I am angry. It is anger borne out of frustration. I know the people who caused the violence in DC will not be held accountable. The people who participated in it may be. But the right-wing media outlets and the alt-right platforms will not be held accountable. One deluded person died. It was a farce because of evil beliefs. Primarily, it is the belief in one’s own righteousness. Second, it is the willingness to be manipulated. But I must deal with my anger.
Anger from Frustration
I sat with my arm around a good friend while he wept on September 11, 2001. My fellow students went to the chapel to pray. But I remained and stewed in my anger. I was as enraged at my own helplessness as I was at the murder and destruction perpetuated that day.
I also learned something about myself. A friend, an Army veteran, told me about it. I asked, “what’s wrong with me?” I didn’t go pray. There was no feeling of heartbreak for the victims. I shed no tears. I was angry. He told me, “I saw the look on your face. I know that look.” He continued, “If you could have put your body between those planes and that building you would have done it.”
Love As Action
I believe love is active. There is a portrait titled A Brand Plucked From The Burning. It depicts the fire in the Old Rectory in Epworth England where five year old John Wesley nearly died. The portrait show Samuel Wesley kneeling to pray for his son while others from the town form a human ladder to rescue John. I think of myself as being one of those townspeople. Deal with a crisis and then pray.
The only love I can think of that does not act is an inordinate love for self. Selfishness is not love. It cannot be. If anything it is the perversion of love. It makes people more concerned about how people want to see themselves.
Identity And Anger
One’s own identity is the ultimate concern of some people. These are people who want acceptance by people they think are like themselves. Such people are easily manipulated by unscrupulous individuals. Anger is the easiest way to manipulate people.
St. James said, “your anger does not produce God’s righteousness.” Anger is easily misplaced. We can be angry at the wrong things and the wrong people. Has someone committed an outrage? Are you upset by it? What should happen to that person or those people?
Identity is used to mean I am not that person or those other people. It becomes “we are not those people.” And it eventually becomes “we must do something about those people.”
Anger And The Will Of God
I could be one of those people so caught up in myself and my own anger that I get manipulated. That thought bothers me. A worse thought is, I could become a manipulator through my anger. There is a difference between expressing my anger in telling a truth and abusing my position by manipulating others. I cannot do that. When I am angry, that line gets blurry.
What should be done to clarify the situation? I think a list is appropriate here.
- Consider the situation as it is.
- Decide not to incite violence in any way.
- Ask who my allies are
- Breathe deeply
- Act in the best way possible at the time.
My anger does not work the will of God if I only consider me. If I am acting to help another, I am closer to the divine will.
My anger is borne from my frustration. But I am finding a way to relieve that frustration. Perhaps soon, I will be able to act justly without anger.