to deal with their emotions. My two year old daughter is learning how to deal with her feelings. Her emotions are new to her. She doesn’t understand her feelings yet. She acts out in rage, throwing things, screaming, running, and crying. She easily goes into fits of rage as her reactions take over. She is two years old. She is only just learning how to master her feelings. According to the Inuits, an adult who acts out in anger is a child. They have not learned how to master their emotions.
The more we allow anger to take over, the more it becomes a part of us. Our blood pressure rises and can cause long term damage to our heart. It literally destroys ur heart. Ecclesiastes says, “Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools (7:9). It has made me the fool many times.
News stories with headlines that invoke anger get more likes, shares, and comments. These are called ‘click bait’. Titles and topics that feed on our fear and anger manipulate us to react. We are being played by stories and topics that illicit a reaction for profit. Anger has legitimized my stupidest ideas, it tickles my ears with the adrenaline inducing material. I become easily manipulated by sources with very little substance. I take on the persona of a two year old driven by my emotions storming through life in a rage.
Paul advises Timothy, “Flee youthful passions and peruse righteousness, faith, love, and peace along with those who call on the Lord with a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22).”
Anger drives us to violence in a primal belief we can force our will through bloody retaliation. Violence is not Christ-like. Jesus teaches we deny violence and turn the other check. The Kingdom Jesus established is based on sacrifice, the opposite of violence. Peter encourages us to follow the example of Christ. “For you have been called for this purpose, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you would follow in His steps, He who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in Him. And while being abusively insulted, he did not threaten but kept entrusting himself to Him who judges righteously (1 Peter 2:21).” We are to follow Christ’s example all the way to death.
Even while being abusively insulted, Jesus did not threaten, he did not retaliate.
That is the response of a Christian. It is not to be violent, or threaten. We are called to heal, not act in violence. We are to speak peace. I believe the Inuits got it right. Rage is childish behavior. We are called to be wise. To be meek as doves and shrewd as serpents. Don’t allow the rage to take control. Don’t act as a berserker wrestling every log that floats by.
Solomon shares wisdom to future kings, “If the anger of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your place for calmness will lay great offenses to rest (Ecc 10:4).”
The next time you feel your anger rise take a moment, count to ten and breathe. Use your strength to remain calm and choose the wisdom of peace.
The wisdom of life.
The wisdom of God.