Do you recall that scene in the movie Rocky III, where Rocky Balboa’s deadbeat brother-in-law Paulie lashes out at him in a violent rage, upset that Rocky has had such success in life and he’s had none?
After Paulie is not able to lay a glove on the boxing champion, and after his spluttering tirade, Paulie says in exhaustion, “Can I have a job?”
Rocky then laughs and says with a smile, “All you had to do was ask.”
Often in life, we witness people lashing out at other people, and we are shocked by their anger. In the social media world, we see name-calling, mean-spirited rants, directed at people all the time. In fact, our society rewards such rage with attention and clicks.
Yet it’s good to remember the phrase “Hurt people hurt people.” This suggests that, oftentimes, there’s more going on behind someone’s rage—not always, but often.
That person who is always criticizing others may have gone through a recent major trauma or disappointment. That individual who comes at you for something seemingly insignificant may actually be upset about something completely different.
In the Bible, we see that, when we feel upset, God wants us to express our hearts in prayers. In fact, the Psalms contain prayers and verses that display that heartfelt honesty before the Lord.
Psalm 6:3—“My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long?”
Psalm 38:9-11—“All my longings lie open before you, Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes. My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds; my neighbors stay far away.”
Psalm 10:1—“Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?”
God seems to welcome us bringing our emotions, in prayer, to Him. But He doesn’t let us wallow there forever.
Recall the time when the Prophet Jonah was stomping around angry about the Lord not destroying Nineveh, God corrects him by saying, “Is it right for you to be angry?” (Jonah 4:4).
The Bible never excuses misplaced anger or certainly not the sin of mistreating others. Far from it. At the same time, when we consider that the individual who is lashing out may be going through something else, it can help us understand where he or she may be coming from and how to deal with it.
If we are honest, it is sometimes we ourselves who are stomping around with misplaced anger or emotions. It’s in those times, the Lord is there to help us. He’s eagerly there to hear us, and He wants us to ask for His help.
So the next time you find yourself in that place, remember this: All we have to do is ask Him.