Ramblings: The Gift of Anger

This is an impromptu posting and it is about an issue I’ve spoken about many times and this is fuzzy area of when to be angry and speak up, and when not to. What has brought this to my mind is a plethora of issues, the social stress in our country, the fight for absolute truth in an age when truth doesn’t matter, and others.

Yesterday, while working around the house, I was listening to the book, The Book of Joy by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. In that book the comment was made that there are only four human emotions, three of them negative and one positive; fear, anger, anxiety, and joy. It was brought up within that conversation about the place for anger. After all Desmond Tutu struggled tremendously against social injustices and abuse, as did the Dalai Lama, who has been exiled from his home for 57 years. While the goal is joy, they made it clear that their anger caused them to speak out and work out their anger in real social changes.

In the Christian world, the Bible clearly tells us to “be angry.” But it also warns us not to have what I would call a frivolous anger. This frivolous anger is usually directed at personal injustices. “The person stole my parking spot.” “My fees went up.” “They got in front of me in traffic”, “she disrespected me”, and “I didn’t receive what was mine.”

Then there is the external anger, much of which can be righteous, or not.

I have said before, I feel things deeply. I feel joy deeply. I feel fear deeply. I feel love deeply (which I hope I expressed through the characters in Ristretto Rain), and I feel anger deeply. Yes, I have had frivolous anger in my life, at times it has consumed me, but not in recent years or a decade at least (as far as I can remember). No, I have never been angry about my cancer, not for one second (although some have tried to twist my good anger as anger about my cancer). I may speak more forcefully about the issues that anger me because at this stage in life, what do I have to loose? I may not be here in six months. I have already lost a host of friends and family who don’t like it when I speak up about these issues. Many of them never voice their views. It reminds me of the Beatles, Nowhere Man.

He’s a real nowhere man
Sitting in his nowhere land
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody

Doesn’t have a point of view
Knows not where he’s going to
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?

Nowhere man, please listen
You don’t know what you’re missing
Nowhere man, the world is at your command

He’s as blind as he can be
Just sees what he wants to see
Nowhere man can you see me at all?

Nowhere man, don’t worry
Take your time, don’t hurry
Leave it all till somebody else lends you a hand

Doesn’t have a point of view
Knows not where he’s going to
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?

Doesn’t have a point of view
Knows not where he’s going to
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?

But I digress. I have to try to understand that when great ills grip us, that often you hear crickets within the church. No, it is not political. If my pastor endorsed Donald Trump or Joe Biden, it would be my final day with this great church. But, she would never do that. She does speak up about the general principles and in a loving way.

I think much of the fear to speak up has to do with the false character requirement of “personal peace at all cost.” I will not judge those who never speak up because that’s within their own soul to figure out. Some fear rejection, and I can attest that it will occur if you speak up, especially though social media, which is the major way our culture now communicates in this generation. But calling people out has to be done in love, the first priory of Jesus’ teaching. But I will also say, don’t judge me when I do speak up, as long as my speaking up is from a place of righteous anger, not from myself, and is not done in a hateful way (which , I confess, I have done at times).

As a Christian, my favorite life verse is “To act justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” … Micah 6:8. I also draw my inspiration from Jesus, but not the recycled Jesus of American Evangelicalism, the historical Jesus. He is there in plain view and much different than what I was taught in my Baptist unbringing.

Here are the issues I will speak up about and fight for.

Justice

Hypocrisy

Lying

But if you ever see me getting angry over how I’m being treated or not speaking up in a loving way, call me out on it. Mike

Published by J. Michael Jones

J. Michael Jones is a writer and PA who lives in Anacortes, Washington. He is the father of five children, who are now grown and out discovering this wonderful world on their own. He has previously focused his writing on non-fiction including medical topics and issues of the philosophy of Christian thought. With the success of his last book, Butterflies in the Belfry, Michael is now moving into fiction with his first novel, The Waters of Bimini.

4 thoughts on “Ramblings: The Gift of Anger

    1. I had to think about this. Studied this page (below) and came away clearly that what I personally deal with is anger at times, over active injustices. I have nothing to base resentment on. If social injustices ended today, I would have no lingering concerns, same if svangelicalism repented, or Donald Trump recanted from spreading falsehoods. It is nothing personal to me, but to see others suffer needlessly is upsetting. See: https://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-anger-and-vs-resentment/#:~:text=The%20difference%20between%20anger%20and,bitterness%20that%20the%20individual%20experiences.

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      1. True. And in a constitutionally free country, we will see problems. It’s inherent in freedom. But with the people, majority, understanding our constitution and responsibility, we have the best opportunities to provide for future generations.

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