Put Anger Aside
Put Anger Aside
Write of Center Column, Boerne Star, January 12, 2018
By Rich Sena
I think most people agree that life is more fun when you are content as opposed to being angry. After all, living in a constant state of anger is not productive. Sadly, anger is alive and well in America today, particularly in the political realm.
It is becoming increasingly clear that some politicos are using anger to build partisan advantage. Democrat Party leaders, furious that Donald Trump is our President, seek to stoke the flames of anger, envy, and resentment to build a large turnout of their base in 2018 to recapture Congress.
They use as inspiration what they claim was the supposed anger of conservative Tea Partiers that led to a GOP takeover of Congress in the 2010 midterm elections. Of course, the left seems to overlook the fact that no Tea Party event ever turned violent (unlike leftist protests after Trump’s election), and that what concerned conservatives was an effort by Obama to move our country further left towards a Democratic Socialist state in which our Constitution could be ignored or essentially shredded.
While any objective person would acknowledge that anger is most likely a bipartisan phenomenon, it seems to have a much stronger hold on the left these days. To what end? Are national problems being solved when anger is used for partisan political purposes? Shouldn’t we all be patriotic Americans who put the interests of our nation, not our political party, first?
For example, Democrats have said they will not support a federal budget unless the DACA (Dreamer) issue is resolved. While I sympathize with this group, and support efforts to give legal residency to those Dreamers who have been productive members of our society, would Democrats really want to shut down the government, thus suspending many essential programs, just to show support for a group that, even through no fault of their own, entered our country illegally?
Do they not respect the rule of law? Are they willing to jeopardize the safety and security of our nation just to score a few political points? Ironically, President Trump has made it very clear that he wants to solve the DACA challenge, but simply wants progress on other immigration reform efforts as well.
What Trump is suggesting is a balanced approach, with policy components that appeal to a wide variety of Americans. This would require compromise between right and left. Compromise means being flexible, selfless, and a need to put anger aside.
As is so often the case, Scripture comes in handy when dealing with the problem of anger. Let’s turn to Galatians, Chapter 5. Verses 20 through 21 tell us that a worldly nature include acts of hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy.
The writer of Galatians, the Apostle Paul, warned that those who live this way will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Maybe atheists or secularists couldn’t care less about this warning, but the approximately 250 million Americans who claim to be Believers should take this seriously.
Conversely, Galatians 5:22-23 tell us that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Paul states, “Against such things there is no law.”
So, love, kindness, and self-control are good, while anger, envy, jealousy, and fits of rage are not good. Hmm, in listening to the vitriolic diatribes of those on the far left who advocate excessive, punitive redistribution of wealth, one hears a lot of anger, envy, hatred and rage as opposed to love. This approach in turn produces discord and factions.
Referring to Scripture when dealing with anger reminds us of the coming national holiday that celebrates Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday. If anyone could be given a pass for having feelings of anger over injustice in American society, it would have been the leader of the Civil Rights movement.
Yet, Dr. King chose a different path. He called for a non-violent resistance to discrimination against African-Americans. Now undoubtedly Dr. King must have been frustrated by the slow pace of progress and change, but he continued to follow Jesus’ command to love thy neighbor and pray for your enemy.
Other 1960’s activists took a different approach, and advocated violence to change the status quo.
Which approach was more effective and touched people’s hearts? The answer is simple. We have a national holiday honoring Dr. King; no such event is held for those who advocated violence. While things are certainly not perfect and divisions remain in our society, who cannot acknowledge the progress that has been made?
I think that more Americans should engage in positive behavior that results in what Galatians 5 promises as the fruits of the Spirit. This approach will provide the contentment that people seek. Let us hope, but more importantly pray, that our political leaders will avail themselves of this wise approach in 2018.