This weekend at church, the subject of the sermon was how to stop anger, by not “stirring the pot”. Have you heard that saying before? I have, and I could just picture someone stirring up all the hurt, resentments, and arguments, and getting angrier, and also creating a lot of drama, and tension with people around them. In case you are wondering if this is scriptural, look at Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger“.
Now I don’t think I am angry that often, but there are a few things that push my anger button, like being lied to, or being cheated out of money. Now I may have some reason to be angry in those situations, but I know sometimes I have “stirred the pot” and stirred up more anger. “Stirring the pot” also makes the anger last longer.
So how do we stir up more anger? When we get mad, and we tell other people about what happened, we make the anger last longer, and we spread the anger around. I know that I like to tell someone else what made me mad, so they will be on my side. This may help me feel better, but it can also make the anger last longer. I also tend to think about what happened over and over. You can see how that would make the anger last longer. Then, I plan what I can do to prove I was wronged. Maybe I will call them back and have a plan what I will say to them. Or maybe I will write them a letter, complaining about what they did. Maybe I will think about sending that letter to their boss. All right, now all this thinking is making the anger last longer, and it is making me anxious, maybe even depressed. If I actually followed up with some of my plans, well then the situation could blow up into a real fight. I may have tried to call back and state my case rather bluntly, and sometimes I ask for a supervisor. It is surprising to me that most of the time, this does nothing to solve the problem, but does make me more upset, and makes the anger last longer.
So, one answer to this problem, is not to “stir the pot”. Just don’t give in to the temptation of getting back at them with angry words. If you share the story with one person, stop there. Don’t spread it around. Lastly, just end it. Do whatever is necessary to resolve the problem. It may not make sense to do this, but it will stop the anger. In the end, you will save yourself a lot of tension and stress.
So, in response to the sermon this weekend, I am going to stop stirring up the anger concerning a doctor’s bill. I know I do not owe the money, but the office manager insists that I do. I have already tried talking with her, and then yelling at her, and then talking with her again. She won’t budge. I have thought about all the things I could do in response, but instead, I am going to just pay the bill. I am not going to send it with a letter of complaint. I am not going to talk to her boss. I am just going to pay it. Then I will forget about it, and enjoy the peace. I have been “stirring this pot” too long already. I end it here.
Maybe there is a pot of some hot water that you keep stirring. Is there something you have been angry about for days? Can you just end it? If you can, you will feel relief. Once you end it, that pot of hot water can be poured down the drain and forgotten. Now you can do something fun to celebrate stopping the anger.