If there was ever a time for anger in America, it is now. For what should be a Constitutional government has been usurped by a tyrant so obnoxious that he would evict the elderly from their homes, Barrycade citizens and veterans from even viewing their memorials and more, much more.
Further I am convinced this is a time for non-violent civil disobedience. I am heartened to see good gumption like the man who tossed Barrycades from Badlands viewpoints, and WW2 veterans who went through Barrycades blocking their war memorials. May such simple acts of courage and resistance multiply.
By the way, Dave Carter’s “When the Bleeding Heart Becomes the Iron Fist” is an excellent summary of where we are now as a nation.
But there is a problem with anger, even righteous anger.
Us men (and women) do not handle anger well. Even our righteous anger too easily becomes very unrighteous and harmful. It’s not for nothing that St. James warned, “The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20)
I know that all too well from my own experience. But I’ve also received two timely and needful reminders over the weekend.
The Epistle Lesson yesterday (the 19th Sunday after Trinity) from Ephesians 4 admonishes “Be angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath; neither giver place to the devil.” St. Paul acknowledges there are times to “be angry,” but when those times come we must be careful to “sin not.” For either through prolonged anger eating us (and/or those around us) up or through our fallen nature and Satan using what may have begun as righteous anger and twisting it into evil, it is difficult for us to keep our righteous anger righteous. And our nature is such that anger often goads us into committing hateful and harmful sin.
(By the way, I taught this passage to my Sunday School. Yes, I confessed as I did so.)
This morning, my readings in the Psalms came to Psalm 37, which begins in Coverdale’s translation, “Fret not thyself because of the ungodly”. Verse 8 elaborates, “Fret not thyself, else shalt thou be moved to do evil.” And prolonged anger about evil, particularly the evil of tyranny, can indeed so easily lure us into committing evil ourselves.
And tyrants have a history of using that tendency to further increase their power. A most infamous example is the Nazis’ use of the Reichstag Fire to push through the Enabling Act.
So, while standing up against tyranny, we are to trust in the Lord as Psalm 37 repeatedly and warmly exhorts. Instead of fretting and being eaten up by anger, we are to remember that He has the final say and will make things right in the end. And He can and will make things right far better than any rash angry lashing out on our part.
The beginning of Coverdale’s Psalm 57 has become particularly meaningful to me in that respect:
Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me, for my soul trusteth in thee;
And under the shadow of thy wings shall be my refuge, until this tyranny be overpast.