Wednesday, March 30, 2016

After the Anger is Done

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry,  

Ephesians 4:26(NLT)

It’s hard….really hard to make sense of the immensity of anger we have seen played out on the world stage in recent years.  There seems to be no end in sight to the news cycles of suicide bombings, terrorist outbursts and hostage situations.  Of late, I pause before turning on the TV to catch the morning news, wondering if I really want to know.  And I turn it on anyway – anxiously wanting to know if another poor deluded soul has pulled the trigger on his detonator.

Growing up in the 1950’s the tempest of World War II and Korea were fading, but the practice drills of hiding under your school desk in the event of a Communist nuclear attack, and the looming specter of Vietnam, ensured you could never quite feel safe.

In the last three decades anger, and its accompanying violence, has moved into schoolyards, market places and seemingly never-ending rounds of blood-splatter on the nightly news.  And, as if watching the results of anger isn’t bad enough when displayed on our 60” TV screens, the current political debate features mirror images of anger and hatred with a kind of “civil terrorism” as Republicans and Democrats pick each other apart.

It’s Cain and Abel without end.

And this leaves me wondering – what happens after the anger?  Really – what happens after the anger is completely spent, and the violence has wreaked its vengeance, and jihad has toppled the Great Satan? 

What then?  To what end will we have come?  And is it really an end?

The theological answer of course, is “no” – it’s not an end, because every act of violence must have its accounting before God.  Nothing is really over until God has spoken.

No amount of killing one another is ever enough to completely satisfy human anger, lust, or greed, whether it is done on the battlefield, or in the board room.  And anger’s backwash of Occupy Wall Street, or Main Street, or blowing-up the train station is just anger on a higher scale of madness.  We are simply playing-out once again the days of Noah, where every person does what he or she wants.

Humankind has not learned much since the fiasco in the Garden of Eden; despite our Smartphones and space exploration, we are still rather inept at getting it, that God isn’t pleased with our anger and selfish ways.  To put it in the words of those highly-revered social commentators of the 1960’s, Sonny and Cher Bono, the beat goes on. 

And the person who has not learned to control his own anger runs the risk of adding to the beat never stopping:

Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool.  Ecclesiastes 7:9(NLT)

The fact is we cannot do anything about other people’s anger, or their actions.  We can, however, trust in God and not be demoralized by what we see in a culture that is headed for destruction.

And we can love. 

Jesus said it in so many ways, but the one that speaks strongest to me this morning is this:

But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  1 John 4:8(NLT)

And this:

“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul.                 Matthew 10:28a(NLT)

For You Today

Does the crisis news of the day make you angry?  Don’t let the sun go down on it; confront that anger – let God make your heart glad and peaceful.

You chew on that as you hit the Rocky Road today…and have a blessed day!

[1] Title Image:  By Andrew A. Shenouda from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (It's the Holy Week!), via Wikimedia Commons

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