I have seen some people cry — just begin to cry, and I thought they were crying because they were hurt. No, they were crying because they couldn’t get their hand [around] the throat of the individual who [wronged] them.
So, anger has been evaluated in degrees of heat. We generally say, “I’m gettin’ hot, man, I’m gettin’ hot,” (or), “No, I ain’t that hot.” We use words like “boiling mad” and “red hot” … and we call somebody [a] “hot-headed fool” and [say they] have “a flaming temper.” You see the association? It’s always explosive, always “I’m getting ready to do something hot.” …
[Have you ever been in a group of people in which] one is a hot-headed fool and you’ve got a red-hot maniac, and then you’ve got somebody stirring it up? Just always got to say something to make it worse. Oh, God, I pray you get some calm friends around you when you’re given to fits of anger. Get some people around you who like peace because if you’re a hot-headed fool, and he’s a red-blooded maniac, and you’ve got a flaming temper, then something bad is going to happen around you. And some people think it’s funny to have people acting like fools.
“Oh, you know my man’ll just act like a fool.”
And they want people to come in and be jealous and get angry … They want folk goin’ crazy. Yes, but if they keep going crazy against others, pretty soon, when there’s nobody to go crazy against, they’ll go crazy against you. Don’t be settin’ anybody up to destroy somebody else because you might just destroy you. …
Sometimes it ends in a terrible commotion and boiling agitation of feelings… It’s boiling up and down. Don’t know where to take you. Hello. What is your level of anger today? Can I approach the bench, your honor? I mean, are you taking conversation today? On what level? How long before you explode and fall off the edge? We’ve gotta carry gloves around and handle you carefully because you sit on the edge of explosion all the time. That’s why you’ve gotta get over stuff. That’s why you can’t let the sun go down on your wrath. …
Not only are you angry all the time, but you’re irritated. Your anger is carrying irritation, which means now you’re walking around just a bundle of anger …
So not only are you irritated, but there’s bitterness with it. Bitter over what somebody said 10 years ago, bitter over what happened to you 15 years ago. …. And it keeps you quivering. You can just sit down and [if] it crosses your mind or you go down a street that reminds you of something, instantly you’re transformed into the situation that is now 20 years old.
[I was sitting in a board meeting in Texas, and we were considering some issues.] And every time a brother had an idea, the other brother would strike it down. And I would say, “But the idea is sound. I think that’s something that’s workable,” and the other brother would grumble, and finally I said, “What’s going on with you two? We’re trying to have a meeting, and every time one speaks, the other cuts it down. What’s going on?”
And the brother said, “Well, 12 years ago…”
Oh my God, when does the statute of limitations run out? … When am I not the object of your pain any longer? When can you look at me and it not bring up every negative thing that has happened in our lives? When can I look at you and see you free from what I’m feeling on the inside? What God said is you shouldn’t have taken it into another day. You should have gotten rid of it before nightfall. And I’m saying to everybody married in here and everybody in relationship in here, don’t take it into tomorrow. Fix it tonight. Because what happens is it lays another layer of bitterness that soon will mount up until it’s right at the tip of your tongue so that any time anybody says anything to you, out comes the [resentment]. …
We’ve gotta get rid of it. Yes, sir, we’ve gotta get rid of it.
Some people just quiver in anger … righteous indignation.
[God’s] saying, [just] because you’re angry, it doesn’t mean you have to sin. Notice now, it’s a command. It’s an imperative. “Be angry and sin not.” [Just] because you feel it doesn’t mean you have to do it. You have to let your intellect control your passion. You have to begin to think about what you’re doing before you do it. You’ve got to back up and hold your peace before you run looking for weapons and looking for things to hurt. You’ve gotta find other solutions than the solution of revenge. …
Some people like to seem wrong so they can be angry to execute judgment. The fellas were real happy when they caught the woman in adultery. … Were they for holiness? No, they weren’t for holiness, they were for the evil that they wrought. … They weren’t for holiness or else they would have brought the man (too). Some people don’t want you to change. They want you to be the same way you are so they can invoke their evil angry spirit upon you. …
God didn’t send you to stand up and declare you were so righteous and holy that you destroy other people. … If you serve people, you’ve got to get rid of your layers and layers of bitterness.
Look at your neighbor and say, “Don’t take out on me what your wife did to you. Don’t take out on me what the bus driver did to you. Don’t take out on me what happened to you 15 years ago. Don’t bring me your old boyfriend’s attitude and your old girlfriend’s disposition. It ain’t me.”
Many times, similarly, we have what I call personal anger. When it wants to vent itself, it comes under the cloak of honesty. It goes like this: “May I be honest with you?” “Can I talk frankly, if you will?” Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm. Can honesty be an opportunity to say something kind, too? I mean, really, I have never been in a situation where someone said to me, “Can I be honest with you? You are surely a good-looking man.” “Can I be honest with you? You’re quite an intellectual.” “Can I be honest with you? You look good today.” I ain’t never heard it like that. It’s always: “Can I be honest with you? You are one uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh.” It never seems to fail that when people say, “Can I be honest with you,” I do this — I go to duckin’ because somebody’s gettin’ ready to release their wrath. And how long have you been holding this thing before you tell me? Let’s be honest — you should have dealt with it five years ago and maybe we could still be getting along.
But some people like to heap up a lot of sadness and depression and bitterness and walk around just carrying bitterness. Every time you see ’em, they’re bitter, they’re angry, funny looking, never smiling, and then they want you to know it’s directed [at] you.
“I can’t stand you. I don’t want you around.”
But the sad part about it is you ain’t hurting me, you’re hurting yourself. …
Oh, yeah, they want to tell you everything that’s in ’em.
Sarcasm and Sardonicism
One of my faults right there. I’ve gotta fast about that. … That’s the insult for the intelligent. Because if you’re not smart, you’ll never get it. Smart people get it. Just a little word that’s [sardonic], then, next thing you know, you’re walking down the street, and it goes like this: “What did he say?” But it’s just as evil. It’s just as cutting because the abuse is in the intent.
Cursing and Slander
Some of us have become quite prolific in the way that we curse. Some of us curse like it’s music, curse like it’s being orchestrated by a great conductor, and it’s abuse that is designed to hurt. …
The Bible said, “Don’t let the sun go down before you turn ugly words into kind words.”
I would still be married if I didn’t continually, day after day, live on a lot of stuff that you ought to let go. Holding onto stuff. You’ve got a closet full of it. You’ve got references and libraries and dates and got ’em all set up. “On such and such day, you did this to me. On such and such day, you did — do you remember when it was snowing what you did? And do you remember when we were in Dallas and we were in London” — you’ve got ’em all cataloged and just want to revisit so the nostrils can expand and expand and now you’re hot again and mad. Now you look at somebody who looks like somebody who did something to you, and you’re looking twice … it’s time to release it.
Say I’m lettin’ everybody go today.
Check it in and surrender it immediately.
Check it in before you get behind bars.
Check it in before tear up your marriage.
Check it in before you get fired off your job.
Check it in before you lose your business.
Check it in before God gets angry with what you did to one of his children because the last person you want against you is the god of your salvation.
You can listen to Bishop Noel Jones Monday through Friday at 8:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. EST on Radio 1000.