Rage Rooms? Really? October 14 2016
For a while now, I have been seeing reports of “rage rooms” or “anger rooms” popping up all over the U.S. - fifteen minutes in a room with all the things you can break with a baseball bat for $45 (prices vary from one rage room to another). One place advertises $70 for a “date night package,” all for the purpose of “venting” or supposed stress relief.
One website states: “Breaking things can be seen as therapeutic, as well as entertaining. Writing your bosses’ names, husband or wife’s name, even entire paragraphs on a plate you are about to smash can really lift some emotions and relieve some pent up anger.” Here are a few quotes from other sites.
- “… sometimes it’s better to just do what you feel and lash out when you need to! And what better place to do that without judgement, consequences or public humiliation….”
- “why not do everything you’ve dreamed of doing when you’re mad without paying the insane cost and severe consequences of your actions.”
- “Nothing you expect but everything you deserve.”
- “Good for the soul”
- “An empowering experience”
You can even get anger room gift cards! What would you think if someone gave you one of those for your next birthday?
The rationale for this approach seems to be that it’s OK to act out your anger if it is not done to the person directly. Jesus addressed the folly of this in the Sermon on the Mount where He said:
“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘you shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court, and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.” (Matthew 5:21-22)
In other words, anger is as serious as the act of murder, in God’s sight. This tells us how important it is to deal with anger. We see from Cain that anger has been a problem of mankind from the very beginning: “So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell” (Genesis 4:5), basically because he thought he was being treated unfairly. And this ultimately led to Cain murdering his brother Abel. It does not appear that a “rage room” would have been the solution to Cain’s problem.
So what is the solution? Ephesians 4:22-24 explains the basic biblical principle:
“that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
In other words, we need to put off our natural inclinations, which were characteristic of us in our former life; and having been renewed by Christ, put on the righteous practices of the new self. Then in the subsequent verses, through the end of Ephesians 4, examples are provided for how to do that in practical terms. The passage directly references anger in verse 31:
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”
These are the parts of our “former manner” that are to be put off. What we are to put on instead is in verse 32:
“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
In other words, instead of going to a rage room, demonstrate kindness and forgiveness to the very one with whom you are angry. After all, God has forgiven us far beyond what we can imagine or deserve. In light of this, how could we not forgive our brother? Forgiveness is a topic that is so important when dealing with anger, but this will need to be left to another day.
You could start, though, by reviewing Lessons 11 (covering anger and bitterness) and 12 (covering forgiveness and reconciliation) in the BCF Self-Confrontation manual and accompanying Student Workbook. You will see that we can never justifiably say that someone or some circumstance “made me angry.” And in this we can find tremendous hope from the Scriptures. We cannot change another person, but God can change us as we believe and obey His Word.
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