‘Slow Anger’

Terry Walton


I Was Thinking…

Did you hear about the ‘crab leg fight’?  A dispute over crab legs at a Huntsville, Alabama, dinner buffet ended in a brawl that left two people facing misdemeanor charges.  A man and woman were using service tongs like fencing swords.  The pair had been waiting in line for crab legs for more than 10 minutes, and they lost their tempers once the food came out.  The man is charged with assaulting the woman.  The woman is charged with disorderly conduct. (Atlanta Journal Constitution March 1, 2019)

A crab leg fight?  Seriously?  Yes…seriously.  There is a lot of ‘pent-up’ anger in folks these days.  It seems while we may be a generation of great knowledge, when it comes to knowing how to control ourselves, we are flunking out in record numbers.  The least little thing can send a person in to a fit of rage…whether it be ‘road rage’, ‘crab leg rage’, ‘domestic rage’, or ‘work rage’.  Way too many people seem to be boiling on the inside with unresolved anger and frustration.  The least little thing is not the least little thing any more.  Everything is a big deal, and everyone knows that any big deal deserves a big fight.  Just ask those charged in the ‘crab legs’ case.

This is not a new problem.  The author of the New Testament book of James records for an earlier people “You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness.” (1:19-20, NRSV) This indicates that this has been a ‘human condition’ for quite some time.  I’ve known tendencies in myself when under the guise to be righteous I’ve been mean spirited and judging.   Perhaps I’m not the only one.

The formula of James is an important one…quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.  Someone once said to me “We have two ears and one mouth.  Therefore, we should listen twice as much as we speak”.  I’ve never forgotten this simple but helpful advice. 

It is helpful to look upon each other as desperately loved by God.  Each person I see today is loved by God just as much as I like to think God loves me.  This tone of living might help us to tune down the volume of anger and increase the volume of understanding and love.  God help us to love each other as you love each of us.

Fighting over crab legs?  There must be more to the story…certainly there is more to this story.  Maybe two people crossed paths both having had a ‘bad day’.  Maybe one of them used a ‘trigger’ word that set the other off into a fit of rage.   We don’t know the ‘rest of that story’What we DO know is how ridiculous this looks and sounds.  And that is the case with most ‘anger fits’ whether they be about ‘crab legs’ or ‘Church stuff’. 

“Quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness.”

Always Thinking,


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