ANGER (see below Anger of Jesus)
Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.
Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one.
It is he who is in the wrong who first gets angry.
Of the 7 deadly sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack
your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter
confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are
given and the pain you are giving back--in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The
chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is
Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking Transformed by
Thorns, p. 117.
Bruce Goodrich was being initiated into the cadet corps at Texas A & M University.
One night, Bruce was forced to run until he dropped -- but he never got up. Bruce Goodrich
died before he even entered college.
A short time after the tragedy, Bruce's father wrote this letter to the administration,
faculty, student body, and the corps of cadets: "I would like to take this
opportunity to express the appreciation of my family for the great outpouring of concern
and sympathy from Texas A & M University and the college community over the loss of
our son Bruce. We were deeply touched by the tribute paid to him in the battalion. We were
particularly pleased to note that his Christian witness did not go unnoticed during his
brief time on campus."
Mr. Goodrich went on: "I hope it will be some comfort to know that we harbor no
ill will in the matter. We know our God makes no mistakes. Bruce had an appointment with
his Lord and is now secure in his celestial home. When the question is asked, 'Why did
this happen?' perhaps one answer will be, 'So that many will consider where they will
Our Daily Bread, March 22, 1994.
An author for Reader's Digest writes how he studied the Amish people in preparation for
an article on them. In his observation at the school yard, he noted that the children
never screamed or yelled. This amazed him. He spoke to the schoolmaster. He remarked how
he had not once heard an Amish child yell, and asked why the schoolmaster thought that was
so. The schoolmaster replied, "Well, have you ever heard an Amish adult yell?"
Doctors from Coral Gables, Fla., compared the efficiency of the heart's pumping action
in 18 men with coronary artery disease to nine healthy controls. Each of the study
participants underwent one physical stress test (riding an exercise bicycle) and three
mental stress tests (doing math problems in their heads, recalling a recent incident that
had made them very angry, and giving a short speech to defend themselves against a
hypothetical charge of shoplifting). Using sophisticated X-ray techniques, the doctors
took pictures of the subjects' hearts in action during these tests.
For all the subjects, anger reduced the amount of blood that the heart pumped to body
tissues more than the other tests, but this was especially true for those who had heart
Why anger is so much more potent than fear or mental stress is anybody's guess. But
until we see more research on this subject, it couldn't hurt to count to 10 before you
blow your stack.
Spokesman-Review, July 29, 1993, p. D3.
Many years ago during a Knicks-Bullets playoff game, one of the Bullets came up from
behind the great Walt Frazier and punched him in the face. Strangely, the referee called a
foul on Frazier. Frazier didn't complain. His expression never changed. He simply called
for the ball and put in seven straight shots to win the game, an amazing display of
productive anger. If you want to get huffy about it, it was a great moral lesson as well.
U.S. News & World Report, June 14, 1993, p.
A person who is angry on the right grounds, against the right persons, in the right
manner, at the right moment, and for the right length of time deserves great praise.
& Pieces, May 27, 1993, p. 1.
Many years ago a senior executive of the then Standard Oil Company made a wrong
decision that cost the company more than $2 million. John D. Rockefeller was then running
the firm. On the day the news leaked out most of the executives of the company were
finding various ingenious ways of avoiding Mr. Rockefeller, lest his wrath descend on
There was one exception, however; he was Edward T. Bedford, a partner in the company.
Bedford was scheduled to see Rockefeller that day and he kept the appointment, even though
he was prepared to listen to a long harangue against the man who made the error in
When he entered the office the powerful head of the gigantic Standard Oil empire was
bent over his desk busily writing with a pencil on a pad of paper. Bedford stood silently,
not wishing to interrupt. After a few minutes Rockefeller looked up.
"Oh, it's you, Bedford," he said calmly. "I suppose you've heard about
Bedford said that he had.
"I've been thinking it over," Rockefeller said, "and before I ask the
man in to discuss the matter, I've been making some notes."
Bedford later told the story this way:
"Across the top of the page was written, 'Points in favor of Mr. _______.' There
followed a long list of the man's virtues, including a brief description of how he had
helped the company make the right decision on three separate occasions that had earned
many times the cost of his recent error.
"I never forgot that lesson. In later years, whenever I was tempted to rip into
anyone, I forced myself first to sit down and thoughtfully compile as long a list of good
points as I possibly could. Invariably, by the time I finished my inventory, I would see
the matter in its true perspective and keep my temper under control. There is no telling
how many times this habit has prevented me from committing one of the costliest mistakes
any executive can make -- losing his temper.
"I commend it to anyone who must deal with people."
Bits & Pieces, September 15, 1994, pp. 11-13.
The fastest horse cannot catch a word spoken in anger.
Chinese Proverb in Bits & Pieces, July 25, 1992,
In the spring of 1894, the Baltimore Orioles came to Boston to play a routine baseball
game. But what happened that day was anything but routine. The Orioles' John McGraw got
into a fight with the Boston third baseman. Within minutes all the players from both teams
had joined in the brawl. The warfare quickly spread to the grandstands. Among the fans the
conflict went from bad to worse. Someone set fire to the stands and the entire ballpark
burned to the ground. Not only that, but the fire spread to 107 other Boston buildings as
Daily Bread, August 13, 1992.
The 18th-century British physician John Hunter, who was a pioneer in the field of
surgery and served as surgeon to King George III, suffered from angina. Discovering that
his attacks were often brought on by anger, Hunter lamented, "My life is at the mercy
of any scoundrel who chooses to put me in a passion." These words proved prophetic,
for at a meeting of the board of St. George's Hospital in London, Hunter got into a heated
argument with other board members, walked out, and dropped dead in the next room.
the Word, June 8, 1992.
A father of three won a shouting contest with a roar louder than a passing train.
"If you want a war, you go!" Yoshihiko Kato shouted. The sound meter registered
115.8 decibels, louder than the racket of a train passing overhead on an elevated
railroad. For that winning shout, Kato won the $750 grand prize of the 10th annual Halls
Year-End Loud Voice Contest. Kato admitted that he probably built up his loud voice
shouting at his children.
Resource, Jan/Feb 1991.
Abraham Lincoln's secretary of war, Edwin Stanton, was angered by an army officer who
accused him of favoritism. Stanton complained to Lincoln, who suggested that Stanton write
the officer a sharp letter. Stanton did, and showed the strongly worded missive to the
president. "What are you going to do with it?" Lincoln inquired. Surprised,
Stanton replied, "Send it." Lincoln shook his head. "You don't want to send
that letter," he said. "Put it in the stove. That's what I do when I have
written a letter while I am angry. It's a good letter and you had a good time writing it
and feel better. Now burn it, and write another."
Today in the Word, February, 1991,
The great Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini was legendary for his fits of rage. The
librarian of one of Toscanini's orchestras was particularly vexed by the maestro's habit
of throwing valuable musical scores at the musicians when angry. Watching closely, the
librarian observed that Toscanini's first act when enraged was to take his baton in both
hands and try to break it. If the baton snapped, Toscanini usually calmed down and
rehearsal continued. If the baton did not break, he began hurling scores. The librarian's
solution? He made sure the conductor had a generous supply of flimsy batons on hand for
Today in the Word, February, 1991, p. 22.
90% of the friction of daily life is caused by the wrong tone of voice.
Leadership, Vol. 1, Number 4, p. 23.
Angry cynical people die young. Men who score high for hostility on standard tests are
four times more likely to die prematurely than men whose scores are low.
quoted in Homemade, February 1989.
National park ranger in British Columbia who has two sets of huge antlers, as wide as
a man's reach locked together. Evidently 2 bull moose began fighting, their antlers
locked, and they could not get free. They died due to anger.
A lady once came to Billy Sunday and tried to rationalize her angry outbursts.
"There's nothing wrong with losing my temper," she said. "I blow up, and
then it's all over."
"So does a shotgun," Sunday replied, "and look at
the damage it leaves behind!"
Getting angry can sometimes be like leaping into a wonderfully responsive sports car,
gunning the motor, taking off at high speed and then discovering the brakes are out of
Maggie Scarg in New York Times Magazine.
Jim Taylor in Currents tells the following story about his friend, Ralph Milton: One
morning Ralph woke up at five o'clock to a noise that sounded like someone repairing
boilers on his roof. Still in his pajamas, he went into the back yard to investigate. He
found a woodpecker on the TV antenna, "pounding its little brains out on the metal
pole." Angry at the little creature who ruined his sleep, Ralph picked up a rock and
threw it. The rock sailed over the house, and he heard a distant crash as it hit the car.
In utter disgust, Ralph took a vicious kick at a clod of dirt, only to remember -- too
late -- that he was still in his bare feet. Uncontrolled anger, as Ralph leaned, can
sometimes be its own reward.
Jim Taylor, Currents.
When Abraham Lincoln had to write a letter to someone who had irritated him, he would
often write two letters. The first letter was deliberately insulting. Then, having gotten
those feelings out of his system, he would tear it up and write a second letter, this one
tactful and discreet.
John Luther in Bits & Pieces, October 1990.
Anger is a divinely implanted emotion. Closely allied to our instinct for right, it is
designed to be used for constructive spiritual purposes. The person who cannot feel anger
at evil is a person who lacks enthusiasm for good. If you cannot hate wrong, it's very
questionable whether you really love righteousness.
Dr. David Seamands.
ANGER OF JESUS
Jesus went into the synagogue on the Sabbath and saw a man with a crippled hand. He
knew that the Pharisees were watching to see what he would do, and he felt angry that they
were only out to put him in the wrong. They did not care a scrap for the handicapped man,
nor did they want to see the power and love of God brought to bear on him.
There were other instances where Jesus showed anger or sternness. He "sternly
charged" the leper whom he had healed not to tell anyone about it (Mark 1:43) because
he foresaw the problems of being pursued by a huge crowd of thoughtless people who were
interested only in seeing miracles and not in his teaching. But the leper disobeyed and so
made things very hard for Jesus.
Jesus showed anger again when the disciples tried to send away the mothers and their
children (Mark 10:13-16). He was indignant and distressed at the way the disciples were
thwarting his loving purposes and giving the impression that he did not have time for
He showed anger once more when he drove "out those who sold and those who bought
in the temple" (Mark 11:15-17). God's house of prayer was being made into a den of
thieves and God was not being glorified -- hence Jesus' angry words and deeds. Commenting
on this, Warfield wrote: "A man who cannot be angry, cannot be merciful." The
person who cannot be angry at things which thwart God's purposes and God's love toward
people is living too far away from his fellow men ever to feel anything positive towards
Finally, at Lazarus' grave Jesus showed not just sympathy and deep distress for the
mourners (John 11:33-35), but also a sense of angry outrage at the monstrosity of death in
God's world. This is the meaning of "deeply moved" in John 11:38.
James Packer, Your Father Loves You, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986.
Charles De Gaulle once said: "When I am right, I get angry. Churchill gets angry
when he is wrong. So we were very often angry at each other."
Charles De Gaulle.
As a passenger boarded the Los Angeles-to-New York plane, he told the flight attendant
to wake him and make sure he got off in Dallas. The passenger awoke just as the plane was
landing in New York. Furious, he called the flight attendant and demanded an explanation.
The fellow mumbled an apology and, in a rage, the passenger stomped off the plane.
"Boy, was he ever mad!" another crew member observed to her errant colleague.
"If you think he was mad," replied the flight attendant, "you should have
seen the guy I put off the plane in Dallas!"
A "Do it yourself" catalog firm received the following letter from one of its
customers: "I built a birdhouse according to your stupid plans, and not only is it
much too big, it keeps blowing out of the tree. Signed, Unhappy.
The firm replied:
"Dear Unhappy, We're sorry about the mix-up. We accidentally sent you a sailboat
blueprint. But if you think you are unhappy, you should read the letter from the guy who
came in last in the yacht club regatta."