By Nathan Barton
Today, we run into a lot of anger. People are getting angry about every little slight and misunderstanding. At the same time, it seems that misunderstandings, disagreements, and poor treatment of people are getting to be more common.
I see it, literally daily; people I am working with and for, store clerks, people at worship, family friends, and even customers at stores and such. And much of the problem is coming from others – impacting on these people I talk with.
Especially coming from government. And dealing with government. All of us have to deal with government, often daily. Many of us know family and others who work for government. Sometimes we feel like we have to tiptoe around just to try and avoid setting someone off. Especially someone who has (real or potential) power over us – power to harm, at least.
It makes it worse because it wasn’t always this way. And although it has been gradual, the creeping actions – and therefore anger – with (and in) government have often reached intolerable limits.
Let us be honest: anger is natural. And it can (and should be) a healthy emotion. We SHOULD be angry when we are treated unfairly – or see someone else treated that way. We should be angry when we see injustice done, when we see people who are aggressed against: attacked or vilified or forced to do things that make no sense (or even things which might make sense). When we see real crimes committed, especially by those who do so under color of authority. We should not feel guilty about being angry for the right reason.
But the right (and need) to be angry doesn’t mean we have a free card to lash out. We need to understand and deal with our emotions. Not to do so is unhealthy.
Especially when the anger is with government and those in government – in positions of authority or not.
We should not bottle up our anger with government. It does no good to be bitter and resentful. it is bad to be unhappy all the time. We need to express our anger, both to our family and friends, and to those in government positions. And not with a 2×4. We need to be tactful, even kind (as much as possible) even to government agents and officeholders. But we need to make our anger, and the reason for our anger, clear.
We should not use our anger with a government agency or person as an excuse to get irritated at everything and everyone. Even though they could be better performed by the private sector, voluntarily, there are SOME things that government does that are legitimate: fighting fires, maintaining roads, keeping records of land ownership, and dealing with those who attack us individually or as families or communities. And even though they facilitate government abuses, don’t take your anger out on low-level bureaucrats and workers when they are often as resentful and upset about what they are doing as you are. Let them know, but encourage them, too, to resist and rebel against they tyranny that they are a part of.
Don’t lash out against the bureaucrats and political office holders – that is counterproductive. Yelling, name calling, saying mean things about them personally does no good – and a lot of harm. (And you can’t put the nasty stuff back in the chest afterwards.) Be as calm and polite as possible, and address the issue, not attack them personally: even if they deserve it.
We’ll talk in more detail about how to handle our anger with government, daily, in the right way. It can be done, and in a way to protect us from the evil of government, and to protect our family and friends and neighbors. And even to win those in government over to our side.