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America, the Angry

Apr 11, 2024 by Gary Hardin

Singer, Aaron Lewis, released a song in 2021, “Am I the Only One?” in which he asks the question, “Am I the only one who thinks something ain’t right?” Something isn’t right today, and it’s the level of anger that marks our country. Anger seems to be the dominant emotion of American nowadays. People are angry about everything.

   A fellow church member who works retail said to me last week, “I’ve never had to deal with so many angry people.” She went on to say, “Customers yell at me about matters over which I have no control.” Would you agree that Americans are as angry today as they have ever been?

   We see anger expressed on airplanes where flyers slug flight attendants and behave like hooligans. We view anger on social media as people harshly criticize schools, restaurants, retail stores, and one another. We see anger in our politics--each political party demonizes the other side. We feel angry when we go to the supermarket and pay rising prices for every item in our shopping cart.

   America, it seems, has become a country of hate. We blame and point fingers at almost anything. People live with an “all about me” mentality. We pick and choose sides. We have thrown moral values out the window.

   The big question that confronts us is, how do break this cycle of national anger? What can you and I do individually?

   First, understand the role of fear in your feelings of anger. Fear and anger are first cousins. When you see an angry person, you also see a person who is fearful about something. So, before we yell, curse, or throw something at someone we must ask ourselves, what do I fear? If we can identify our fears, we can better control our anger.

   Second, let’s operate our lives with emotional intelligence. This is our ability to manage our emotions, including regulating our emotions as we deal with others. The Bible term for emotional intelligence is “self-control,” a fruit of the Holy Spirit. With self-control we are empowered to say “no” to anger that hurts us and others.

   Third, practice resilience in your life. Resilience is our ability to bounce back from pain, setbacks, and difficulties. Faith is the catalyst for resilience as we see our current circumstances through God’s long-term perspective. We look to Him for strength and guidance during tough times, and we pray instead of unleashing anger on others.

   Fourth, cultivate empathy. This is the skill of feeling what the other person is feeling. Understanding things from their point of view. Empathy shows you care about others and the matters they are having to deal with. Empathy enables us to build friendships and to cooperate with one another. Personal empathy always tamps down angry feelings.

   Fifth, understand the impact of the Covid epidemic on your personal anger. Think increased stress, separation from friends and family, online schooling, masking, staying indoors, and more. Many Americans still feel the emotional and mental sting from this epidemic.

   Fifth, for the Christian, anger management is an obedience issue. The Bible states in Ephesians 4:26, “In your anger do not sin.” The act of feeling anger is neutral; it’s not a sin to feel angry. What is a sin is to allow our angry feelings to provoke us to do something that is wrong. What helps us to manage our anger? Compassion, forgiveness, self-control, love for others, and prayer all help. Remember the words of James 1:20, “For man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”