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Anger Management

March 7, 2018

 

Anger, it seems, has spread like a virus. Its effects can be heard from the bombed out buildings in Syria, to the classrooms in Florida, and even on Main Street here in Indiana. Angry words are spit out at adversaries, only to be hurled back upon the sender. What follows is often angry actions, violent actions, even death. The newspapers and nightly news are filled with reports of anger and hostilities.

 

It is much easier to give in to anger, and angry words, and angry actions, rather than struggle through the often-messy process of finding middle ground, finding a way through, searching for another way toward peace. Many times, as when anger results in the taking of another's life, no amount of justification will do. There is no justification for taking another human being's life, especially when we are driven by anger and resentment, when our selfish motivations and desires are more important than anything else.

 

Frederick Buechner has written, "Of the 7 deadly sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back--in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you." (Wishful Thinking: A Seeker's ABC. Harper: San Francisco. 1993. p. 2)

 

The results of anger, the kind that picks up a gun rather than say "I'm sorry", are terrible, evil actions. But I'm not saying that anger in and of itself is bad. It is not. It is an emotion. It is neither good, nor bad. But what we do with that anger may well be good, or bad, as Buechner indicates. In the case of high school students questioning their legislators, it is good anger. It is justified anger. It is anger born out of a desire to see true justice accomplished. There are those in this world who know that righteous anger is good, and that the battle must be against the status quo, of keeping things the same, if there is to be change for the good.

 

So the next time you or I get upset at someone or something, we really ought to ask ourselves: Is this selfish anger, or is God upset at this, too? And if God is angry, what should I be doing to change the status quo? There is too much pain and suffering and injustice for us to sit on our hands and allow it to continue. So let us pray that God will lead us into and not away from places of injustice and pain, so that God's justice and mercy may be shown, so that the Kingdom of God will come near. 

 

I continue serving in Christ,

 

Pastor Toby

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