Disappointment Leads to Anger

This past Saturday, I was extremely disappointed. I was disappointed because my favorite football team lost a close game. Tennessee lost to Florida for the 11th year in a row, 28-27. For 7 of those 11 years, I lived in Orlando, and I had Florida fans nag me about it. For two years in a row, Tennessee looked like the better team and played an overall better game, but we came up short by 1 point both years. Heart-breaking.

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I'm not proud of what happened after the game. Tennessee had a chance to win the game with a field goal, and we missed it. When we missed the field goal, I threw my phone down, yelled, and literally took a stroll around my neighborhood to cool myself down. To me, if Tennessee beat Florida and lost every other game of the season, I would be okay because I'm tired of the streak. I put so much of my heart and emotion into this game that when it didn't come out in my favor, my disappointment grew to anger. The next day, my 3 year-old daughter, Abby, said, "Daddy, you were mad at the TV." It was at the moment, where I knew that something like a football game could literally take over my emotions. Getting emotional about a football team and game is okay, but I took it to an extreme. I confessed my anger to God and hope to contain it better next year when we play the Gators. After all, it's just a game.

What happens when you get disappointed? Our disappointment leads to anger. In my situation my disappointment led to quickly criticizing the coaches for their play-calling or lack of play-calling. My disappoinment led to more anger and even jealousy at Florida as the streak continues.

Has your disappointment ever turned to anger?

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In the New Testament, there's an example of how the people of God were disappointed with Jesus, and it lead to their anger at Him.

When Jesus makes His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a donkey, the people were waving their palm branches and yelling out, "Hosanna!" The word "Hosanna" means "save now". The waving of the palm branches was a symbolism for a soldier entering the homeland after a crucial victory over an enemy. When Jesus came into Jerusalem, the Jewish people expected Him to set up His own earthly kingdom and free them from the Roman oppression they were experiencing (Matthew 21:1-11).

Within 1 week, the crowd went from cheering for Jesus to jeering at Jesus. They went from yelling, "Save us!" to "Crucify Him (Matthew 27:22-23)!" Why did they change so quickly?

Well, not only did Jesus begin to do things they didn't expect (ex. turning over the tables), but they were disappointed to realize Jesus didn't come to be their military leader. They expected Jesus to slay people, but Jesus came to save people. He didn't come to earth to bring judgment on others, He came to bear judgment for others. When they realized He wasn't Who they thought He was, their disappointment quickly turned into anger.

RC Spoul said:

“One of the strongest springs that feed the rivers of anger is the spring of disappointment. These people were bitterly disappointed because their expectations of Jesus were not fulfilled. He was supposed to deliver them from bondage, but instead He gave Himself up without a battle, putting away the swords, like a lamb led to the slaughter and gives Himself up to a handful of Roman soldiers. This is not a popular image of the Messiah. This led to their furious anger (Commentary on John).”

There are times when we get disappointed in life. At times we may be disappointed with our spouse, our kids, our jobs, our friends, our favorite sports teams. Disappointment will happen; it's inevitable. When it does happen, let's keep our hearts in check, focus on eternal things, and remember this life is only temporary. What ultimately matters is to love God and love others, even if they disappoint us. There will be times we disappoint others. It would not be fun if the person(s) we disappoint gets angry with us. So, when we're disappointed, be slow to become angry (James 1:19).

For more on this topic, listen to a sermon I gave here

 

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