Response to Anger

Why is there so much anger in our society today? Why do so many respond to every difficulty with anger? How should we respond when things are hard or disappointing or unsettling? Should we immediately find someone to blame? It can't be my fault, so who screwed up? Was it the government? Was it God?

In the book of James, we are told to "Consider it all joy when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:2-3)

I would like to be perfect! I have always thought that I was less flawed than others seem to realize, but even in my own eyes, I am far from perfect. Maybe part of the reason I fall so far short is that I don't have the proper attitude toward trials and difficulties. The testing or stretching of my faith should help me to develop spiritual endurance and faith that is strong and built on the reality of Jesus rather than the shifting sand of what my friends and neighbors think. James says that faith that endures through hard times will result in me being closer to the perfection of Jesus, and I will be less empty and more complete. Wow, what would I pay for that?

Do I ask for trials and hard times? Absolutely not! Do I resist struggles and pain and hard times? Yes, usually. Do I assume that most difficulties come from God? No, I think they rarely come from God. Should I do everything I can to resolve and eliminate difficulties that arise? Certainly, and many can be resolved with some focused and careful attention . . .

But what about the larger issues that we face — the economy, terrorism, wars, debt, hatred, sickness, fear, death, evil, sin, greed, and faithlessness? What about the dreams we have for our future and for our children and grandchildren? How do we deal with those trials and concerns? Be at peace! "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7) God isn't telling us to be stupid and shallow. He is saying that we should trust Him and lean into Him for peace and understanding and for wisdom as to how to deal with the trial or concern. Jesus shows the way. He is the Prince of Peace and the Lamb of God. He is the greatest expression of love and compassion of all time. Let's actually follow Jesus. Let's strive to be like Him. Let's not be anxious and angry and militant. Let's not waste our time and energy complaining about every circumstance. Let's be wise and careful and loving and find solutions that heal and restore.

Have a peaceful week.