My golf bag holds a nine iron that doesn’t belong to me. I don’t know who owns it, but I know something about who does.
I found it in the high bushes beside the walking path adjacent to the golf course. It did not get there the way an errant golf ball ended up in the grass. Instead, I suspect the owner, irritated by a bad round of golf, decided to hurl it as far as possible.
Everyone has a 9-iron problem. It has a name—anger.
Our society is a sourpuss society, with all noses out of joint and adrenalin-fueled scowls. Angry drivers honk horns as soon as a light changes. Ugly gestures fly out of car windows. And for some, it turns deadly with rage aimed through the barrel of a gun at another. And many believe we have become more irritated after the 2020 COVID pandemic.
No one is born angry. Instead, our surroundings coax anger from its hibernation.
Keeping people agitate is now big business.
Social media platforms like Google and Facebook stir us to a slow boil. Through emotions like fear and anger, they can manipulate our focus. More focus means more time staring at sites laced with advertising.
News media companies, including Fox and CNN, use the same deliberate chain-yanking to create flame-throwing interviews and personalities spewing the hourly dose of “look at what (fill in the blank with the appropriate demon) is doing to you!”
In short, all who feed us the information (without exception) want to take over your mind and emotions to get you to respond like a puppet on a string.
While the meek may inherit the earth, the angry buy more stuff.
Such irritation renders human self-control little more than an iguana bristling at a toad that invades his territory.
The comedian Groucho Marx would tell contestants on his game show, If you speak when angry, you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.” He knew the puppet on the string problem.
It is a vast difference between what informs you and what forms you. You can unsubscribe from the first or change the channel. The second becomes a jailor who keeps you locked in a cell of influence and stimulation.
A straightforward idea governs us.
The more you are in an environment, the more it shapes you.
The Greeks had a term that modern Bible translations render with a milque-toast word “meekness.” Yet, meekness described a stallion with all the strength of a king’s mount. What was different was the mighty horse was under the control of a rein.
You can decide not to get angry. While that is not easy, it is accomplishable. It also means you can choose what shapes you.
The most obvious is to avoid what makes triggers strong negative emotions in your life.
Monitor the time you spend in front of news outlets (of any persuasion or party). They are as friendly as Satan.
The wise man of Proverbs counseled,
“Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.” (Proverbs 22:24–25, ESV)
If a news program brings up that makes you angry (even if you agree with them), remember they want you angry so their advertisers can keep your attention. Do you like to be their trained monkey?
Watch your friends. The “spit-and-whittle clubs” often like to complain, which keeps the juices running and the pot stirred. Change the subject or change your company.
Don’t justify it in any way.
Many post ugly posts on a social media platform rail against a perceived problem but refuse to call it anger. Instead, they use “nice” terms to hide the devil’s prompting. The word is “righteous indignation,” a phrase most believe to be Biblical but never found in the Bible. We make sure we insert it into holy writ to justify our failings.
Others say, “I’m not angry, just concerned.” It’s the same bold shade of lipstick on the porker.
Decide how it affects not just your life but also your soul.
Jesus employed anger strategically to right wrongs done to others, not defend his ego. He was angry with the right measure at the right time for the right reason.
Remember that James said:
“for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20, ESV)
Serving God excludes human-born anger, no matter how much it seems justified.
Anger is something all face daily, including me. Yet, if we recognize where it comes from, we can keep from becoming the pawn of our age.
And you won’t lose a perfectly good golf club either.