Rehearsing My Anger….Still

Way back in September of 2020 I wrote a message about rehearsing our anger, and stated that it is something I continually do, but am working at stopping it (click here if you want to read that message).

Guess who hasn’t made one inch of progress?

If you prefer to watch a video, click on this link: Watch the video.

When I talk about rehearsing our anger, I am referring to those times when we have an argument with someone, who isn’t there, and may not have even ever said anything to make us mad. It is one of those things we do when we review what has happened or know we will be talking with someone, and we want to prepare ourselves.

The problem is not rehearsing what we want to say, it is when we start to fill-in their side of the discussion, and in order to do that, we have to make-up what we think they might say, which is unfair to them because they may say something totally different than what we think.

When I do this, it is almost always the most negative thing they can say, and this is really wrong of me, because (believe it or not) I am actually a pretty positive person, although I do have that New Yorker cynical viewpoint.

I have discussions with my wife when she is still asleep and I have just woken up; I have discussions with people who tick me off while I am driving, even though I passed their car a mile ago; I have arguments with people who have said nasty and judgmental things to me through this ministry, even after I have blocked them.

This is all stupid! Really- there is no other word that describes wasting the emotional energy it takes to argue with yourself, pretending to be someone else. And you know what is worse? When we do this, our blood pressure reacts just the same as if we were actually doing it for real!

When we rehearse our anger we will have the same physical reaction to the anger stimulus as if it was a real argument, in person, and that is why I say doing this is so stupid, because even though it is all make-believe, the mental images (that may become memory) and physiological responses are real, even though the event is manufactured and pure fiction.

Now here is the sin of it all- when we argue with someone who isn’t there, we have to put words in their mouths to make the argument two-sided, which is the same as bearing false witness. Because when we make up what the other person says, we are saying something that isn’t true, which is, essentially, bearing false witness.

So, I am still trying to stop this, and have begun to incorporate it in my daily prayers, asking God to excise this part of my brain. I know he is willing to help me, but I heard from him, long ago, when I asked him to just take something I hated about my thoughts away, he said it doesn’t work that way- I have to work at it, and he will help me to do that, but he won’t just do it for me. The reason he won’t just take it away is that it won’t teach me about self-discipline, and that is what the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) wants to see when it works within me to make me better than I was.

God has made covenants with us, and a covenant is a “you-and-me” relationship, not a “I’ll do it all for you” type of thing. The Christian world has concentrated on telling people all the things God will do for them, but it rarely teaches that they must FIRST do what God requires.

I will continue to work on this, and I know that when I have conquered it (there’s that positive attitude) my life will be happier, my sleep will be more satisfying, and my relationships will be more loving. The sad truth is that when I argue all the time, I am like Dr. Bruce Banner in the Marvel movie “The Avengers”: in that movie, when they need Dr. Banner to turn into the Hulk, Captain America says it would be a good time to get really mad, Dr. Banner, who says:

“That’s my secret, Cap- I’m always mad.”

I don’t want to be that guy.

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That’s it for this week, so l’hitraot and (an early) Shabbat Shalom!