The recent protests, the celebrities vowing to leave America, and the newspaper headline predictions over the election of Donald Trump are unsettling, to say the least. However, they are expressions of freedoms we enjoy in America. We Americans are to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness according to the Declaration of Independence.
But have you noticed there is no mention of the right to enjoy unresolved anger?
My observation is that the American temperament in the 21st century suffers from “unresolved anger.” My familiarity with unresolved anger is a poignant reflection of my past—my before Jesus life. Still, as a “recovered unresolved anger addict,” I would like to share some insights from my current book project that might help us understand why people are reacting to Trump in such volatile ways.
Excerpt from Living Beautiful in an Ugly World (working title)
“Recently, a jet-black 4-wheel drive truck pulled up next to me at a stoplight. The truck was so far from the ground, I felt as though my Mini Cooper might fit under it. As we sat, side by side, waiting for the light to change, I couldn’t help but notice something written on the driver’s side fender. In bright red letters, it read:
“Kill em’ All”
Watching the truck pull away, I noticed a moose head trailer hitch cover. Perhaps he was a hunter. On the other hand, he could have been against illegal immigrants—or Muslims—maybe he was a racist, a “red neck,” or a Special Forces Marine just home from battle.
What is wrong with this person?
I once asked my Christian counselor a similar question after my former husband whipped my 5-year-old son across the face with his belt.
“He was a sociopath,” Dr. Joan said.
After reading the description of a sociopath—disregard for others, lack of remorse, manipulative, egocentric, and lying to get what they want—I knew she was correct.
But knowing that “those people” might be sociopaths doesn’t help us much, does it?
We still want something or someone to blame.
Society condemns radicalized jihadists, black activists, mentally unstable youths, white supremacists, overzealous law enforcement officers, gang members, druggies, or people acting out their childhood experiences.
“How could God allow such things to happen?” we ask.
God is not to blame. The blame is sin. My sin, your sin, all the sin in the world. My ex-husband’s sin.
Having spent part of my life without God, I can relate to unresolved anger, low self-esteem, and unhappiness. Still, these feelings don’t let me off the hook, because they are self-condemning, honest, and humbling.
I am capable of vile and treacherous acts just like anybody else, but God’s grace surrounds me with love.”
In spite of my observation, I want to tell the protesters, celebrities, and newspaper writers, to wait and see. To give the man a chance. To stifle their anger, frustration, and the propensity for “it’s all about me.”
Until they allow themselves to be surrounded by God’s love, through his grace… they can’t.