Intoxicated by Anger
James 1:19 Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Under the influence of chemicals, my thinking became warped. Not only did I justify my toxic behavior, but my interpersonal relationships were poisoned as well. I was not the one with the problem. Everyone else was wrong. I was not irritable. Others were irritating me. Only later, in recovery, could I see how my thoughts were twisted by my intoxication.
Anger is not that dissimilar in this regard. When I indulge in my anger, my thinking becomes delusional, under the influence of that anger. I imagine myself to be always right and everyone else to be always wrong. In our house, we have a running joke in saying, I always . . . You never . . . In my anger though, it is no joke. I indulge the fantasy that I am the victim. I always do all the work. I always act appropriately. You never carry your weight. You never . . .
This kind of thinking is never constructive as it is always perverted by the delusional influence of my anger. In my anger, it is simply impossible to see or think clearly. I can only see how my will is frustrated and how nothing is my fault. Then, I lash out and say horrible things that I later regret. Later is too late though, as the damage cannot be taken back.
In today’s passage, James said that I must choose to keep my anger in check as it leads, not to righteousness, but to destruction. My first impulse is wrong often enough that I must learn to control it.
It is tempting to claim that my anger is righteous, coming from God. I am sure it is possible to be angry for God, but usually, this is very much like suggesting that God wanted me to use drugs. It is just another intoxicated lie I tell myself to justify my behavior.