February 3, 2015

Anger—One Of Man’s Greatest Enemies

Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living | If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18

If you happen to think that men are tougher than women, take a look at residents in a retirement facility. You will quickly discover that women go the distance while men often fall by the wayside. In a maternity hospital you will find 106 boy babies for every 100 girl babies, but those numbers quickly change. By age 35 you will find 100 men for every 100 women—a ratio of 1 to 1. By age 70 there are only 50 men living for every 100 women—a ratio of 1 to 2, and by age 100 you will find only 25 men living for every 100 females—a ratio of 1-4.

What destroys men and leaves women collecting insurance? Yes, we know that the bravado factor is part of it. Men are daredevils–risk-takers who jump out of airplanes, climb mountains, engage in hand-to-hand combat, and take chances most women won’t take.

There are other factors. Women handle stress and grief far better than men, recover from strokes that destroy men, and are not negatively affected by anger as are men. More men than women die from fourteen of the fifteen leading causes of death.

Findings of researchers who studied 1,769 men and 1,913 women show that hotheaded men—the tough guys who can’t control their tempers—are at risk with heart disease in ways that seemingly do not affect women. Men with fiery tempers have a 10% greater risk of heart flutter (atrial fibrillation if you prefer a more sophisticated term), which leads to strokes, which leads to the back door of the mortuary.

Furthermore, men who are hostile—the kind who seemingly walk around with a perpetual chip on their shoulder—are 30% more likely to develop heart disease, which also shortens their lives.

One thing that the study demonstrated quite conclusively is that the notion that you need to get anger out of your system by venting your emotions—blowing off steam, telling people what you think, yelling and screaming—is totally inaccurate. What people used to think about getting anger out of your system only further destroys your health to say nothing of your peace of mind. The bottom line is that living with anger shortens the lives of men.

There is a big difference between getting anger out of your system by yelling and screaming, and releasing anger in such a way that there is no steam to blow off.

It is no wonder that Paul advised, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). True, there is a disclaimer that you find in that conditional phrase, “if it is possible.” There are times when peace is not a possibility, yet you can deal with issues in such a way that your blood pressure doesn’t go up.

Long ago the wise man wrote, “When a man is trying to please God, God makes even his worst enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7, Living Bible). The bottom line is that when you live with anger, you are living with a deadly killer because anger is like a chemical poison that becomes resident in your system and gradually chokes the life out of you.

If you are an angry male who lives with hostility and anger, better suggest that your wife and kids take a lingering look at you (preferably when you are smiling) because chances are you won’t be there for graduation, or your 25th wedding anniversary. Anger is a killer, so if you enjoy life, learn to walk away from it and let God deal with the person who angers you. It’s the key to living longer and enjoying life more.

Resource reading: Proverbs 16.