(Here’s my sermon that I preached yesterday. You can find the full service on our church website — www.ststephenlc.org).
A 2015 Psychology Today article titled: “Anger’s Allure: Are you Addicted to Anger?” offers a fascinating look at anger. The very first sentence caught my attention — remember, this was written in 2015. Here’s the first line of the article — “Anger is a public epidemic in America.” That was in 2015!
The article stated four things — 1. In the moment, anger feels good. The body rewards it. You know this — anger offers a warm feeling and gives an adrenaline rush. 2. Anger is similar to other addictions. In anger you get a hit of dopamine, which is like a reward for the brain and can make us want more of it. 3. Anger can make people temporarily feel like they are in control. And 4. Anger can actually offer something to help some people avoid unresolved emotional and psychological feelings and issues like fear and emptiness.
Do you ever get angry? I do. There are certain things that will trigger me. Now, I will say that it takes an awful lot to get me to the point of anger though. It’s usually something around abuse or exploitation of someone — maybe that comes out like when I see purposeful hypocrisy designed to mislead for personal gain, or narcissistic behaviors and attitudes. I can get pretty angry over these type of things and I don’t have much patience for these kind of behaviors.
That first line of the article though. “Anger is a public epidemic in America.” Would it be fair to say that this has gotten worse since 2015?
I mean, just think of the list of things that people get angry over. Some of these might apply to you. There are things that directly relate to us — People get angry if they have to wait too long. People get angry driving. People get angry over bills they have to pay — especially if the amount is wrong. People get angry over relationships, work, medical procedures and test result. People get angry at family gatherings. People get angry at sporting events. People get angry over poor service.
Other things that cause anger speak to larger issues and touch our very identities and beliefs. People get angry when their identity and beliefs are touched. People get angry if what they define as politics is talked about in church, while others get angry because difficult topics too often are avoided all together.