When you want to die, you at least have a goal…you’ve got anger and fear,
but at least you’re feeling something. —Marilyn Manson
In late September of 2016, in a small, quiet Queens neighborhood, a woman stood outside her home, trying to explain life after her neighbors of twenty years were now gone.
"What happened? Why? It just doesn't make any sense to me," [she] said. "A family that you've been connected to for at least 20 years — it doesn't make any sense. The mother who you used to see going by just sitting on your front porch, the father you used to see come in [from work], the son come on to the porch to say, 'Hi, how are you?' It doesn't make any sense whatsoever." What didn’t make sense was that the police were called to the residence around 6:15 p.m. when it was reported that the couple did not show up for a meeting. During their search of the home, officers found the husband with stab sounds in a bedroom and his wife with blunt force trauma in the basement. Both were deceased. They were executed by their 30-year-old son. “C___ was like a son to me…Not in a million years did I think this would ever happen.”
The hot molten lava that explodes from a towering volcano did not just originate of its own accord. Inside the mountainous beast are turbulent churning gases, building together in a violent harmony of nature. At just the right moment, they are poised to unleash an unstoppable discharge of 1,200°C magma, desecrating anything in its path. And when the human soul erupts in a rage of anger, however large, however small, somewhere beneath lies a silent fury that has crept its way to the crater of our emotions, spewing out words and actions that more often than not come from another place and time.
You will never stop getting angry. While he is probably not the most reliable source of psycho-spiritual health, there is a certain element of truth to the words of Marilyn Manson as well. Anger is a sign of life, it tells us that something is fundamentally disturbing the intended rightness of life that is embedded in each one of us. It also, however, represents the reality that our self-esteem and personal sense of value is potentially being threatened.When we react, it is about protection, about maintenance, and many times, simply about winning. Every one of us has likely been confronted with the moment of realizing in a given situation that “failure here is going to drastically change not only the way other guys see me but how I see myself. If I make the wrong move, it could be a game changer.” Please do not underestimate the significance of this. I have seen ‘winning’, and the great wall of ‘protection’ take the most sound, most seemingly centered of men spiraling into a rage of fury, bringing shame and despair they never imagined. They are like the dominant male in a wolf pack, expecting submissive wolves to roll on their back, exposing their vulnerable throat, whimpering with paws drawn into the body. When a man is living in his own power, lacking a grounded, spiritually defined ownership of his heart, his male identity takes over as his consuming battle, and anger becomes a deadly sword at his side, ready to be wielded at his beckon call. You see, our vision, where we are looking, and more specifically, where the “eyes of our heart” are looking, will not only determine the condition of our temperament, but now defines our ability to control that temperament. Things like shame, hurt, betrayal of our past no longer act as a barometer reading the temperature of our personality, but instead turn into a thermostat, regulating our actions and responses to every invasion of our identity. They actually become the tool bag for how we solve problems, because they’re the very workshop in which we were hammered and chiseled. We readily, almost predictably, inflict the same shame that we suffered, the same lack of empathy that we knew. Without blinking an eye, we uncontrollably spew hurtful words at a spouse, or with unmeasured anger brutally chastise (maybe even more) a helpless child who doesn’t even know what they’ve done, all in the same manner in which we were. The haunting reality, my brother, is that the stimuli for these actions are often times so far hidden in the recesses of our psyche that we become totally oblivious to their presence. They are the silent owners of our heart. And we don’t voice it. We don’t say it out loud. We simply tread through life in the muddy waters and the “quiet desperation” of not only ‘This is just who I am”, but “This is all I’ll ever be.”
Here is the abiding truth. It's not all you'll ever be. it's not what you were intended to be. You were intended to be a man made in the image of God. A New Man, "being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." (Colossians 3:10). You can't do this. But God can. If you're tired of being angry because you're always so angry, then there's a journey waiting for you.