Dr. Bruce Banner cringed under the onslaught of the gamma rays that bombarded him but, crawling to the machine, he managed to turn it off. Bruce slumped in a chair and examined himself -- seemingly no worse for the wear.
Later, however, Bruce is having a bad day. He spills coffee on him new white shirt at work. The waitress is surly at lunch. At home, he's trying to change the oil in his car and that gosh-darned wrench slips in his hands and slams his knuckles against the crankcase -- OUCH!!
Then, without warning, he feels a little light-headed. He feels tightness in his chest, then all of his clothes feel like they are shrinking on his skinny frame. He feels more than hears the ripping of his T-shirt as muscles begin to grow and bulge in his neck, his torso, his legs.
His complexion is taking on a decidedly green tinge. His hair looks like the "before" picture on "Extreme Makeovers."
Angry beyond all reason, Bruce grabs the fender of the offending car and tears it off, then picks up the car itself and hurls it into a nearby empty lot.
After an hour or so of rampaging, the gamma ray effects wear off. Bruce comes to himself in front of his house, next to an empty drip pan.
Naked and ashamed.
Many of you recognize this as a takeoff from "The Amazing Hulk" -- the comic book for those of you who are old enough to remember it, or the TV series, or the recent movie.
What's amazing to me is how truly this reflects the way anger works in us.
Let's look at the Bible through the lens of the Hulk:
Adam and Eve are exposed to the "gamma ray" of Satan's deceitful tongue and eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Now, instead of reacting to life with love, acceptance and thanksgiving, they react with suspicion, fear -- and anger.
Like the Hulk, they are transformed by their emotions until they no longer resemble the father in whose image they were made.
When they come to themselves, they are naked and ashamed.
Soon after, in anger, Cain kills his brother, Abel.
There are passages in the Bible that appear to condone anger, but we find most of those show God or Jesus being angry. In Dueteronomy 32:35, God seems to reserve judgment and anger to himself, saying: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay."
When we look specifically for how WE should handle anger, the Bible is pretty clear:
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. -- Ephesians 4:31
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. -- James 1:19-20
Jonah is directly admonished by God not to harbor "righteous" anger after God forgives the sinners of Ninevah.
In the parable of the Prodigal Son, the "righteous" brother is cast in a very unflattering light when he angrily questions his father's right to rejoice in the return of the Prodigal.
We are called into relationship with Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us that as the Holy Spirit works in us, we will enjoy the "fruit of the spirit."
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and selfcontrol. -- Galatians 5:22
Colossians 3:8 goes on to say, But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips."
Doing this, we can see the Amazing Hulk transformed by Amazing Grace.
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