Back in the late 80’s God revealed to me a way to overcome my anger. Before that time, I had a rage that lashed out, not physically but verbally, not inflecting outward bruises, but inward scares that may last a lifetime. Having experienced both types of pain, physical pain at the hands of my older brother and emotional wounds by the peers at school growing up, I’d rather suffer physical pain.
My brother would hit me if I walked too slow, tagged a long with him and his friends, or said the wrong thing: wrong being whatever he didn’t want to hear at the time. When I was in 3rd grade we moved. At school I was the new guy, ridiculed for being over weight, four eyed and in my ignorance I thought I could get revenge by tattling my peers when they did wrong. Oh, was that a mistake! The teacher would condemn me and my peers would worsen the torment; I suffered more intense attacks. I learned that was not the way to stop them from harassing me.
A once very outgoing fun loving child, I became closed off to the world and an extreme introvert. By the sixth grade a rarely spoke to my peers. I had a few close friends but not many. I became an observer. I’d watch the others play or talk or do whatever. I didn’t risk reaching out. I had been condemned in grade school to live the rest of my school years an introvert, harassed by those wanting to look bigger than they really were. The wounds never healed, they had no vent, and became infected, growing worse as time went on. I became easily angered, while I learned young that I couldn’t win physically, I found I was tough to beat verbally.
As the years past, I’d lost control of my anger and it controlled me. Then in high school, I became a Christian and God convicted me of my anger, but I couldn’t seem to overcome. I knew my tempter was wrong but I didn’t know how to fix it until one day God gave me the answer. I had been crying out to Him to help me, to heal me of my anger and this is what He told me to do. I believe also that He waited until I was so sick of my sin of anger that I’d do just about anything to stop it. My heart was to a point that I wanted to stop. God told me to confess my sin each time I did it, not just to Him, but to the one I’d hurt with it. That person was usually my mother. I must have asked her forgiveness 60-80 times that first week, but I noticed something as I continued. The second week was 40-50 times, the third week about 20 and the fourth week hardly at all. I was jumping for joy, internally, as an introvert does. God was faithful and healed me of my sin of anger.
People ask me if I still get angry now. I confess there are times I do, but there’s a difference: I now have control of it and I apply the same method now as God showed me then. Before when I was angry, it just came out. Now when I’m tempted to get angry I have a conscience moment as if time stands still and I can choose to respond with anger or with tolerance and love. I praise God for that moment.