TC's guidelines and principles of life #24: "When you get angry, your IQ decreases by about 75%." I am a reasonably intelligent human being. And I strive to follow the healthy, helpful advice that Jesus gives me through the books his disciples wrote about him and what he said.
Jesus especially emphasized two things that he says I should do: Love God with all my being and love my neighbors as myself. I'm a bit of an introvert, and I was an only child, so I'm still learning to be good at the 'loving my neighbor' part.
I'm actually reading a book right now called 'The Art of Neighboring' that is challenging me and I'm already taking steps to better get to know the people who physically live closest to me.
But sometimes I get angry. And I've noticed something: that when I get angry, I stop caring about the things Jesus said.
I don't want to learn about why somebody else took a particular action.
I don't want to learn their story so I can value them more.
Usually, I just want to take the bad feeling inside me and shove it on top of somebody else.
So I argue or I yell or I just kind of act like a jerk.
I was at a gas station the other day when one guy started yelling and cussing at another guy because he didn't like where the other guy pulled up to the gas pump.
It made the guy who was yelling and cussing look pretty bad. He was being selfish and pretty unreasonable.
I wasn't angry, so I could see how ridiculous he was being. But I bet he didn't think he was acting foolishly. Because his IQ was down about 75% at the time.
When I get angry, I think 'not angry me' would look at me and think many of the same things. 'What's that guys problem? Doesn't he realize how bad he looks when he is doing that?'
In Ephesians 4:26, Paul relays a quote: "don't sin by letting anger control you." Later he says that anger gives the devil a foothold in our lives.
So when I'm angry, I try to shut up until I get over myself. Usually I try to remember to pray in those moments, knowing that God is able to help me deal with emotions that seem to be out of my control sometimes.
When I've got my wits about me, I can usually handle situations that come my way. So I try not to let anger steal those wits.
Another product of my personality is that I fear rejection. One of the temptations for me is to respond to rejection (or even perceived rejection) is to use anger as a shield.
It's pretty unhealthy, I know. That's why I do my best not to allow it to happen. Being willing to stay vulnerable in the face of rejection is not my favorite thing to do.
That's why I pray. Because, without God's help, it will be impossible for me.
So next time you get angry, remember that you're not just angry: you're angry and stupid. And when you're angry and stupid, it's probably best not to so something that smart, calm you will look at and say 'what's his/her problem?'
35@35 is a blog series by Thomas Christianson which involves 35 blog posts in 2014 on 35 things he has learned at the age of 35.