Angst fills our conversation. Anger erupts. Violence spills into interactions. This is America. This is the United States.
Psalm 25:3 No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause
The anger of our youth seems unquenchable. Some of that anger is in our twenty somethings. Some of that anger from our youth is in our fifty and sixty somethings. Both angers are dangerous.
Across media there is a call to have a conversation. Can we have conversation in the context of anger? Is anger really a problem or is anger simply a symptom?
In our classes at CTI, anger comes up frequently. “How do I control it?” “How do I avoid it?” “Why do the situations exist that provoke it?” Anger rules our nation more than laws. People will submit to anger’s control faster than they will put down their phones while driving. Anger is a master. Anger has a definition. Anger is unresolved hurt. Heal the hurt and the anger subsides. Anger is a symptom, not a problem.
Two incidents point to the seething pot of pain on which we stand in our America.
The ugly murders in South Carolina by one who publicly declared the intent of his actions to cause a race war are followed by a quieter incident in the social media of Oklahoma.
Racism, prejudice, bigotry, isolationism, anger, pain, violence and finger pointing sear the national soul. We are preparing for war against ourselves. 41% of our youth will be arrested for a non-traffic crime by age 23. Anger breaks laws. Domestic violence is the crime of young men in their twenties and thirties. Men attacking their loves out of uncontrolled angst exhibited in anger. Anger needs an outlet. We have quadrupled the prison population in our nation since 1980 exceeding any other nation in percentages of incarceration. No other nation comes close. We are a nation of violent unrest.
What about South Carolina? The story unfolds. A young man chose to hate. He chose to fill himself with stories of hate. He isolated himself in hate. Then he acted. He was treacherous without cause. That path is full of war. Many are following his path. We scream, “Foul”, choose to hate, fill ourselves with stories of hate, isolate behind cultural walls, and then we will act. We are preparing ourselves for war and treachery without cause. There is another path. Racism and isolationism are a path of treachery without cause.
What about Oklahoma? A well liked sports figure died in a traffic accident. A man with a Hispanic surname is charged with an illegal u-turn which seems to be a primary cause of the accident. Social media erupted with hateful voices decrying the fact that “illegals” are being licensed to drive, causing insurance rates to go up, making our streets like the streets of Mexico. All because this man is brown skinned and has an Hispanic surname. Do we not have a standard of innocent until proven guilty? We scream, “Foul”, choose to hate, fill ourselves with stories of hate, isolate behind cultural walls, and then we will act. Anger is a master. Racism and isolationism are a path of treachery without cause.
“I just want to be heard.” Last night I was teaching on emotional needs. One of those is the need to be heard, to have someone listen. Whether I am with couples or singles or teaching relational Life Skills or Communication or Parenting, this session is always painful. Our fatherless society has birthed an orphan heart that yearns to be heard. It is the angry heart of a child seeking affirmation and acknowledgement from some authority somewhere. And it will erupt in violence to be heard. It will isolate, choose to hate, fill itself with stories of hate, and act in some emotional, social, physical, or relational violence.
Sunday was Father’s Day. The Father from which every family gets its name is available to listen. The Psalmist gave a solution. “No one who hopes in you will be put to shame (from the rule of anger’s outbursts) but shame will come on those treacherous with cause (because they will act in anger). The parenthetical portions are mine. The Father listens. We can be heard. If THE Our Father can listen so can our fathers.
A heart of a father listens. Unless he is not home. Unless he is strained under our national desire to overwork our employees. Our average work week is 47-49 hours. READ. Unless he never took initial responsibility. Huge numbers of our children are born into never married situations. “In fact, four in ten births in the U.S. continue to occur to unmarried women—and more than half of all births to women under 30 are to unmarried women. To best support children and their families, efforts should be made to support stable relationships for a variety of family types.” – See more. I call them the “never-a-dads” and they will be angry, there will be blood. Unless he walked away. This father absence removes a layer of protection for children in development. (Impact of violence children see on their development.)
As a nation, we need to go home. The pain of generations of home abortion is deep and erupting. Laws will not stop violence bred of anger bred of personal pain in the home. Taking down flags while putting up emotional barriers will not stop violence bred of anger of personal pain in the homes. It is not so much the pain of one home to one person as much as the national pain of many homes flooding our streets. Finger pointing and isolationist grouping will certainly not stop violence but breed treachery without cause.
The pain needs to be heard and processed in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our cities, in our states, in our nation. Yes, a conversation would be good. But it must be more than a conversation. It must result in effective return to parented homes. Fractured families need healed. Our communities need to build around supporting homes not dividing them. Then, we might make progress to a kinder and gentler nation.
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