Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
My previous post dealt with specific ways one woman believes God led her through and eventually out of an abusive relationship.
The seven lessons she learned in the process, featured in the post, enable her now, she says, to deal more effectively with perhaps our main temptation of late in the rapidly deteriorating condition of the world: to engage in the same kind of destructive anger hurled at many of us who defy the socialist/communist/Marxist zeitgeist; who speak the truth about the hedonism of the age, and who in each our own way, quietly or loudly, passively or actively, in the secular arena or the spiritual–or both–resist.
However, given the “tyranny of the (socio-political) urgent” there are those who think it is high time Christians engaged in a little more of what Jesus did in the Temple when confronting the money-changing con artists and when He called others “snakes” and “white-washed tombs,” who were, well, sneaky hypocrites.
I mean, whatever happened to an “eye for an eye,” a “tooth for a tooth” system of justice, anyway?
Whereas it is true that Jesus displayed anger, righteous anger, that is, when we are not careful as believers to know when to speak or act prompted by anger and when not to, i.e., when acting on anger is righteous and when it is not, we are in danger of allowing Satan, the archetypal con artist, and his accomplices in the flesh, to divide and conquer–us.
If we don’t discern the difference, we are in danger of allowing the highly-charged influence of our real enemy to separate us from one another. And as he, with our angry participation, works his divisive agenda by dividing this group from that one and yet another one (for the number of groups clotting together in angry little huddles these days seems to increase by the day) we become engaged in his lethal game which is, in a word, to–destroy.
And for believers, we place ourselves in a dark arena where anger becomes rage by mob rule and in the smoke and flames of the fray, we lose our way. I mean, the higher way that leads to divine discernment and inspired “retaliation” that works justice in various ways, some by stealth, as it were, in a prayer closet, and others by vocal and more visual means.
But if we give in to the temptation that tempts the world toward its demise, we can easily lose sight of Christ, and what HE would do, that is to say, have US do–or not do.
Okay, but HOW can we know the difference between righteous anger and destructive anger?
Consider a few observations from an old post of two years ago, when it seemed to me the world couldn’t go much lower and get much louder–and more destructive–in the anger department! Little did I know then, right?!
Put on your seat belts, friends, because I fear we haven’t seen it all, yet.
Above all, be aware and encouraged–and stay very close to God, your source of enlightenment, wisdom, guidance, and “stealth resistance.”
Righteous Anger versus Destructive Anger
One needn’t be a trained mental health professional to recognize the difference between righteous anger and destructive anger.
A person exhibiting the former identifies evil with the natural human emotion of disgust and strong sense of the injustice of whatever is going on. He or she then moves ahead with discovering how to rectify the evil. Solutions might be immediate, or might take days, months, even longer and require the assistance of others of like mind and determination in an evolutionary manner. The goal is always problem solving.
In the meantime, however, (righteous) blood, sweat and tears may be spent depending upon how strong and embedded the evil.
By contrast, a person exhibiting destructive anger, while he or she may also recognize a legitimate evil and display disgust at the injustice observed, he or she may not move ahead to the solution stage by allowing the emotion to run its course, but may linger there.
Making matters more complex, such anger is soon and easily caught up in other strong emotions (justified or not) such as self-pity (if something has been perpetrated against the angered), annoyance/irritation, the urge to seek revenge, and so on. And this gang of emotional miserables now endangers forward, solution-oriented actions because it quickly devolves into rage. And rage easily eclipses what good may have come from initial anger.
We’ve all likely been there, for this is human, too.
But here is another element of rage that is not goal directed but spirals downward to destruction: such uncontrolled anger is easily both ginned up and then exploited by those who know what happens to reason/critical thinking when emotions overpower it.
Just as a single spark, useful to start a campfire, gets caught up in high winds and quickly ignites a forest fire, anger caught up in the winds of, to my topic here, negative politics (i.e., politics that gain power through any means necessary in order to destroy opponents as an end goal) quickly ignite the destruction, whether intended or not, not only of the “enemy” political opponent but also the entire political system, if left unchecked. Such a Machiavellian tactic, such as is arguably present in today’s brand of “political protest/anarchy,” bodes evil for all especially if the danger of such a tactic isn’t taught anymore in Civics, Political Science, and History courses.
Making matters even worse for both forest fire and political rage, if appropriate measures are not take to halt the destruction (fire fighters sent into the former, peace-keepers and law enforcement sent into the latter) both kinds of conflagrations will consume much, much more than can be imagined.
Indeed, another political ideology that employs its own brand of Machiavellianism, featured in my previous post, views the rage-mongers as, in its term, “useful idiots” who are among the first to be executed, exiled, or imprisoned when a coup has been executed. You see, the (formerly) enraged anarchists likely know too much Additionally, as most have a well-honed sense of injustice (albeit perhaps misled as to solutions), they quickly realize– but too late–who duped, then used, them.
And so to solutions in the emotional, verbal, and physical melee.
Mine are not very sexy, as they say, which term blends “hip, slick, and cool” with exciting and popular movements.
My solutions involve hard lessons won in my own life’s conflagrations, as it were, where I learned that the old-fashioned virtues of patience (though patience not to be mistaken for passivity), diligence, self-reflection, and turning from bad choices to better choices with apologies along the way help me fend off my own bent toward the destructive kind of anger to trying to best discern the justifiable kind of anger that serves the greater good.
Or you might just call this plain, and again, old-fashioned maturity–which goes on until we die.
Although I engage in political activism where I believe it is going to be part of the end-goal of problem-solving, I have learned to be very discerning.
As a long-ago cohort in one political campaign wisely advised me: “causes” tend to attract fringe elements who like a fight, or who have unresolved rage and see your group as a possible means to their own end. I try to remember that and keep my “discerner” up and running as best I can.
But just now, I write this, and other, hopefully helpful, posts. And I hope in so doing I can help disclose the difficulties human beings will always face when living in an imperfect world filled with, well, imperfect human beings. Yet, difficulties that can be solved.
And I hope I encourage the reader if not with my political perspective, with my sincere desire to help tamp down some of the out-of-control political flames that affect us all in one way or another, down to even endangering precious–and key– relationships in the burn. For we need each other now more than ever as the smoke from a now, not-so-distant (political) fire, gets dangerously closer to all of us.
NOTE TO FOLLOWERS AND VIEWERS 8/9/19: I have heard from a few of you that in recent weeks you can’t get your comments to load. I have also noticed my analytics are not showing all of the countries from which I get “views,” which I know should be there. One or two wonder if I’m being caught up in the “big tech censorship conspiracy”. I doubt it, unless for some reason they’re going for the really low-hanging fruit, the small-potatoes blogs, LOL. All that said, if my blog ever “disappears,” I will find another venue with enough identifying information so that whomever wants to find it, will. In the meantime, and to the point of this whole ministry: Pray, read the Word, and discern—early and often—regardless of whether or not my blog is still around. For I am always with you in spirit. Cheers and blessings, Phyllis.
I do, too, as I pray about them, think them through, check for Scriptural alignment, and put them together. By the way, I hope you can continue to “get through” to comment. It seems some of my followers are having some difficulty. I added a little red-lettered post script to today’s post just now, with some thoughts and encouragements on this issue which I will likely continue to add as a kind of “signature” element..
Cheers and blessings,
Good advise Phyllis. It is not always evident to me when I am feeling righteous anger or destructive anger. We do need to stop and pray and ask for discernment as to correctly act upon such emotion with the use of our God given reason. I better make sure my seat belt is secured in Our Lord’s will. Thanks for yet another wise post…..I get a lot out of your thoughts!