Anger is a common response to everyday irritations. Someone cuts you off in traffic or fails to meet your expectations and suddenly you get mad. There must be a better way because none of us really have time to be angry.
Today was one of those days when things just didn’t go as expected. I had an important meeting and all the logistics were in place. Until they weren’t. A half hour before the meeting was scheduled to begin, I was rushing to fix a problem I didn’t create.
When other people heard about the problem they said things like, “I just can’t believe that” or “you must be livid.” Was I irritated? Sure. But, my honest answer to them was “I don’t have time to be angry.” I had a job to do and pointing fingers or blowing my top would just make me feel worse and prevent the work from getting done.
Anger takes energy
Lately I find that I want to conserve my energy for the things that are most important to me. I’m not interested in dwelling on offenses and I don’t have the patience to listen to others explain all the ways they’ve been wronged. Life can be tiring enough without dwelling things we can’t change. When people mess up and make mistakes I’d rather extend grace.
READ: When People Let You Down
The person who cut me off in traffic might be late to pick up a child. Or maybe someone makes a mistake at work because they are dealing with the death of a loved one. None of us is perfect and we all make mistakes. I think it’s much healthier to consider what mitigating factors might cause someone to fall short of my expectations before I become angry.
Be slow to anger
Psalm 37:8 tells us that anger isn’t healthy.
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.
Do not fret—it leads only to evil.
There’s enough negativity in the world. We don’t need to nourish it in our souls. For the sake of our relationships and the sake of our own spiritual well-being, we have to accept the fact that anger isn’t a great option.
Leo Buscaglia wrote, “Don’t hold to anger, hurt or pain. They steal your energy and keep you from love.” This kind of response to irritations and injustices is a spiritual discipline. But it’s a discipline that brings greater peace, greater joy, and greater love into our lives.