I keep seeing so much anger — not just anger “out there” in the world among political rivals and others, but anger in the Church. Christians angry at Christians; Christians deciding that other Christians are not Christian. There is just an insane amount of anger.
Anger is a secondary emotion. The primary emotion is fear. We get angry when we get afraid. It is built into us. It is fight or flight, but we rarely have the option of either fight or flight, so we get angry. Sometimes that anger becomes resentment. But anger is a product of fear. We get angry at that jerk who cuts us off because he could have killed us, and that idea scares us, and we cannot fight or flee, so we sit and stew, and that anger builds and is often directed at something or someone that has nothing to do with why we were afraid to begin with.
The Bible says that the solution to anger is love. Most people declare that faith is the opposite of fear, and that you cannot be afraid if you have faith. I think faith with fear is courage because courage is not the opposite of fear or the lack of fear, but it is having the faith to do what can or must in spite of fear. The Bible says that the opposite of fear is love — love cast out fear.
So the reason why there is so much anger in the Church is because there is so much fear, and the reason why there is so much fear is because there is not enough love — which is ironic since the one who is the Head of the Church says that they (the world) will know we are His disciples because we have love for one another.
So if there is so much anger, and anger is the product of fear, and fear is the opposite of love, and love is how our discipleship is defined, then can we really claim to be His Disciples?
The world has always thought that the love of Christ is absurd, impractical, and downright crazy; the Jews thought that the love of Christ was scandalous. But now it is the Church herself that is offended by the love of Christ. The Church seems to have bought into the construct of the world which declares that the way to overcome anger is by being angrier than your opponent and then trying to conquer him with your overabundance of anger. The Church has bought into the world’s construct that says the way to overcome hate is by hating more and conquering your opponent with your overabundance of hate.
But hate flows from anger the way anger flows from fear and the solution to them all is love. The Church overcomes the hatred in the world by loving; the Church overcomes the anger of the world by loving. And if the world hates more and grows more angry, then the Church must love more — a crazy, scandalous, shocking, absurd love. The same way God loves all of us.