So, I decided to do this month’s blog topic on the issue of anger because of the prevalence of it in our society. It really seems as though everywhere we turn, this issue all up in our grill. From a societal aspect (the world around us) we’ve seen anger expressed in the form of frustration as it relates to the whole COVID matter. We then saw it become a more intensified issue, in various needless and truly senseless deaths. Then we see it expand to its greatest showing, in acts of rage.
This is why I chose the image presentation that I did for this blog. The image is the word ANGER upside-down and in red. Also, if you look closely enough, you’ll see the word is actually spelled out using human skulls. Now here’s the meaning behind it. The upside-down word represents of rational thought being turned upside-down along with our world and those who are impacted by our actions (aka ripples). The color red of course denotes intensity. Finally, the skulls of course represent death, which is where anger can lead; either immediately or in the long run.
The victims are angry because they’ve been victimized and they feel both hopeless and powerless, because the safety and security has been assaulted and their peace has been taken from them. Homes, businesses and or places of employment, as well as places they rely upon for their everyday existence have been destroyed by people who claim to be protesting and speaking out on behalf of their communities. Sadly, when in fact for those paying attention, the majority doing the antagonizing, instigating and motivating of the violence weren’t even from those communities. People need to open their eyes to see the truth, which typically is not on the surface and easily seen. No, a lot of times it takes time and tenacity to look deeper.
The points I want to address in this blog are:
1. The definition; both standard and psychological
2. Its purpose and application; physical, physiological, psychological, and spiritual
3. God’s position
Since the beginning of humanity, anger has always been a part of life. We see it played out every day in our lives. Anger, based on jealousy, was the motivation for the very first violent act that resulted in a brother killing his own brother (Genesis 4:1-16). Sadly, some of us see far more of it that we really care to. As I stated in the opening of this blog, over the past month we’ve seen numerous outbursts of anger in our society. Some of which are appropriate and others definitely are not. Now what I mean by that, is that there are things that are done in this world that really does justify anger. However, there are things that are done that people allow to create a greater level of anger (i.e. rage) then what is necessary; riots and destruction of public or private property.
What is Anger:
The standard definition of anger is: a strong feeling of displeasure and usually of antagonism (Marion Webster). So, you’re likely asking what is this thing called antagonism? Well, with the word antagonism, we have a few points to address. 1. it is to take a position or stance that is in opposition of a conflicting force, tendency, or principle or 2. It is and actively expressed position in opposition or hostility, or 3. To be in opposition in physiological action (Marion Webster). The third one will make more sense as we progress through this blog.
Purpose and Application (physical, physiological, psychological, and spiritual):
So, anger plays a role in our physical life, also referred to as our flesh (how we interact in this natural – flesh, blood, and bone – world) in that it may help us deal with things that desire to bring us harm. As we experience life, we also find that anger has an impact on us from the physiological, or in other words how or body physically adapts (increased heart rate and blood flow, increased breathing, chemical production and release for the brain for calculation and problem solving, and production of adrenaline for the muscles) to deal with a perceived threat. Determined by the American physiologist, Walter Cannon (1920) and recognized by both physiologist and psychologists, is our “Fight or Flight” response or mechanism (Cherry, 2019). God created us with this innate skill, just as He has given it to the animals (mammals, reptiles, amphibian, fish, birds, and yes even insects). From the psychological perspective anger is identified as a secondary emotion just like love. If you look on line, you will find that there are numerous factors or base actions that generate Anger. Some of those are: Insecurity; Fear; Anxiety; Embarrassed; Helpless; Overwhelmed; Stressed; Attacked; Trapped; and Disrespected.
With humans there is one more aspect, which is unique to them only and that is spiritual. Though if asked, many will say that they believe that all living things have a spirit. However, the spirit in other living creatures is different, in that they don’t have a realm that battles over theirs as is the case with humans.
God’s Position: Believe it or not, God has no issue with us having anger. After all, His Word does say that we are created in His image (likeness) (Genesis 1:27, New King James Version), and we can find a number of places throughout the Scriptures where God became angered (Deuteronomy 9:8; Exodus 32:10-11; Numbers 11:1-2, 22:22, and 32:13). In His Word, we even see where Jesus, got so angry at what was being done in the temple that He went through and was yelling at the people and physically flipping tables (Matthew 21:12-13). So, what does He have a problem with concerning anger? It’s when we allow it to control us.
Now, let’s look at the following as examples relating to anger: the wrongful murder of an individual and the wanton disregard for the sanctity of human life through the killing of the unborn and the innocent. Both of these should absolutely invoke anger.
As in the case with George Floyd. This is a case where we’ve recently seen the wrongful taking of an individual’s life at the hands of somebody who is supposed to be sworn to protect and serve, or in other words preserve civility. Now there are those who wear the uniform and wear that badge with high regard and dignity, and this is true with many more so than not. And though there are those who do abuse their power, these are the exception and not the majority or the norm. Most who have chosen to serve have done so because they desire better for the communities they serve. They really want to be a part of the greater good.
The other example related to the sanctity of human life. It is very angering to those who truly value life; being aware of individuals who willfully disregard it and use abortion as a means to murder an unborn child. Sadly, there are people who have chosen to use abortion as a means of birth control rather than exercise responsibility. What makes this matter even worse, is when doctors willfully execute this process either all the way up to the end of the pregnancy at full term, or in some cases even now outside of the womb, meaning post-birth.
Sadly, there is hypocrisy in the so-called “cry for justice”, as there are those who want to exacerbate the negativity of issues. These are the ones who are only crying out in certain cases while failing to recognize and hold other perpetrators accountable. This form of hypocrisy is a social construct of selective accountability or in other words, preferential disregard. If these lives mattered to the full extent that they are claiming, then why do they not hold accountable those who kill hundreds of people across this nation daily that are the result of either gang or drug-related crimes? What’s even worse is that these acts of violence are committed as like or same race crimes. And yet we see no protests or calls to action from any of these people who again claim to be concerned. This is the epitome hypocrisy. It is more of a matter of feigning interest or concern for a matter so that they can claim attention and notoriety. Now, this is beyond frustrating for those who see the truth.
Additionally, God’s position is that He wants us as His children to be empowered to overcome (Joshua 1:9; Jeremiah 17:7-10; Luke 10:19; and John 16:32-33). The first place that we do this is through our mind and heart (Romans 12:1-2 and Proverbs 23:7). As I’ve pointed out in previous blogs, to be stable is to be grounded. Many of you likely know that along with God’s Word this is a foundational element of this organization. For those who are new here and have not heard of this, here’s the recap of what the acronym GROUNDED (Kidd, 2017) stands for.
First, we must recognize God, and that He IS. He is what? He is the One who not only created each of us but did so with a very specific purpose in mind. He’s also the One who provided His Son, Jesus as not only our gift of salvation, but as a human example of Him; for us to see and understand that we as His creation is only limited to and by what we choose to believe.
Next is the matter of Respect. First, and foremost respect for Him as The Creator, for He gave us life. Next, respect for His one and ONLY Son, Jesus, for it is by Him that God gave us life and that more abundantly. For ourselves, for we are the greatest of all of the Creator’s creations. Why? Because we were created in His image, with a purpose and that purpose is to be a blessing to others who don’t know Him; to walk out His peace and love.
Next is Observant – be cognizant (aware) of your surroundings for your safety as well as that of others. Be alert to the things that are going on around you in the physical, which in reality is much more than many often give thought to. This is a point that can’t be emphasized enough given the day and age in which we live.
Next is Understanding. Understand that your life and the choices we make not only effect and or affect us, but others; both close to us and those we’ve possibly haven’t and may never meet.
Next is New Experiences. If you don’t like where you’re at in your life – then YOU MUST CHANGE IT. No one else can implement a permanent change for anyone other than themselves. Don’t lower your standards to live down to someone else’s expectations, but rather use that as motivation to propel you to a new destiny. Don’t practice insanity, which is doing the same thing over and over again, and yet expect a different result.
Next is Diligence, which is giving strict attention to and pursuing after that which is important. Look at what will make a radically positive change in your life, not just for today or tomorrow, but one that is long-lasting rather than short-term.
Next is Education. Education is all around you and it is continually making itself available to us. Especially in the information age in which we live. Just be smart enough to apply the previously mentioned elements of O, U, and N, so that you’re not taken advantage of.
And finally, we have Daily Effort. Though very similar to diligence it is different. Diligence is more precise and focused. Whereas, daily effort is more general and all-encompassing.
If we are truly GROUNDED then we will value and respect God, ourselves, our family, friends, neighbors, and even the stranger. And we can do so regardless of the matter of race, ethnicity, beliefs, lifestyles, and any other barrier one could choose to use as feeble justification. For just as God, through His Son Jesus, spoke, we are to love others and do unto them as we would do unto ourselves (Matthew 7:12 and 22:36-40; Mark 12:30-31; and Luke 6:31).
This blog has been on the matter of anger; what it is; the purpose and application as well as God’s view on the matter. By understanding these points along with the GROUNDED tool, we should be able to see how to be overcomers and are truly be empowered in our battles relating to it.
Remember as I have said before, we do have an enemy who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy our lives (John 10:10, and I Peter 5:8). Also, keep in mind that the difference between knowledge and wisdom is in the application.
In closing, I’m going to say that in previous blogs I’ve talked about the matter of empowerment and we must understand that empowerment comes through the full understanding of how things interact with each other. If we only operate by what the world tells us, we will never be fully empowered. Full empowerment is based on the understanding that God, The Creator (Elohim) has provided mankind. God has called His people to not walk in the ways of this world (I John 2:15-17), which is full of lies, deceit, and treachery. Rather we are to be the light in this ever-darkening world (Matthew 5:14-16). There is TRUTH that is far more important than any other thing that we could ever desire or seek. But not just any perceived version that the world would offer, but rather the real truth that is only found in Christ Jesus; The One who loved you before you were ever born, to the point that He gave His life for you.
References and Resources:
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Anger. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved June 29, 2020, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anger
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Antagonism. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved June 29, 2020, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ antagonism
Cherry, K. (2019). How the Fight or Flight Response Works. On-line Article. Verywell Mind. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-the-fight-or-flight-response-2795194. Retrieved on 29 June 2020.
Kidd, R. (2017). The Young Person’s Survival Manual: How to Survive in Today’s Ever-Changing World. ISBN: 9781629528953. Xulon Press. Maitland, FL.
The Holy Bible, New King James Version (1985). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc.