Man angry online

Life

Aug 25, 2017 by Will Maule

We Must Learn To Deal With Our Online Outrage In A More Christ-Like Way

There is a lot to be angry about in the world today, and with technological progression enabling twitter outrage and lengthy Facebook rants, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to venting our rage. Be it the political situation, a personal injustice, a family situation, sometimes we just want to find a focal point for our pent up fury. The problem is, we often allow our emotions to get the better of us and react in an aggressive way. We must learn to deal with our anger in a more Christ-like manner. 

Will Maule

Will Maule is a journalist and editor at HelloChristian.com. He's married to his wife Caroline and has a little baby boy. He loves guitars, tennis, golf, and tea. Will lives in Northern Ireland.

I think anger and fear are inextricably linked. I don't know about you, but when I experience something fear or anxiety-inducing, a reaction of anger is often not too far behind. When I get sick, I get angry because it is restricting me from what I need/want to do. When I see damaging behavior become common place in our society, I get angry, often because I am afraid of the culture my son will grow up in. But really, that mindset is rooted in fear. For me, anger is often a physical response to my mind attempting to wrestle back control of a situation that is out of my hands. 

The problem is, with plenty to be angry about, our social media sphere has become a thriving hub of fear, anxiety, arrogance and no-consequence judgmentalism. I think we should seek to change the narrative on this one. 

But how? Well, first and foremost, we must deal with the root cause of our fears. As Christians, we must seek to give up all control to the God in whom we trust, and let our fears melt away as we seek His peace. I know, the notifications that pop up on your smartphone every morning, dishing out today's horror story of death and destruction don't exactly help. Being slapped in the face with the latest absurdity that has spilled out of Donald Trump's mouth doesn't really encourage us to start the day with peace and silence. But we must find a way to carve out a buffer-zone of spiritual stillness before our emotions get the better of us and our tapping fingers run us into arguments and strife.

"I MUST SPEAK," you say. But really, must you? There are plenty of other voices out there. Start by listening. Listen to the quieter voices; the contemplative, thoughtful responses. Say no to fear-mongering and irresponsible talk. The compulsive need to be heard can now be met instantaneously: a quick tweet, an eye-rolling Facebook post, a snappy reply, these things become the vessels through which we both feed and express our anger (and underlying fear). But it's righteous, right? So it's ok? Well, I wouldn't be so quick to jump in there. 'Righteous anger' too often manifests itself as self-righteousness. 

The Bible talks a lot about fear, and it talks a lot about peace. You'll know John 14:27: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." You'll also be familiar with the instruction not to worry in Matthew 6:34, with the text highlighting that 'each day has enough trouble of its own,' - apt words for our present time! The overwhelming scriptural theme that makes itself known to me is that Jesus Christ alone is the balm to our anger and outrage, and it is to Him we must turn to first when our blood begins to boil. We must stop reaching for our phones and start dwelling on his healing word.

Does this mean you shouldn't speak out against injustice? Absolutely not! But I do believe we must consult Him on all matters, we must be careful with our words, and we must ensure that a dark anger does not creep into our knee-jerk reactions to the latest ill-informed comment, judgment or newsflash.

Actually, no, knee-jerk reactions shouldn't happen at all. There are too many people doing this, and Christians should inoculate themselves against this type of social engagement. Angry reactions stunt dialogue, but kind and peaceful words open the door to reconciliation (did I just make up a proverb?). This is no more apparent than on Twitter, where a character count presses us to push the point home with heavy-handedness. Resist. Speak well. Take your fear and frustration to God, and ask Him for guidance on how to respond well to those who anger you. 


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