“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

In the movie, Network, this is one of the classic lines (it’s a little paraphrased). There seems to me a mood of anger in our society. I think anger can be considered one of the original sins. I don’t know the origin of anger, although I think it’s biological- but I recognize some manifestations of anger: road rage, violence against people because of ethnicity, religion, sexual identity; whether or not people are “legal” or “illegal”; rape, family violence; there are others. And we live in a culture that condones and celebrates violence. Years ago I was listening to a national radio sports show and I heard the host say how the San Antonio Spurs hated the H-town Rockets. I thought to myself, “I’m a Spurs fan and I don’t hate Houston. They have a good team and why would I hate them? And why would I hate any sport’s team?” I’ll assume the host didn’t mean “hate” but it’s in our sports lingo, even casually. Our societal anger is currently being vented on illegal aliens, gays, Muslims (although we use code language like “Muslim extremists”). In my thinking, anger is “in bed” with hatred and violence.

I limit my time with angry people because life itself is violent. Growing from childhood to adulthood is violent in that the body growth plates violently stretch and muscles adapt. Daily our body violently fights to live, fighting off illness, replenishing dying blood cells and healing aging body parts. With all the violence within myself I choose to seek the peace that Jesus offered and spend my time with fellow peace seekers. I’m reminded of what the Buddah is quoted as saying, “Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”