Whatever fills you controls you

Have you ever seen anybody who was filled with rage? The anger that fills them also controls them. I remember as a teenager going on a double date with my cousin. Halfway through the date, I found out the girl I was with had an insanely jealous boyfriend. He was also big, she said. “And,” she added, “he has a nasty temper.” I figured that to be a deadly combination, so I filed that information away, reminding myself to avoid this boyfriend of hers at all costs. We were driving home later that night when all of a sudden my cousin said, “Uh-oh.”

“What’s the problem?” I asked, thinking maybe we were running out of gas. “Don’t look now,” he said, “but Marty is right on our tail.” I looked anyway and saw a car about two inches from our bumper, and we were doing 60 on the interstate.

“Who’s Marty?” I asked. “Uh…that’s my boyfriend,” my date answered.

Now, up until this point I had only done one thing I regretted, and that was to go out with this girl in the first place. But now I became a willing participant in a series of stupid mistakes. May I say to any teens who happen to be reading this: “Don’t try this at home…or on the interstate.” My cousin floored the car, a 1972 Camaro Z28, and we took off like a rocket. We were going over 90 mph with Marty right on our tail, and it is only by the grace of God, gentle readers, that I am here to tell the story. We finally reached our exit, careened onto the ramp, and headed for my cousin’s house. Marty was only seconds behind us. My cousin realized we weren’t going to outrun him, so he said something like, “Good luck, Mark!” I was shaking with adrenaline and fear, and could hear the words “big…nasty temper…insanely jealous” reverberating in my skull. My legs felt like Jello and my mouth was dry as dust.

About that time my cousin slammed on the brakes in his carport, and I managed to fall out of the car to face my attacker, who was jumping out of his car as it slid to a stop in the driveway.

Now you have to realize that at this time in my life, I had not yet had my growth spurt. In fact, I still haven’t had it, but I was a skinny 16-year-old then, only about 5’ 8” and maybe 110 pounds soaking wet. As I recall it, Marty seemed to tower over me by at least a foot. But what I remember most of all was the purple rage that consumed him. He was so filled with wrath that he had no control of his body. He couldn’t swing his fists because the anger controlled them. He couldn’t speak, but sputtered and fumed, because anger had his tongue. As he stumbled toward me I bent over, and he pounded me on my back. The blows were nothing, dissipated by the rage that controlled him.

I saw something that day I will never forget. Whatever fills you controls you, whether it is wine, anger, lust or greed. That’s why the Bible says, “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man. Lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.” Or, I might add, lest he rearrange your face.

I am so thankful the Lord spared my life that day, and gave me a picture of what anger can do to a man’s soul.