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Animal Anger

Due to my surgery, I’m not very mobile and my son and I have been watching a lot more TV together. Recently we watched the Disney movie Zootopia, a favorite of mine. This time, though, as I was watching, I was thinking about how the animals “went savage”, attacking other creatures for no reason. I was wondering if animals ever really did just attack because they were angry.

According to some google searching, the answer is no. Even if you don’t know the reason, animals always have a reason for attacking. It could either be because you look like food or because they’re protecting something: their territory, their family, themselves, their food source, etc. The only real exception to this that I could find is if an animal was sick, specifically if it had rabies.

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Rabies is caused by a specific type of virus that is capable of infecting nerve tissue. The rabies virus is transmitted through saliva, often through a bite from the infected. The wound from the bite may be painful or numb. Rabies symptoms appear when the rabies virus reaches the brain or spinal cord, usually 30 to 50 days after a person is bitten. However, this interval can vary from 10 days to more than a year. The closer the bite to the brain (for example, on the face), the more quickly symptoms appear.

Rabies can infect a wide range of animals including humans. Rabies may begin with a fever, headache, and a general feeling of illness (malaise). Most people become restless, confused, and uncontrollably excited. Their behavior may be bizarre. They may hallucinate and have insomnia. These hallucinations and agitated behavior may cause them to lash out and attack even when there is no cause. As the disease spreads through the brain, people become more confused and agitated. Eventually, coma and death result. The cause of death can be blockage of airways, seizures, exhaustion, or widespread paralysis. Although this disease is often fatal, the animals can cause a lot of destruction before that happens.

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As I read over and over about how animals always have a reason for attacking, I could not relate. Recently with my injury I have had a lot of frustration building up, frustration at all of the things I can’t do right now. This has caused me to be very irritable and lash out at others in anger when their offenses were very minor or for no reason at all. People do this all of the time. Sometimes people are angry and hateful just because they know it will hurt the other person.

Anger seems like such a perfect evil, someone who is hurt, hurting others. How could anger ever be a good thing? Often when you ask a Christian this question, they will almost always point you to Jesus flipping tables (John 2:15-16). Jesus was upset that there were moneychangers in a holy place and with “righteous anger” he flipped over their tables.

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The truth is that VERY rarely is our anger and definitely acting on our anger justified. More likely our situations call for Jesus’ other example of “turning the other cheek”. (Matthew 5:39)

Or we could listen to his teaching from the sermon on the mount “Blessed are the peacemakers”. (Matthew 5:9)
OR there is “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)

OR “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” (Matthew 5:43-44)

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OVER AND OVER AGAIN Jesus tells us to choose love and peace. ONCE he does something out of righteous anger. Is that the ratio we have in our lives? Hundreds of times we choose love and peace to a VERY rare time choosing anger? Or do we choose anger so much more than that?

Currently a lot of the things that have happened to me were out of my control. There’s nothing I can do to change them. Getting angry about them will do nothing. Hurting others because I am upset will definitely not do any good. Even in this difficult time it is SO important to choose love, to choose peace, to choose goodness. I’ll admit, it will be difficult to choose the light when all I see is this dark cloud, but I’m going to try my best.

I don’t know what is happening in your life. I don’t know what situations or people have made you angry recently, but I truly hope that you will choose peace and love. I pray that you do not go down the path of anger. Almost certainly the situation is not the “righteous anger” you think it is. Instead choose to have the same ratio as Jesus. In prayer this week, I’d encourage you to ask God to make you more aware of when you feel angry. When you do, pay attention to how you act with that anger. Ask for God to guide you with the best response to it, which most likely won’t be flipping any tables. Animals do not attack others because they are angry and neither should we.

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