A few weeks ago my pastor’s sermon was about anger. Our anger, God’s anger, righteous anger, sinful anger. It seemed apropos based on our society today and especially our political race.
Republican or democrat — no matter the party, it feels as though politics is full of inflammatory soundbites. It certainly feels as though political strategists are banking on Americans’ rage to translate to votes. But our society’s anger isn’t limited to elections. Click on any social media sight and you see tirades left and right. Rants about businesses, rants about athletes, rants about family members, rants about everything. Even our entertainment features anger and screaming from talk shows to twitter wars.
Exposing oneself to all that anger only results in, well, anger. And anger begins to consume us without us even realizing it. Mind you, we may not physically beat our family. We may not punch holes in walls. It may not be as obvious and dramatic, but little by little we begin to believe the worst in people and situations. We begin to take things personally and have less patience with others. We find ourselves getting sucked into the binary thinking of us and them…..and if others aren’t for us, they must be against us.
And the danger is we don’t see ourselves as angry. We see ourselves as victims. As a victim, it then becomes easy to justify blasting, blaming, badmouthing, and hating others. Social media lights up with posts of all that is wrong in the world. Unfortunately, I’ve been guilty of it too.
How is this a danger? Because if we do not realize it about ourselves, we will not change. I know this because it was me. And I still have my moments from time to time. Additionally, our anger can sometimes mask other painful emotions or problems in our lives. It serves to redirect our attention to the parts of ourselves and our lives we really don’t like. Get stuck in that place with all that anger and you can’t pull yourself out of and through that situation. Again, we don’t change.
So this Lent, I encourage you to consider giving up anger.