31 Days of Giving Permission . . . TO GET ANGRY

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There are days when it’s good to be the bright, angry flower in the midst of those without much color. Not every day, not even very many days. But more days than most of us are comfortable admitting.

You know what I mean? Sometimes, you gotta speak up. Take a stand. Tell it true, and clean, and hard. Because sometimes, life demands it. The injustices, the inequities, the ugliness — sometimes the best response is this one:

ANGER. 

I’m not talking about reactivity, or defensiveness, or pique. I’m talking about good ole righteous indignation, the sense that someone done someone else wrong, and the only thing for it is truth-telling. Now.

Where did we ever get the idea that to be Jesus-followers, we had to be a milquetoast group of people? And why did the word ‘nice’ become for too many people, both inside and outside the church, the word that epitomizes Christianity?

Jesus certainly wasn’t ‘nice’ a lot of the time. He was kind, generous, interesting, intelligent,
empathetic, powerful, but nice? It doesn’t quite fit, somehow.  How did we lose sight of the prophetic voice of Jesus, the straight-talking, cut-to-the-chase, tell-it-like-it-is Jesus? Or the Jesus who saw people suffer and die and responded with ‘indignation,’ literally with a tightening in his guts, the kind of tightening that we’re all familiar with, if we’re honest.

Because here’s the truth — anger, in and of itself, is a neutral thing. It’s an honest emotion, triggered by a wide variety of circumstances and situations. It’s what we do with the anger that adds moral valence, right?

We have all seen anger misused, exaggerated, overplayed and misplaced. Those are times when the emotion of anger gets all tangled up with pride or fear or jealousy. But pure anger, honest indignation when things are not right, are not just? That kind of anger is a powerful thing, a force that can change the world, when it’s submitted to God, focussed on justice and used to motivate people to change for the better.

If you’d like to read a post that takes that powerful emotion and channels it directly through the Holy Spirit to challenge the hearts and minds of others, hop on over to Sarah Styles Bessey’s post and see what I mean.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Thank you for introducing us to Sarah. I like her passionate, non-apologetic delivery and message!

    And you’re right, Diana. There are times when pure honest indignation, spoken with a confident, firm voice, is called for. God help us discern how and when!

    • Sarah is a favorite of mine, glad you enjoyed this one. She does not always write this strongly, but she always writes this well. And I’ll join you in that prayer for discernment, that’s for sure.

  2. Truth-telling here to be sure, Diana – too often I’m afraid, my anger boils over “injustice” done to me! And I ignore the moments when I should speak up, God forgive me. Thank you for this –

    • Yeah, I get that, Sue. And sometimes that is justified, too. But handling it often looks different than when it’s injustice done to others. Thanks for coming by – always happy to see you.

  3. Yeah.
    In 2004 when I was seeing a counselor and losing 40 unnecessary pounds, one time he challenged me that I thought anger was a sin. I countered, but it got me thinking afterward if I did buy into that Christianese. Because the “nice” goal was really really strong in my Junior High and High School Dallas Tx years. I’d say it was a Texas thing not that anyone else can’t do “Nice” over Truth. Beth Moore said it once in the James study videos (I have them on my mac) and she said it was Texas: you can tell someone off but be nice about it, say it sweetly. (Of course that can be mean girl too.)
    It helped me when someone at church pointed me to The Dance of Anger (by Harriet Lerner) which helps both the nice girl (who loses autonomy) and the angry girl (who doesn’t accomplish anything). Her main point: anger is a signal that something’s wrong so stop and figure out what that is and what is in your ability to change.
    My favorite parenting book is also odd: The Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo, although it was more for reparenting myself.
    I’ve been Nice Girl and disliked by stronger females but in my 45+ years I am learning to speak up.
    You have often blessed me Diana. Thanking God for you.

    • YAY, Beth. Yay for learning, for speaking up, for understanding where some of this comes from, and for working on it. It’s so hard to do, especially for women, who get branded quickly if their voices are too angry. But man, it’s necessary and it’s important.

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