Anger is a Drug
Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under . . . Matthew 2:16
Today’s passage provides a horrifying, yet accurate example of what anger does to our brains. In the story, Herod, jealous of the infant Jesus, sent the wise men to find him under the guise of desiring to worship him. The wise men saw through Herod’s evil intentions though and slipped away. In his great wrath, Herod murdered all the infant males of Jesus’ age. In his anger, Herod became a monster.
Generally, I don’t think of myself as angry. As I was working on today’s topic though, learning about the rageaholic, I grew a little uncomfortable reading about angry behavior: criticizing, eye-rolling, cursing, interrupting, sarcasm and yelling. Sure, some people become physically violent when angry, but not all violence is physical. I can be hurtful without ever lifting a finger.
Anger is a drug that causes me to say horrible things. I may not feel the high of a pill when I get mad, but anger is an impulsive response which, when indulged in, intoxicates my mind. When I give in, I become drunk, controlled by my emotions, responding in ways I never would when sober. Unfortunately, I’m most comfortable doing this with those I love the most. I don’t blow up at strangers. I’m the most prone to imbibe in my anger at home.
Most of us can identify with this. We may not be physically violent, but we know what it’s like to raise our voice in frustration, saying hurtful things that we don’t mean and that we wish we could take back. Once we’ve lashed out at our loved ones though, it can’t be undone. Then, we feel horrible, say we’re sorry, and promise to do better next time. At the next frustration though, we relapse into our old ways.
Not all addictions involve drugs. We may not drink, but our anger causes destruction in our homes no less than alcohol. If we desire to live and love as God intends, we must realize the hurtful consequences of indulging in our anger. Daily, we must do what it takes to abandon our right to be angry, turning to God, giving it up to him.