Kevins’ Conversations: Addicted To Rage…
The media gets wind of it and brings all kinds of attention to the action. And the nation rages. How can this guy do something so wrong and stupid and ignorant and arrogant? How dare does he do something so terrible like this. He should get out of our country and go live somewhere else if he feels this way.
The CEO of a national fast food chain says that he thinks gay marriage is wrong and is contrary to how God wants us to live. The media picks up on it and promotes it. And the nation rages. How can this guy believe something so wrong and stupid and ignorant and arrogant? How dare he think something so terrible like this. We must boycott and oppose his business.
The President says or does the latest thing with which we disagree. Media draws attention to the act. And the nation rages. How can the President say or do something so wrong and stupid and ignorant and arrogant? How dare he possibly act or think this way. We must blast him for his latest indiscretion and let the world know how bad he is.
Then you have those on the opposite side of the rage who will defend the target of the rage and in turn will rage back at the ragers.
Hatred and vitriol is spewed both ways. Memes are spread all over the internet to point out just how terrible and stupid the other side is. And the battle rages on. Until the next issue comes along to draw our attention. At which point we dig into our familiar positions and take aim at our familiar targets.
Rinse and repeat.
Is all of this really worth our rage? Of all the problems in this country and world, a quarterback not standing for the national anthem is what must rile up our great ire? A fast food chain owner who thinks gay marriage is wrong is worthy of our great wrath? The President’s latest folly is always deserving to be the object of our incensed indignation?
Now, I am not saying that it is wrong to have an opinion or feelings on these kinds of matters. That it is wrong to feel disturbed or offended or even strongly about them. That it is never right to rage about anything.
But where is the balance? To not have to work ourselves up into a frothing anger at every “offense”. Where is the sanity? Where is the sense of level-headedness and desire to sometimes have reasoned and measured discussion? Sometimes… even to just let things go.
No, we have identified the enemy and we must crush them. We cannot possibly let them get away with their atrocious act of stupidity. Well, at least until the next target comes along next week.
To steal a line that Michael has said quite a few times in recent memory, we are a nation that is addicted to rage.
Now, we are not all guilty. Some that are guilty are not guilty all the time. But as a nation, we are definitely trending that way… and it is not a good trend.
Although some may disagree, I think a good rage may sometimes be necessary and constructive and even righteous. I believe there is such a thing as righteous anger, although it can very easily tip over into unrighteousness. However, when rage becomes a regular thing, I cannot see how this is good for the overall health or effectiveness of the rager or those targeted or associated with the rage. When rage becomes a regular thing, people will begin to default to either tuning out the rager (“Oh, there he/she goes again.”) or to rage back at them. In either case, not much good is accomplished but the potential for much bad to take place is certainly there. When you’ve got a whole bunch of people, or even a country, collectively raging with or against each other, the results most assuredly cannot be good.
I believe God has told us some things to help us out. “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1 Or, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” – James 1:19-20. Or what about, “Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.” – Proverbs 14:29 And then there is, “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” – Titus 3:1-2
Lord, whatever feelings of anger we may experience, help us to act righteously on them. And give us the wisdom to know when to speak, and what to say, and when to hold our tongues.