Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Circle of Anger

Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, For anger resides in the bosom of fools. -Ecclesiastes 7:9

Everything has an opposite and even contains its opposite depending on your perspective. Try this experiment: Point your index finger to make circles to the right in the air as if you were writing them on an imaginary board in front of you. Continue to make those circles but turn your hand so you are writing on the back side of your imaginary board, which will give you the perspective of your circles as would be seen if a person was facing you and you will see that your circles are turning left, the opposite direction. The direction did not change, only your perception of it.

Opposites are more complicated than just hot and cold, especially with emotions. Some say the opposite of love is hate and others say indifference is the opposite of love and hate. Actually, both are true and false. (I do try to warn people that I am complicated.) I believe that everything tends to contain on the flip side or it draws in/attracts its opposite, like the opposing poles of a magnet. So, in one aspect love is the opposing attractor of hate.

One really cannot hate something he did not love, which brings me back to the term "love." We really cannot love something that does not have the capacity to give love. For instance, as much time as I spend on my tech devices and appreciate what I can do with them and really feel lost without them because of my dependency on them, I do not really grieve when one of them "dies." Also, I do not think my tech is being uncooperative because it hates me. I may say I hate or love this or that, but in reality only the beings (people and animals) that stir my heart to grief when they are gone forever are the things I love.

If we look at a bipolar magnet, we see a north pole and a south pole with equal forces, like the earth. Now, let's imagine love being one pole and hate being the other. If we had another love-hate magnet, and placed the love side near the hate side of the other, they would attract. If we place the hate sides together, they would repel as would the love sides. Now the hate sides repelling makes perfect sense, but the love sides? Well, what happens when two men love the same woman? Yeah, that is when you can see that love also attracts hate.

Lesser known is that exactly in the middle of a bipolar magnet about the width of a needle is an area that has no magnetic pull at all. It is called the Bloch Wall. The Bloch Wall in our love-hate magnet is indifference. So while love and hate attract each other, indifference attracts neither. Technically, love and hate are opposites, but neither love or hate has any influence with indifference. So, if we lived in the Bloch Wall of indifference or perfect neutrality, we would neither feel love or hate.

God is not indifferent.

One of the things that intrigues me about the scriptures are the things that is not written. This is one of those things. We have read that God hates sins and He loves us, but there is no place in the Bible that even suggests that God is ever indifferent. God just has never said, " I don't care."

God cares.

God has feelings.

God both loves and hates.

We both love and hate because God made us in His image.

God is not indifferent, so we are also not indifferent.

Therefore, everyone has feelings about everything. Everyone has an opinion. And, our capacity to love something is the same as our capacity to hate it. What makes all the difference is we also have the capacity to choose. We can choose to turn our hand and see the another perspective of the circle.

God did this with us and for us. He brought is Son into the world as one of us to experience our perspective and He provided us with His perspective of His Kingdom through Jesus.

Now, imagine the circular motion itself represents anger and on one side of the motion of anger is love and the other is hate. That makes sense, does it not? You usually become angry with people you love because they did not live up to an expectation (I invite you to read: Changing My Expectations) and about things you hate. Remember that no matter which way you move around or change perspective, the circular motion is still representative of anger.

Yesterday, I was in a store waiting in a check out line watching an older woman in another check out line placing her items on the conveyor belt. It was obvious difficult for her and I thought in that moment that I could leave my place and go help her, but then I saw the man behind her chose to do that. It was a black man helping a white woman. Now, normally I do not "see" color but with all the racial tensions that have been building in my country, I now notice. Was this man angry at white people or this woman angry at black people? I do not know, but in that moment there was kindness without color. It was something that would make God smile. This simple act of a few seconds that went largely unnoticed beyond the two involved certainly made me smile for long after it happened. I actually felt that there is hope because one black man chose to help one white woman. In my little part of Georgia, racial tensions are quite low and I think that is because of the stronghold of Christianity here. Even those who are not Christian are influenced by it.

What if a person chose to actually change the force of the circle itself? There still would be love on one side and hate on the other, but anger would not be the driving force. What would be the driving force between hate and love? Some might say happiness, joy, or even delight, but remember that the potentials for love and hate must still generated in equal capacity.

I think the opposite direction is something more Godly in nature, like blessedness, sanctification, holiness, righteousness, or simply spiritual-mindedness. That now takes away our selfish and self-centered influences on love and hate and moves our hearts to be Spirit-directed. There will still be love and hate, but it will be God centered. What makes so many Christians angry might only be a symptom of our lack of depending on or having faith in God!

So now when I have ongoing anger I ask myself why. Is it because of an expectation I had that is not met? Am I just over tired and irritable? Is something stirring the Spirit within me? Or is it that I made a choice to allow anger be the force of my circle instead of staying spiritually minded? 

My Lord, please forgive me of my anger. Let me not my lack in my dependence on You or faith in You. Let anger not be a force in me but only Your Spirit.

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Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.