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What Makes You Angry?


Issue 039

Have you ever wondered what makes you angry? Today at work or at home you may find yourself frustrated, exasperated or even downright furious about something or someone. In such cases you’ll find my question strange because you may think it’s blindingly obvious what’s making you angry.

Certainly anger is on the increase. We get angry at our bosses, our
colleagues or our staff. We get angry about our workload or frequent
interruptions. We get angry about confusions about our roles and
responsibilities. People who don’t pull their weight or others who
demand too much infuriate us. We get angry on the way in and on the
way home. We even have a language for our anger – desk rage, road
rage, or sky rage!

So what makes us angry? Here are another two questions for you:
Put ten people in the same situation;some will get angry and some
won’t – why is that? Then, suppose you send your boss, colleague
or whoever is the irritant away for counselling, would you automatically
get better? I don’t think so.

The big surprise for everyone on the Anger Management Programme
that I run occurs at the point when we conclude that nothing or no one
makes us angry, we do that ourselves. You make yourself angry. Listen
to Jesus’ brother: “what causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t
they come from your desires that battle within you? You want
something but don’t get it. You kill and covet but you cannot have what
you want.”

Behind that kind of behaviour is a belief that the world should run
according to my agenda. It’s a kind of selfishness. So what will make
you angry today? You will. Your desires will. Your beliefs will. Your
selfishness will. When Jesus said, “Take up your cross and follow me,” he
also said, “deny yourself.” In saying this he was inviting us to live in the
real world taking responsibility for our actions and reactions. He was
also inviting us to deal with that true culprit of our anger – ourselves.


James 4:1

1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God.

Luke 9:23

23Then he said to them all: “Those would come after me, must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me”.

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Module: 7
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Tags: anger, feelings, responsibility, self

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Geoff Shattock

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