Some years ago as I was studying about anger, God gave me a little story to communicate some counseling principles about it. There was this little old lady that had two dogs. One was a great big ugly furiosus, Pitbull dog that she named Anger. She kept Anger penned up in her back yard. Actually, she was afraid to let him out of the yard. People would be afraid of him, and someone just might get bit by him. The second dog was a small, friendly sheep dog which she had named Peace. She allowed Peace to come into her house and even took Peace with her when she walked to a nearby market. She had a small cart and a harness made for Peace so that he could pull the cart to and from market. There was just one problem. Since Peace was such a small dog, he was not able to pull the cart fully loaded. Usually when this little old lady did her shopping, she would only partially load the cart and end up carrying a couple of bags of groceries in her arms.
One day she got the harness, put it on Peace, hooked him up to the cart, and started off to market. On the way there some teenage bullies stopped her and begin to make fun of her and her little dog pulling the little cart. The more they teased her, the more she got upset. Finally, one of boys pulled a switchblade knife out of his pants' pocket and cut the harness attached that attached Peace to the cart. Another boy grabbed Peace and ran off with him with the other boys following. The little old lady just helplessly stood there in shock.
Not knowing what to do, the little old lady picked up the tongue of the cart and dragged it back home. She was hurt. She was devastated. She wondered out into her back yard. She was so upset that Anger, her big Pitbull dog, sensed her emotional hurts. Then Anger began to pace back and forth in the yard. He began to snarl and show his teeth. The lady became almost terrified. What if Anger jumped the fence and went and bit someone? What if Anger turned and even bit her? In desperation, she dropped to her knees and began to pray. "Lord, some bullies have stolen my Peace and Anger is almost out of control! Help me!" In a few moments, God spoke to her and she got up from off her knees and went back into her house. She went into a storage room and dug through the closet. She found it! It was a larger harness that she had made to fit Anger. She also found a leash. However, she had always been afraid to put harness and leash on him. Again, Anger was so big, ugly, and furiosus that she knew that people would be afraid of him.
She returned to her back yard and called Anger. He seemed to know what was about to happen and didn't resist as when she put the harness on him. She attached the leash to the harness and wrapped the leash tightly about her right hand. She opened the gate and said, "Anger, let's go and find Peace." With Anger being the dog that he was, he quickly picked up the scent of Peace and led the little old lady to the home of the bullies. She found a nearby phone booth and called the police. The police came, found Peace, and returned him to the lady. She returned home with her two dogs.
When she got home and finished repairing Peace's harness, she suddenly realized that she still had not been to market. Then she got an idea. She attached Anger directly in front of the cart. Then she attached Peace out in front of Anger. Since Anger was such big, strong dog, he could help carry the heavy load of the cart. Also, with Anger being such a ferocious dog, he would keep the bullies away. With Peace leading the way, other people would not be so afraid. The end.
We can see several truths in this story. First, everyone has the capacity of having the emotions of both anger and peace. In fact, anger is a God-given emotional capacity. God, Himself, gets angry. Yes, even Christians get angry (Ephesians 4:26). Second, rather than opening the gate and saying, "Sic-em, Anger", we are to be slow to anger. "A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife" (Proverbs 15:18). God is slow to anger (Psalm 108:3). Third, a sense of loss often stirs up anger. Fourth, anger is a strong, energy charged, emotion. Fifth, the energy of the emotions of anger can be re-channeled to help resolve difficult situations.
This brings us to see specifically, one of the ways to deal with anger. On one occasion, Jesus went to Jerusalem to the temple and found the merchandising of animals for sacrifice (John 2:13-17, Mark 11:15-18). When people came to the temple, they brought with them animals to be sacrificed as a part of Hebraic worship. However, the priests examined the animals to see if they were fit for sacrifice. Of course, they would usually find something wrong with the animals, especially if Gentiles had brought them. However, they just happened to have animals inside that they had already approved. Of course, the prices for the approved animals were exorbitant.
Jesus surveyed the situation, became extremely angry, but took the time to pick up some cords off the temple floor and braided a whip. He drove the money changers out of the temple, let out the animals from their cages, poured out their money, and overturned their tables. Then Jesus declared the Word, "Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves" (Mark 11:17). When the disciples observed the assertive actions of Jesus, they remembered the scripture, "The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up" (John 2:17). Yes, Jesus got very angry! On another occasion when the Pharisees watched to see if Jesus would heal a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath, he also became very angry. "And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch fourth thine hand" (Mark 3:5).
However, Jesus was slow to anger. He took the time to pick up the cords from off the temple floor in our original passage. The he converted the energy of anger into a zeal to resolve the problem. He picked up the cords, braided them into a whip, drove out the money changers, overturned the tables, poured out the money, opened the cages letting out the animals, and assertively declared the truth. He changed the emotionally charged energy of anger into energy to resolve the situation, at least on a temporal basis.