Have you ever been so angry you threw something against a wall or smashed it on the floor?
Sadly, I have and most of you probably have as well.
It’s a human problem that dates back to the days of Cain and Abel. Cain was so jealous and angry with Abel that he killed him, probably with a rock or club to the head.
Some of you may be saying there is a big difference between smashing something against a wall and killing someone.
You would be right; there is a big difference…in consequence.
Both outbursts are types of violence. In the first case, the violence is acted out on an inanimate object and in the second case, violence is acted out on a human being.
What the two types of violence have in common is that the same emotion drives both actions. The emotion is anger or wrath.
Anger is also energy. The anger takes hold; sometimes suddenly and the energy explodes in an unthinking way. The emotion and energy attached to it serves to tear something or someone up.
The process was called venting and still is.
Back in 1941 psychologists recognized what anger was and rationalized that is was better to release the energy of anger by tearing up an object rather than a person.
Some clever marketer back in 1941 recognized there probably was money to be made off of anger and, so, invented the Wackaroo (pictured below from Life Magazine, 1941).
The Wackaroo was a plaster cast in the shape of a human head with two little hands where the ears would be. The idea was to grab the Wackaroo when angry and smash it against something. In this way the energy of anger is released or vented and the person calms down. It was far better to smash the Wackaroo than a piece of fine China. It sold for 50 cents. For someone with an anger problem it could probably get expensive!
Ponder this for a moment. The Wackaroo is shaped like a human head. Perhaps if Cain had a Wackaroo he would not have smashed Abel’s head in with a rock or club.
Venting anger is the best the world has to offer. There is a certain pragmatic logic to smashing a plaster cast rather than a piece of fine China or, worse yet, a human being.
Psychology usually omits God and ignores the human heart condition that leads to sin. There are desires within the human heart that trigger violence. They usually revolve around not getting what we want or getting something we don’t want.
The last time I remember smashing something in anger I threw a clipboard that in turn smashed a coffee pot that belonged to my first shift co-worker. My outburst was tied to the fact I resented that I had to do some work the first shift didn’t get to.
I didn’t want to do the work and wanted to sit on my butt instead. What controlled the outburst was what I’ll call the idol of laziness.
Here’s what the episode looked like in detail.
- My desire was to sit on my butt rather than work. (This is what I wanted.)
- I resented the fact I had to do something left over from the first shift. (This is what I didn’t want.)
- The combination of not getting what I wanted (sit on my butt) and getting something I didn’t want (a little extra work) resulted in an explosion of anger-an action of violence taken out on a coffee pot.
The Bible never tells us to vent our anger. It tells us to put off our anger, and you don’t put anger off by venting or smashing a Wackaroo or coffee pot.
For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. (Col. 3:6-8, NASB)
“These things” refers to the preceding verses.
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. (Col. 3:1-5, NASB)
The apostle Paul was aware of our human condition; even the human condition that has been changed by being in Christ.
Paul is saying you now belong to Christ so set your mind on heavenly things (renewed thinking) because Christ is supposed to be our life. The old selfish self has died so we need to consider (reckon) all the things that amount to idolatry dead as well.
After identifying “these things,” he reminds us that the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience (those not in Christ) and that we, too, were just like them. Then Paul says to put aside those things that belong to the old nature.
When I smashed that coffee pot I renewed my mind by confessing my anger to God. Second, I confessed to the gentleman who owned the coffee pot and purchased a new one for him.
Then I had to deal with the heart issue of idolatry. I named it laziness and committed myself to avoid such outbursts in the future by repenting of the idolatry, recognizing that laziness was in competition to Jesus as to whom or what would rule my life.
Friends, the Scriptures never tell us to vent our anger by smashing a Wackaroo of any type. The Scriptures encourage us to put aside the old nature and service to idols and put on the mind of Christ instead.
It’s not only a better way; it’s the best way to honor our Lord and Savior.