This Christian Gets Angry Too.
Turn the other cheek. Every Christian has heard that admonishment. We live in an angry world. When someone is mean to us our reaction is to hurt back. It happened to me just the other day. I was crossing the street and this young Caucasians man sped up so as to scare me. He was too far away to actually hit me even with his speeding up. He actually changed lanes just to make sure I knew he was playing chicken with my life. It’s not the first time someone of his race has entertained themselves this way with my life. I just looked at him as he approached, still walking and showing him I was not concerned with his antics as I knew his intent was not murder. He turned his wheel in plenty of time to avoid hitting me and blew his horn at me after passing.
Funny thing is it was his horn blowing that I allowed to get under my skin and my instant reaction was to give him the middle finger. Shame followed my actions and I looked around to see if anyone I knew saw me do that. I spent the rest of the night mad at myself for my reaction. One would think that I should have been angry that in 2015, such racial hatred and stupid games with someone’s life would still be a common daily occurrence. But it was my reaction that angered me most.
Anger is a manifestation of our imperfection. The problem with not controlling ones temper is that things can get out of hand. Let’s say I was a gun carrying racist and when the young man past me, and my response to my anger would have been to shoot out his tire and watch his car spin out of control. Now that thought doesn't make my response a better choice, but it shows what happens when we don’t keep ourselves in check when we have the power to actually hurt people. We can hurt people just as much with our words as we can with our physical reactions.
My reaction could very well have hurt my reputation. Someone that I didn't know who knows me, that may have seen what I did would quickly make an assumption of me that I am quick tempered. No one wants to be around quick tempered people or hire a person that is. I work in customer service so that would definitely impede me from working in that field if being quick temper were my reputation.
If people I went to school with or who lived in my neighborhood, or even my family members new me to be a person with a quick temper, I doubt I would have a lot of friends. I like people. So what am I to do?
After the shame of my reaction hit me and I found myself looking around for eye witnesses to my shame, I bowed my head and prayed for forgiveness. I knew it wasn't enough. I knew I had to change. I also asked God to help me control my temper so that obscene jesting would not be a go to response for challenging situations that anger me.
Pray & Think
After putting myself in the right frame of mind with the peace of God after that prayer, I thought about how I should have reacted to that situation. I did fine right up until the car past me and the horn was blown. Next time I decided I would smile. Yep, you can’t be mad while smiling, unless you are “Mad”. I would smile over the fact that I was beyond such childish behavior as playing chicken with someone’s life. I would smile because he not only did not kill me but he did not get me riled up as he had hoped. That’s why he was angry and blew his horn. He got absolutely no reaction from me until the horn, and then I lowered myself to his stupidity and made that gesture.
I smile now thinking about its healing effect. Smiles have power on the person that genuinely releases it. I’m happy that I don’t hate random people for reasons as senseless as the race they were born to.
When you take a deep breath and take a moment to think you give yourself time to consider the appropriate reaction. So many times we just react and end up saying things we will later regret. Some people even react violently and break things. I remember once, I was so mad at my mother that I stormed to my room kicked my shoe off so hard it slammed into a makeup mirror my aunt had bought me as a graduation present. I loved that mirror because it was one with light bulbs with different light settings on it for day and evening. But two bulbs were broken and the shards were too sharp and too short for me to unscrew them. Thus, the gift was inoperable and had to be tossed. Taught me a lesson about controlling violent reactions to my temper. I don’t destroy things anymore.
When I think longer on the situation of the driver, it may not have been a race issue. He might hate women. He may have just gotten in a fight with his girlfriend and used me to blow off some steam. Perhaps, people walking in the street just pisses him off. I state all this to say, there may be another side to the story.
Everything that makes us angry isn't necessarily the situation as we see it. Misunderstandings can cause anger. A person over reacting to something we say or do may cause us to get angry and not resolve an issue properly. Anger on top of anger does not create a calm situation. In view of the foregoing, it may be necessary to walk away from the situation and try to consider all aspects of the event.
In all honesty, I will never know what caused this young man to play Russian roulette with my life. But had I the chance, I would like to hear why he had such animosity against me, a total stranger to him. I would listen intently to his side of things and if I could, adjust my future actions accordingly. Okay, perhaps that’s stretching my point a bit. But fact is, when dealing with anger it might be a good idea to stop and seriously listen to the other person. You may find that there is no reason at all to be angry.
The truth of it all is that we have more control then we think we have. We cannot control life or what people do to us, but we can control our reaction to it. So when you feel angry, take a deep breath and think so as to control your reaction.