Anger, indifference, and grief… great title huh? This isn’t the warm and fuzzy blog of the day. However, you might be surprised if you find the courage to read on that it could free you to feel better.
The New York Times chose Grief, Anger, and Recrimination as their title to describe the recent news and horrors of calculated suicide bombings in churches and hotels in Sri Lanka this past Easter Sunday. This event definitely contributed to my inspiration to write this blog, but my take will be a bit more personal for those of us not directly affected by it.
Anger is neutral, natural, and often a healthy response to injustice, evil, and loss. The problem lies in the power of this emotion and human propensity to respond inappropriately. Recrimination is one example of this.
Ephesians 4:26 commands readers to not sin while feeling angry. It doesn’t forbid anger. It forbids sinning. But it also continues on in Ephesians 4:27 with motivating the importance of why. How we respond to the wrongs committed against ourselves, loved ones, and others determines whether healthy healing will take place or the vicious vortex of evil hastens on.
Justice is an universal given. Why else to children cry out all the time, “He/She took…xyz…!!!” and “It’s not fair!”? The desire for it is innate. The question is how were you taught to deal with injustice and evil when confronted with it? Of course it is a given responsibility of any government. This is why ruling bodies exist. But I believe there are three generic philosophies that affect each of us very deeply in our psyche.
- Take matters into your own hands
- Be indifferent
- Mourn and entrust to a higher religious power
The irony is many who profess to be devout believers really take matters into their own hands. They evoke the name of God as theirs to do as they see fit. They may call on you to pray with them, but they’re really just thinking that if more people pray for the outcome they will get want they want. The next problem, indifference is not much better of a response.
Indifference just like anger is neutral. Some writers have pointed out to how it can be used for the wrong. The late Elie Wiesel, said, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference. Because of indifference, one dies before one actually dies. ” But therapist, Dr. LaBier titled one of his articles teachers how to recharge a declining relationship through indifference. And he isn’t just giving more manipulative means to get what you want. He really discusses how it can bring better health to you and your struggling relationship. So when one responds indifferently, is it always bad?
In some ways with the constant barrage of horrific worldwide news available 24/7 individuals need to distance themselves from the pain or do we? Is it possible to allow each of these horrors to touch our souls? I am proposing in order to be more loving and humane, that we do by embracing the 3rd approach, mourning and entrusting justice to be served by the God of the Judeo/Christian Bible who says, vengeance is the Lord’s. Yes, vengeance, not the wimpy forgiving God that has been poorly portrayed through a cheap gospel message.
I resent the misrepresentation of the whole message of the Bible by this quick fix “it’s ok” and excusing abominable behaviors by a magical wave of forgiveness to the unrepentant. Helping me to arrive at a genuine sense of understanding, forgiveness, and compassion towards those who hurt me has never come through this poor understanding of what Jesus did on the cross. I defer and encourage you to read Jeff Crippen’s article
Abuse and Anger: Is it a Sin to Be Angry Toward Our Abuser?
for further enlightenment.
I have experience that taking matters into my own hands and stuffing my emotion through indifference have given the devil of resentment a hold on my heart that almost destroyed me.
What I have needed during my distress is validation that something terribly unjust just happened. Acknowledging that I should be feeling pain from xyz is what equips me to let go of it. I have to take hold of it first in order to free it. To deny is just to bump into and trip over the elephant blocking my ability to move on in my mind.
First, I need to soak my bed with tears and drain the grief like the psalmists does in Psalm 6. Anytime the Bible says something, its valid. There are fourteen imprecatory psalms. The book of Psalms is one of the four books Jesus quoted in his teachings.
Even the Huff post discusses why mourning has value. Why then is it that we keep telling boys and now girls too to man up and not cry? Why is it that we don’t stop to listen to our friends lament a bad day? Is it because we are afraid ourselves that we cannot handle the pain?
Pain also is neutral. Its what we do with it that matters. Please let’s stop running from it and drugging it. Work through it and learn from it. It’s good to cry. Then after the tears have flowed, consider responding like the psalmist does in hope and trust that the LORD will deliver justice perfectly in his perfect time. Lastly, be a better friend. Listen, validate, and encourage them in similar format to the content of the Imprecatory Psalms. Thank you.
#Depression #Anger #Indifference #Grief # Recovery #Mourning