It is no new revelation that much of the media works hard to allure consumers and high ratings, by provoking emotionally stimulating responses from its viewers and listeners. More and more today, apparently, the emotion attempted to be evoked is anger.

Many news programs and news talk shows seem to have the hidden message that to be American is to be angry about something. It is easy to unknowingly be caught up in the hype.

Anger is an emotion which arises when we experience something that threatens our well-being and perhaps life itself. The quick burst of energy, the increased blood flow, the tightening of muscles, the sharpness of thought—all in preparation for fight or flight—seem to affirm this. Whether we are falsely accused of something, or a victim of social injustice, experience someone close to us being harmed, or we simply can’t seem to get enough done in the day, the impediment to freely living our lives often solicits the response of anger.

While we can associate anger with life, we can also associate it with death. Anger sometimes hurts others; it lies; it deceives; it can even kill. If we hold on to our anger, hoard it, allow it to fester and brood with no resolution, we surely begin to die emotionally, spiritually, and even physically. As with any emotion, anger must rise and fall in order to flow and move on.

There are many beautiful and wonderful things about life, but we know that this world lacks perfection because of sin. Anger points to and reminds us of the limitations on life. And yet, it can only do this because there is something innate in us that makes us feel it just shouldn’t be that way.

It does not have to be that way. The next time you feel angry or are encouraged to feel angry, don’t forget to ask the big questions; “Why am I angry?” “What can I choose to do about it?”

Because we are created in the image of God, we have the freedom to choose between that which gives life and that which gives death. Let us have our anger lead us to life.

– John Michalczyk, MA, MDiv, LCPC