I just read an inspiring article at American Thinker.com, here:
“Anger is among the first emotions in life. A newborn baby, eyes still swollen and shut, asserts: I exist, I feel, if you hurt me (or not), you’ll hear my anger. Anger provides vital energy for protection and survival. It is the emotional state induced by the life-sustaining impulse to protect, to defend against or attack a perceived threat. Healthy anger is hardwired into the nervous system as a reaction to pain and suffering. Righteous anger is the highest form of healthy anger. It is the beneficial force for good that forms in the self-respecting hearts of principled people who have been lied to and who are suffering because of it. Righteous anger forms under conditions of oppression when moral, legal, or personal contracts are broken. It is the force that impels, sustains, and advances political freedom. In the fullness of time, it is the righteousness of anger that determines if it is creative or destructive.”
While this article is primarily dealing with anger as a motivator to action in the political arena…I am taking solace in the more personal applicability of using anger in a healthy response to injustice and abuse…at least in trying to find an avenue to channel the (understandable, at least to me) fury that still seethes just beneath the surface following the brutality and ineffectiveness of our recent foray into protecting our disabled son’s rights via a Special Education Due Process Hearing Request…
Josiah is by nature a warrior at heart. He is a True Survivor and has Overcome many battles both medically and interpersonally. Sometimes his passion can exceed his common sense and it is at those times of increased intensity that I often encourage him to do the bulk of his warfare on his knees. His prayers are truly effective and focusing his effort on the spiritual battle is the way that we are most likely to see the walls come down.
In recent days when both my son and I have been so upset, and even enraged, by what has (or has not) happened in the legal arena it has been necessary to remind us both of what scripture says about anger.
Ephesians 4:26-27 New International Version (NIV)
26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.
New International Version (NIV)
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The above quote is from here:
In my conversations with my son I’ve been referring to the scriptural principle without actually looking up the passage in context. I’ve been focusing on the “be angry and sin not” version from the King James of my childhood, and did not realize the passage was followed closely by the “don’t let the sun go down on your wrath” passage. That had always seemed a good practice in relationships, to not go to bed angry (especially with people you live with), but clearly the scripture provides no such relational limitation.
This is going to require me to rethink my approach to action going forward, in relation to the “special education case” that remains entirely unresolved currently. I’ve been so upset with the trajectory of what happened that I haven’t yet been able to formulate a comprehensive course of action for moving forward toward some degree of resolution. Also the intensity of the anger and disappointment has been such that calling or writing or meeting with people to discuss and strategize over this situation has needed to remain on the back burner for a while. Now it appears, based on this scripture, that allowing the anger to unaddressed/unresolved could create a danger point in one’s soul.
Focusing on the injustice can seem an easy formula for getting caught up in bitterness in addition to disappointment and deep soulful hurts. This is a hard place to be. Moving forward in some type of action that can at least theoretically be effective for something as complex as our “case” is no simple straightforward task. It requires reasoned regrouping and potentially some degree of research for other avenues of action. As such it is unlikely to be something achieved before the sun goes down. Can it be possible to retain the motivation that the extreme energy of anger provides without getting ensnared in the “devil’s foothold” of sustained rage? How would God want us to address this?
These are matters that for me personally will require some prayer and contemplation. If proceeding on a course of action, acting in “righteous anger”, it would seem counter productive to do so in a manner that manifestly violates scriptural teachings–especially if one espouses a Biblical Worldview, as I try to do, albeit imperfectly!
Perhaps there can be room for some degree of regrouping, such as happened with the prophet of old. Following a tremendous victory he ran off and hid in fear and was so unable to care for his own needs that the Lord sent ministering angels to him for a period of time before he was sufficiently rested and refreshed to be able to continue on his way.
1 Kings 19: 3-9 New International Version (NIV)
3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 5 Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 6 He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
7 The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.9 There he went into a cave and spent the night.
Although this depiction seems more in keeping with being overcome by depression and anxiety it could indirectly apply to anger, I guess, in that I’ve read descriptions of depression as “anger turned inward”. God knows how we are made/wired and certainly understands our weaknesses. If He has given us a standard to live by then He will also give us the ability to live by it, even if it is only by strength that comes through Him.
One part of the above passage that is a great comfort to me is that God acknowledged, via his angel, that “the journey is too much for you” and He directly supplied what was needed to enable Elijah to then be prepared to undertake that significant journey ahead. Although the passage may be somewhat ambiguous it is at least possible that this divinely provided physical sustenance is what enabled him to travel 40 days & 40 nights, as in possibly without any other food during that time. Regardless, God Himself, via his angel, provided just what Elijah needed in order to continue on his important journey. Won’t He do no less for us if we truly seek Him?
Lord, please give us wisdom as to how to proceed with the issues surrounding our “case”. May our words and actions be pleasing to you and in accordance with your will. Would you please make a way, where there seems to be no way, that we may see Josiah’s needs met and our many issues and concerns addressed. Please lead us to the right people, information, scriptures, organizations, and actions to have these complex situations sorted out in a manner that Glorifies You and is also for Josiah’s (and our family’s) greatest good. I ask these things in the Mighty, Matchless, & Glorious Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen