“Anger can get us in trouble.” That’s what President Gordon B. Hinckley once said. It sure can. And, oh, how many ways it might present itself…always clothed in dark feelings that cause harm. It is tied to how closely we can discipline self.  

A proverb in the Old Testament states: ‘He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city’. 

It is anger, in any of its forms or manifestations, which causes grief for many people. Here are a few examples:

1.  Road Rage as Anger

It is an interesting experience to drive (or, in my case, usually ride alongside my husband) with so many people in SUCH a hurry, or SO preoccupied, or SO intent on taking their frustration out on other drivers.  Don’t you think?  I shake my head at the people who press on their horns, offer obscene gestures, scream until they’re red faced. 

For those drivers who seem totally indifferent to the rest of the world, it may create anger for those to whom they are oblivious.  Now we see news reports of crashes – on purpose – to “get someone back”. We hear of people stepping out of their vehicles and punching it out.  Or worse.  Even some deaths! Because of a variation of road rage and inability to govern that feeling or – who knows what it is? It’s just sad.  P.S. I’m not at my best when driving. Nope, I’m not.

While we can’t control anyone in this world – certainly not other drivers- we could, if we wanted to, control our actions and reactions. On the roads, in huge heavy cars, is not the environment in which to deal with anger. Talk about trouble! 

2.  Hurt Translated to Anger

I remember one time I was very hurt and embarrassed by something an associate said about me- right in my presence. Not sure what to say or do, I certainly didn’t want to create more of a scene. But I was mad! So mad.

Actually, I was really hurt. Deep to the core kind of hurt. When I got home, I was huffing and puffing about, barking words instead of having conversations. Finally, a family member asked, “What in the world happened? Why are you so angry?” Reflecting for a few minutes, I began to weep. Big crocodile tears of hurt streamed down my face. I realized I was taking out my hurt feelings – showing in the form of anger- on my family… who hadn’t done a thing to hurt me. Silly, huh?  

This translation from hurt to anger is very common. Why do we do that? Eventually, we can pick apart this great sword the adversary uses, and become slow to anger’.  Offer a “soft word.” Think before speaking. Using that reason the Savior spoke of in order to act properly upon our emotions. Be honest enough with ourselves to back up inside instead of lashing out… or bashing ourselves inwardly.

That’s trouble and sadness we can do without. 

3.  Fear Showing Up as Anger

Fear can be our worst enemy. Why? Because it is so powerful in its ability to rain on the sunshine in our soul. Seriously. In big ways and small, fear pushes people to anger, often without their consent.

When I’ve had particularly harsh physical illness, I have been known to visit the darker, fearful side. “Will I pull through this?” “What will happen to my family if…” “How will these huge medical bills impact the budget?” etc.

There’s an ugly spiral based on absolutely nothing but fear. I find myself getting angry – If not at the circumstances, at myself for getting angry.  So weird. Unnecessary.  A trouble no one really wants.

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<hr class=’system-pagebreak’ />0001pt; line-height: 150%; background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% #fdfdfd; text-align: left;”>When we recognize, we can change. That brings greater faith. And that – my dear friends – is what douses the anger, the fear, and replenishes the sunshine. Troubles diminish enough that we may push forward again.

4.  Arguing Grows Anger

Doesn’t it?! The spirit of contention is not healthy. It benefits no one. Ever.

I remember hearing once,

Never argue with an idiot. People watching can’t tell who is the idiot”.

I won’t elaborate on that one, but it makes me laugh. And it’s so true! The winner? Anger. And anyone within ear short may size us up as we’d rather not be sized up!

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a heated argument, only to realize you don’t remember what originally began the fuss? I have. Yeah… that’s pretty idiotic. And can lead to more unhealthy anger to take away our joy or steal our peace.

Another quote I’ve heard, which I can attribute only to “Unknown” goes like this:

For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness.

I’m pretty sure we each want happiness.  “Men are that they might have joy.” (2Ne 2:27)  There is more of it to have – and much less trouble in our lives- when we let go of the stuff of which anger is made. Mortality is full of challenges and dark times. No need to add to it, right? God bless us to get off the anger train, and find more joy and peace.

Vickey Pahnke Taylor is a wife, mom, and grandmother who joined the LDS Church as a teenager.  She is a songwriter, author, and public speaker. Her website is  www.goodnessmatters.com, where she offers an online spot to share goodness, faith, and hope in simple ways. Her undergraduate study was in Musical Theater, and has a Master’s degree in communications.

She has taught for the Church’s youth & family programs for more than 25 years, has written books, hundreds of columns, & created hundreds of songs all with the intent of growing goodness and pointing people to Christ.  She also writes for the website  www.nauvootimes.com .

Vickey loves her expanding family, going on drives with her hubby, laughter, growing herbs & veggies, and tootsie rolls. She teaches Gospel Doctrine in her ward. Her husband, Dean, serves in the bishopric. They are the parents of eight children and have seven grandchildren.