JUNE 15, 2023
At our staff meeting on Monday, one of the staff asked a question that perhaps some of you have asked, namely, “Is now really the time when we’ve seen more anger than we have at any other point in our lifetimes?" This is something I have shared the past two Sundays. I’m absolutely convinced that the answer is a resounding yes. Let me share a few reasons why.
First, we see it in the increase in the intensity of anger.
This has nothing to do with politics, but did you hear the reactions of some people when Donald Trump was declared the winner of the 2016 election? You would expect that about half the country would have preferred a different outcome and would be sad, but the response of so many people was more intense and unlike at any other time. There is one famous video where a person just screams out, “Nooooooooooooo!” and is crying uncontrollably as if they had just lost their entire family to a tragedy. They were not alone. I don’t recall this reaction when Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, either of the Bushes, or Obama won their elections. There is just so much rage today in this area of life called politics and social issues.
Second, we see it in the increase in the frequency of anger.
Admittedly, there were very angry moments in our history in the form of protests and riots, like during the Vietnam era. But those were more focused and were fewer and far between. But now, protests are much more frequent and really violent. All you have to do is look at how police officers are treated today as opposed to even five years ago to see how much more prevalent anger and rage are displayed today. The summer of 2020 alone had over 500 protests that involved violence, property destruction (even to state and federal buildings), rape, and murders.
Third, we see it in the increase in the threshold for anger.
People are so easily angered over the silliest things. We use words like “triggered” or “offended” way too easily. We call people who disagree with us “evil” even when they aren’t (and yes, sometimes they are evil) just because we disagree over the simplest little things. We can no longer debate with people for very long before someone just starts shouting obscenities or being physically aggressive in response. Tthe violence that people have demonstrated towards organizations they disagree with is more destructive than ever. Christian churches and non-profits have felt this more than anyone else.
So what’s the answer? We have to realize that with this increase in anger in our “age of rage”, we need to make sure that we don’t lower our standards for anger as so many around us have. It’s so easy to set our standards to the same as those around us and just think that it’s ok when it really isn't ok. We have to make sure that our standard for expressing anger is not learned from culture but from Scripture; from God and not from people.
On Sunday, I’ll have a simple four-point test to make sure you exercise “good anger” every time it may be required to do so.