Be angry but do not sin. (Ephesians 4:26 NRSV)
It is an old story, but a good one. Former baseball manager Billy Martin told it in his autobiography titled NUMBER 1. He says he and Mickey Mantle were doing a little hunting down in Texas. Mickey had a friend who would let him hunt on his ranch. When they got there, Mickey told Billy to wait in the car while he went in and cleared things with his friend. Permission was quickly granted for them to hunt, but the owner asked Mickey to do him a favor. He had a pet mule in the barn who was going blind and he didn't have the heart to put him out of his misery. He asked Mickey to shoot the mule for him. Mickey agreed. On the way back to the car a plan formed in Mantle's mind.
Reaching the car, he pretended to be angry. He scowled and slammed the car door shut. Billy wanted to know what was wrong. Mickey replied that the owner wouldn't let them hunt there after all. "I am so mad at that guy that I am going out to that barn and shoot one of his mules," said Mantle. He drove like a mad man to the barn. Martin protested and said, "We can't do that!" But Mickey was adamant, "Just watch me," he shouted. When they got to the barn, Mantle jumped out of the car with his rifle, ran to the barn and shot the mule and killed it.
When he got back to the car he saw that Martin had also taken his gun out and smoke was curling from its barrel, too. "What are you doing, Martin?" he yelled. Martin answered, "We'll show that Son-of-a-gun. I killed two of his cows."
One of the questions we all have to deal with from time to time is what to do with our anger. We are aware of the negative results of anger. People do stupid things when they are angry, pretend or not, like shooting someone's cows. What are you doing about your anger?
Lord Jesus, please take away my anger. Amen.