There is a lot of anger in our world right now and particularly, in the United States. Anger, hatred and bitterness are deadly toxins and without doubt, they will consume us if we don’t stop. How we go about neutralizing these lethal emotions is not has hard as one might think.
Between the pandemic and the escalating political dysfunction in the U.S., Americans are at their wit’s end. Watching the news has become almost unbearable and the events of January 6th have sent shock waves around the world. And what caused American citizens and even members of Congress to betray their country? Extreme anger. These insurrectionists have seething rage. But what are they angry about? The truth is, they don’t seem to know — most of them are unable to express what exactly they’re so mad about to make them go off the rails. We hear them yell “take our country back!” and “it’s 1776 again!” But when pressed to express why they’re angry, they simply cannot.
This unbridled anger is extremely dangerous and sadly, their inability to channel their anger into reasonable, law abiding action, has now caused chaos and heightened anxiety for the rest of us — in other words, their rage boiled over into madness and now, we all pay the price.
“Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.” – Psalm 37:8
One doesn’t need to have a degree in psychology to know that extreme anger, hatred and bitterness are not only dangerous for those who have these toxic emotions, but also for the rest of us. Experts all agree that these toxic emotions are quite harmful and even deadly.
Everyone experiences anger at some point. It becomes problematic, however, when the frequency or severity of anger interferes with relationships, work performance, legal standing, or mental health. While there is no official “anger disorder,” dysfunctional anger can be a symptom of manic episodes, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Intermittent Explosive Disorder. Anger doesn’t require a formal diagnosis to be disruptive, or to benefit from help with its management. – Psychology Today
How one deals with extreme, unresolved anger is really best addressed by a qualified health expert. But in general, anger, hatred and bitterness are emotions that disrupt life to such a degree, that happiness, contentment and positivity fly right out the window. When we’re filled with toxic feelings, there’s little room for true joy and in my opinion, it becomes a vicious cycle of unhappiness brought about by a brute stubbornness that is created by the anger/hatred.
“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” – 2 Timothy 2:22
What Can Be Done?
Figure out why: The best first course of action may be to figure out why you or someone you know is so angry or bitter, because there is usually a reason(s). Often, when we get it out in the open, we almost immediately feel a bit better. Exposing the root causes also helps us to feel better because we start to see the light.
Acceptance of the problem: We need to accept that hatred, extreme anger and bitterness are evil. Yes, evil. They’re dark emotions that often stem from or lead to a pathological stubbornness to change — the person knows they’re angry and filled with hate, but refuses to admit it or, take steps to correct it. In a sense, its like an evil force that takes over and the ones burdened by this refuse to change.
Back down: Part of the problem today is that no one is willing to back down. Many believe that social media and biased news sources have created a bubble environment — people retreat to environments that bolster their opinions/feelings and sometimes, those opinions are flawed. We know for example, that the right wing hate groups that staged the coup, only go to news sites that advance a right wing agenda and that they congregate on social media. The problem with this is that we’re isolating ourselves and cutting ourselves off from alternate views. If we only get our news from extreme right or left sources, then our world view is absolutely tainted and we risk being spoon fed false news. I believe this is why people today are less willing to “back down.” But backing down is essential — someone has to just let it go and move on. To rid ourselves of extreme anger and hatred, we have to be willing to have a more open mind and to want peace more than conflict.
Just say no to hate: This is a simple one. Just say no to hating people. Hatred does the hater more harm than the hated, but in the end, hate only brings misery. Just say no to hating people because of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, political views, etc.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” – Ephesians 4:31
Love and tolerance are the answer: Love heals, hate destroys the hater. I believe that deep down, everyone wants to love and be loved. Letting love rule our heart is a leap of faith, but one that promises incredible reward. Chose love and tolerance — of course, tolerance doesn’t mean you have to condone or even understand, but it means that you are willing to let people live their life, just as you want people to let you live yours. Tolerance is healing for everyone concerned.
Walk a mile in their shoes: We need to stop judging everyone. We don’t know the struggles or heartache someone has endured, so until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes, save the judgement for your own thoughts and actions. People are just trying to make it in life and we should understand that unless we’ve been invited along on that journey, its not our business.
Take the first step and just stop: A great many people, feeling worn down, are making the conscious decision to just stop — stop being angry, hating and being bitter. More people are realizing that these toxic emotions are doing damage to their life and happiness, so they’re putting themselves and their family/loved ones first by letting those dark emotions go. If you suffer from an increasing anger, feelings of hate or bitterness, try just stopping and letting them all flow out of you.
News/Social Media/Politics: People need to stop spending their life watching news, surfing social media and obsessing about politics. Life it too precious to waste it in front of a computer screen or watching the news. Politics have always been messy, so what good does it do to obsess over politics? If we really are angry at the political divide, we need to recognize that politicians themselves created it — they no longer run on their merits, but instead, on demonizing their opponent. We’re so distracted by these fear mongering tactics, that we don’t even realize they they themselves are not qualified to run. We should also stop hating each other because of political differences and instead, channel those feelings into action — call or email your elected representatives and tell them what you expect of them. Be an active voter and help influence the direction of our country by using the power of your vote and your voice.
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.” – 2 Timothy 4:3
This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. – Jeremiah 17:5
Having extreme anger or hatred is not the answer. People are allowing themselves to be consumed by it and the toll its taking is severe. Calm, rational and reasoned thoughts and actions are what get things done. Christians are taught that we are to be loving, patient, kind and compassionate — if we followed those teachings more, this world would be a whole lot nicer. These Bible passages are very appropriate for our times and Christians should seek answers and guidance through their faith.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” – Galatians 5:19-21
“Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.” – Proverbs 14:29
“A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.” – Proverbs 15:18
“Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Psalm 34:14