I was recently attacked by a fellow motorist who was under the control of absolute road rage. The incident included my driver’s side window getting punched, a water bottle was thrown at my car, and the police being called. I was shaken by the event but thankfully no one was injured. My guardian angel was working hard that day. Obviously, my attacker was upset to the point of anger and he must have felt that the only way to deal with the situation was to let his emotions get the best of him. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems there has been more and more anger in the world, on television and on social media. Be it motivated by social justice, the media, politics, or pandemics, the anger and rage are on display today.
Constant anger can be detrimental to our health. Being angry can release what is known as the ‘fight or flight’ response. The adrenal gland floods the body with stress hormones when angry. These hormones are released with emotions like stress and anxiety. In this state, the brain redistributes blood from the gut and prioritizes it in the muscles for immediate use in self-defense or for protective reasons. The body increases its respiratory rate, blood pressure and heart rate along with body temperature so then the mind can focus. I am sure that is what is going on when a gazelle is being chased by a lion or cheetah in the African plains. If I was that gazelle I’d want all of my abilities focused on escaping and surviving for another day. The short-term physical effects of those hormones would be beneficial. When those hormones are constantly running through our veins due to anger then we can see the damage done by them. Health problems such as; headache, digestive problems, insomnia, depression, high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke can occur with a constant flood of these stress hormones. There are the side effects of anger that are not just internal. Lashing out at friends or family members, yelling, starting fights both physical and verbal, and road rage can all come from someone not in control of their anger.
Anger can be used for good though. Selfless anger is sometimes appropriate. We can be angry that there are people dying from hunger all around the world or innocent people being denied their rights and sometimes their lives by powerful people who have power over them. Those things can cause righteous indignation and lead to action to change things for the good. The trouble though is anger is still mixed in and can become unrighteous extremely easily and quickly.
This is the main point I would like to get to. Revenge, anger, malice, and rage are not safe in our sinful hands. The Word of God has an answer to all of life’s situations. Many people need to be reminded of these words, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:18-21