All these people working hard to make us angry and outraged and offended – it all just makes me, well, angry.
But when I feel that “mad” boiling up in my gut, I realize I’ve fallen into the trap.
We have an anger surplus in the world. No need to add to this.
A very wise guy once wrote, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
Some folks do their best to gin up anger against each other. (We call these people politicians – that’s a joke, mostly.) It benefits them to direct anger at some perceived injustice perpetrated by Someone Else.
But anger is not good for the soul. For one thing, it gives you a tummy ache. Good meals turn bad churning around in all that bile.
A heart full of anger reflects tension, bitterness, envy, hatred … A heart full of joy reflects calm, sweetness, generosity, love. Anger roils at what is not understood; love reaches to understand.
The wise guy I mentioned above began by saying, “The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
It’s hard to stay angry when you’re focused on loving your neighbors instead of being angry at them – understanding that we all are neighbors. It’s also hard to fear someone you love.
Of course I get angry. Of course I get afraid. But if I let anger and fear control me, I’ll be a miserable soul indeed.
And so – when I remember my own advice! – I refuse to let anger or fear consume me. Instead of pursuing outrage and obsessing about scary stuff, I seek out what brings joy.
I refuse to be angry. We live in a maddening world in maddening times, but there’s plenty of reason for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and the rest.
And Friday I’ll write about one of the greatest reasons to be joyful.