Anger. Why are so many of us angry? Do we realize that we are angry? Does it bother us? I was just observing a Twitter exchange, I can’t really call it a debate. There was too much profanity and no intellectual exchange for it to be considered a debate. What struck me though, as has happened before, was the level of anger this person lobbed at a friend of mine.
At first I was incensed that someone would talk to a friend of mine like that, knowing full well that it is all too common on social media. I myself have been on the receiving end of it. I have been called: a bigot, racist, Pharisee, hater, homophobe, and the list goes on. When I watched this exchange, I began to think about the person’s anger, it really seemed to be rage. I began to see myself. You see, I struggle with anger. I have a fearsome temper. It only comes out in all of its horrific glory a couple times a year. Thank God for that! But it is awful, and it shows me the depths of depravity within me. It also reveals unresolved pain and a fear that I am not loved either by my family or by God.
I know anger. So when I see it in others, I know that there is some kind of pain that needs to be healed. A hatred that is pointed inward, but lashes out at others. It comes from a deep fear of not being loved and it is always driven by pride and power. Rather than choose to accept Christ’s sacrifice for them, angry people fight between a belief that they don’t need a Savior and a deep rooted knowledge that they do. It is a war that is in the hearts of us all. We want to be God, but we aren’t, and so our sinful nature drives us into anger. Or we have been hurt by others and that fear of being unloved drives our rage. How could God love me?
The other issue with anger stems from pride. We don’t want to be told what to do, or hear that our lifestyle is wrong and immoral. This is a big one in the “gay marriage” debate. No one, and I mean no one, likes to hear from someone else that they commit grave evil. For those who do not know Jesus Christ, this is even more difficult. What they cannot see is that all of us either have, or are capable, of grave evil. All they see is someone saying “no” to their choices. Christianity is not about accusing others and relishing in their fall. No, Christianity, is about saying that we are a band of sinners, hopelessly lost without Our Lord who loves everyone. Only He can show us the true way, and yes that means abandoning sin. But true freedom lies in that abandonment and falling into Love.
It is hard for every single one of us to abandon sin. I sin daily. The more I go to Confession, the more I see how deeply rooted my sins are and how much I need His grace to overcome them. Saying that a behavior is sinful is the beginning of understanding our own inner pain and hatred. Unhappiness stems from sin. Anger stems from sin. It is hard to take a look in the mirror and say, God I need you to do it, I can’t. This is especially difficult in a culture that is as fiercely independent as ours.
So, why are we so angry? I suspect it is because in those moments, or perhaps always, we are afraid we are not loved, we hurt, and we think we can do it ourselves. Anger resolves nothing. It hurts the people around us. It destroys dialogue and quite frankly, it leads to violence. I pray for healing for all of those who like me struggle with this deadly sin. Advent blessings!