I find it quite incredulous that in this country, with so many freedoms, luxuries and privileges, words like “hanger” and “road rage” have become so common. Most of us have more than enough food to eat in our homes and there is always a store around the corner. We have no reason to be “hungry – angry” just because our tummies rumble!
Road rage is almost epidemic with incidents displayed daily on the evening news. In Massachusetts one man was torqued off by a young woman who passed him on the road, so he shot her in the head. This is absolutely shocking behavior over a minor and temporary inconvenience while the consequences for both parties is devastating and permanent. What is wrong with our society that normal people show no self-control? Why are these knee-jerk reactions out of proportion to the minor infractions?
The book of Genesis tells us we live in a fallen world where conflict is inevitable. Anger may be the emotional response to a situation but it does not remove personal responsibility for one’s actions. It started back in the Garden of Eden when Cain was angry that his sacrifice was not accepted but his brother Able’s was. God offered a warning and told Cain he had a choice.
“Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected?7 You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” Gen 4:6-7 (NLT)
Cain decided to kill his brother instead of doing the right thing and the punishment was severe. We also have a choice in how we respond to conflict, inconvenience and even pain inflicted by someone else. Anger can flare when we perceive that someone has violated our “rights”. Sometimes yielding our right to get even can deescalate a situation. We need to ask God for His intervention in our own hearts.
And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry,27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil……31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Eph. 4:26-27,31-32 (NLT)
If we take the time to think about it, Jesus yielded all of His rights. He left the splendor of heaven to be born in a barn to a poor family. He grew up in a small town and was often misunderstood. Jesus did no wrong but instead preached, healed the sick and did many miracles. Then Jesus was betrayed and suffered an excruciating death for our sin. But because Jesus had victory over death and sin we too can have victory daily through the power of the Holy Spirit.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Gal 5:22-23 (NLT)
Contrary to a recent political statement, we should not “kick back” when pushed. Choose God’s way – the high way. Let our driving be our witness and let’s not be hangry anymore.