This morning, I had a strange dream. There was a vampire in my dream. I never liked vampire movies, and no, I didn’t watch one last night. Vampire-centered movies to me are boring, (no, not scary), and they were far from my mind last night. So having a vampire in my dream, was weird. And even more weird was that in my dream, the she-vampire mingled with people in the church, during a conference.
In my dream, the vampire felt familiar, but I couldn’t peg who she looked like. She went near me and a young friend. While the three of us were looking at mirrors, the vampire didn’t have a reflection, which is how we discovered her to be a vampire. When we confronted her about it, she only said that she was a “good” vampire, and she promised not to hurt anyone. I still didn’t like her being around, especially with the kids nearby so I made sure she did not go near the babies and kids.
So she went to the men. I wanted to go and warn the men, but she was all over them, talking with them, and laughing (or flirting?) with them. My husband arrived with Jude, and allowed our son to go near her, which I didn’t like, so I rushed over to get the boy far away from her. This irritated my husband, who at that time didn’t know why I was contradicting him. I wanted to tell him, but the vampire quickly went beside him and talked to him. This gave me a chance to secure our boy first, and gave him instructions to pray with me, and not to go near the vampire. From the other end of the hall I could see my husband was finally able to discern that there was something weird about the lady, and went away from her too. As my son and I were praying, I asked God to help us make the vampire lady go away. A Voice answered my thoughts: “Get rid of Anger. Do not let Anger gain a foothold, and do not let it take root.” Then a rooster’s crow jolted me awake.
I could not sleep again after that, so I got to thinking: the Voice talked about Anger as if it were a person. Perhaps, Anger was the vampire?
I remembered Genesis 4:5, when Anger was first recorded in the Bible:
…but with Cain and his offering he was not pleased. So Cain became very angry, and his expression was downcast. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why is your expression downcast? Is it not true that if you do what is right, you will be fine? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. It desires to dominate you, but you must subdue it” (Gen. 4:5-6).
There are many other verses that talk about anger, but my mind fixated on this first instance. Here we can see that anger is a door to sin, which desires to dominate our soul. In Cain’s case, it led to the first murder.
Looking closely at these verses, we can see that God did not abandon Cain when he got angry. God saw Cain’s expression, and He was right there when Cain’s mood was at an all-time low. God also reasoned with him, tried to show him a way out, and told Cain not to give in to his anger.
We may think of anger as an “instinctive” response to aggressive stimuli, that it is a “natural” reaction. Anger, rage, frustration — these are emotions that are often glorified by the media, and they have succeeded in making it look “cool” to have an angry lifestyle by labelling acts of anger as “crimes of passion” or “freedom of expression.”
Now, as a teenager I was quick to get angry over even the smallest things. My mom, bless her heart, helped me begin to overcome anger by admonishing me daily to “BREATHE and count to 10” whenever my brothers broke our computer (which most of the time only I knew how to fix), or did something to really, really irritate me.
This pause before reacting helped me a lot. Slowly I learned to resist anger, and handle my tongue a lot better. The pause also helped me to see the would-be object of my wrath as a person like me, with feelings that can get hurt or dreams that might be dashed because of what anger might unleash.
It helped, too, that I seldom saw my parents get angry. And I cannot recall ever seeing them angry with each other. Their example motivates me to this day: to choose wisdom instead of anger, and trusting in God instead of taking matters in my own hands.