Releasing Our Anger and Bitterness
I've been trying to work on controlling my anger, and I'm failing miserably.
I'm doing a better job of dealing with it than I have over the past couple of years, but it's been tough to keep it from erupting lately.
Mostly, I've been ticked off at all the videos I see on social media of people purporting to be Christian who preach, proclaim, spew and spout all manner of bigoted, hate-filled, awful stuff.
I also have some special tirades that have been leveled at football referees, most of whom seem to be particularly lousy this year--both at the college and NFL levels.
Seriously, I'd fire all those referees if I were in charge of the world. Mind you, the few who have ruled in favor of my teams, or teams I happen to be rooting for at any given moment---they could stay. The rest would peace out.
I realize the hypocrisy here, but I have well-founded reasons that are too numerous and (possibly unhinged) to recount here.
But let me get back to the first reason for my recent struggles with anger: The Christians mentioned above, who seem to be out to make Christianity look bad, and who also seem to think Jesus agrees with them.
Whenever I scroll through my social media feeds, they are inundated with videos from these jokers, and before I know it, my blood is boiling. The other day I was ranting about a particularly egregious video I shared with my son.
I launched a five-minute rant about the video and the people who made it. He listened patiently and said, "You need to stop looking at social media; they show you that stuff just to get you going."
Afterward, I sat and thought about what he said, and I realized how right he was.
The algorithms used by my social media platforms had figured out I watched those videos more than others, and so they just gave me a heaping helping of them to fire me up even more.
I was letting myself get worked up about what I was seeing, thinking of all the ways I could respond, refute or reject, and it was poisoning my spirit.
As a result, I was unleashing all kinds of negativity into the world, lousy energy that darkened my house, my conversations with my son, and maybe even the world around me.
Bishop Desmond Tutu once wrote:
Anger and bitterness do not just poison you; they poison all your relationships.
One of the first easy steps toward letting go of anger and bitterness is to stop giving so much energy to what you aren't and to what you're against. There will always be a parade of horrible things to draw our ire, but we don't have to watch or repay negativity with negativity.
Ultimately, however, we need to experience and hear things we vehemently disagree with and not lose our sense of self, well-being, or peace.
We need to learn what it means to carry our peace with us and to also show the character of Christ when we respond to things that are opposed to Christ's witness in the world.
May we all find the courage to let our anger and bitterness go and to live healthy and abundant lives as Jesus would have us do. May it be so, and may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all. Amen.