To Vent or Not to Vent

Yesterday I copied an article about how repressed anger affects women. The article seemed to advocate just letting it out; don’t worry about the casualties. I understand that we need to express our feelings, but there is a right and a wrong way to do that.

How many of us like to be yelled at? When someone is yelling at you, do you listen, or do you tune them out? Do you listen more to the tone of voice, or the words? We all have differences of opinions. We all have times when we get angry. But how do we express it?

I’ll be honest–when I get mad I tend to throw things. Usually I get mad at situations, or at myself. Rarely do I get mad at people. When my husband was in the Coast Guard we were in Yorktown, Virginia for several months while he went to engineman school. He was learning to be a diesel mechanic. I’d like to blame my temper on the fact that I was pregnant, but that’s really only an excuse. I was an angry young woman at the time and very immature. Anyway, I had put two pot pies in the oven for supper. My oven mit had a hole in the tip of the finger and I didn’t notice it. When I pulled them out of the oven my finger touched the bottom of the cookie sheet the pies were on and I immediately dropped the pan. They landed on the floor upside down.

We lived in an efficiency apartment in a motel so there were not a wide variety of targets at which to throw those pies. I picked them up and threw them at the sink. They landed on the wall and part of the window behind the sink, making a big mess for me to clean up. We laugh about it now, but it wasn’t funny [to me] at the time.

I used to yell a lot. When I gave my heart to Jesus and asked Him to take away my temper and replace it with His peace, I calmed down. The Bible has some things to say about anger: 1)Be angry and sin not. 2) It is better to dwell in the corner of a rooftop than in a wide house with a brawling woman. 3) A nagging wife and a dripping faucet on a very rainy day are very much alike. 4) Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. 5) Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. In other words, don’t say something just slipped out. You may not have meant to give voice to the words, but they were already in your heart, and so are at least a partially accurate representation of your true feelings. 6) A soft answer turneth away wrath.

Number six reminds me of another funny anecote. One day, again when my husband was in the Coast Guard, we were stationed in Chincoteague, Virginia. I don’t remember what all happened this one morning, but I was having quite a temper tantrum when my husband got home. I was ranting and raving and he just laid on the couch with his eyes closed and didn’t say a word.  At some point I ran out of steam and I looked at him and said, “Well, say something!” He never opened his eyes but he said in a very calm voice, “What for? You’ve already said it all.” It totally took the wind out of my sails. There was not one word I could say. My mind went completely blank.

Finally, there is a verse in Proverbs that says something like, “A wise person bridles his tongue.” It’s okay to be angry, but choose your battles carefully; think before you speak; and don’t get into a discussion about the situation until you have considered both points of view and can discuss them calmly.