An angry society
Whether it’s labeled democracy or anarchy, we are experiencing much anger in our American culture today. We see it in political polarization, in-your-face protests, character assassinations, conflicts in social media, rebellion against authority, road rage, daily shootings and in so many other areas of life.
To be clear, the Christian religion does not expect that we will never get angry. Of course, we will. Indeed, if we have a distorted concept of Christianity that forbids anger, we are in for trouble.
A healthy acknowledgment that there are some things that annoy us can be very constructive. It can help us with our mental health within, and it can also help us with noble causes without.
Second, anger is constructive when it is controlled. Most of us have come to understand that anger in a child or baby is normal, however, anger in an adult can be quite different. The terrible tempered, immature adult is just not a very impressive figure.
I read about a man who’s car was repossessed. In his uncontrollable anger, he walked into a company office and unloaded an automatic weapon on company employees. A number of those employees were killed before the angry man finally took his own life. And that is certainly not an isolated case in today’s society.
It has been reported that nearly two million crimes are committed in the United States each year because of anger.
Third, anger is constructive when its motivation is unselfish. Jesus never became angry over wrong done to him. His anger was always over wrong done to others. He did react angrily when he perceived others were at a disadvantage. He healed the man with the withered hand, ran the money changers out of the temple and brought the children close. In each incident, they were being wronged.
Upon seeing the slave market for the first time, Abraham Lincoln is said to have vowed to hit that problem someday-and hit it hard. Years later, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
When we get angry, we need to ask ourselves whether it’s because we feel we’ve been wronged or because we are looking out for someone else.
Fourth, anger is constructive when it ignites the conscience for good. Anger is not always the opposite of love — sometimes it is love’s clearest and most appropriate expression. There are simply some things that will never be changed for the good until somebody gets angry enough.
Candy Lightner is a good example. She suffered devastating grief at the loss of her 13 year old daughter who was killed by a drunk driver. Her grief soon turned to anger, and she organized Mothers Against Drunk Driving.