The Road to Rage City

by Charles Slack

A world of wrath

road rage

No use denying it: we are living in an age of rage populated by hoards of hateful humans.

There’s so much anger in the world that even reading about it can be disturbing so I’ve tried to filter out my own irritable bits from this article.

The Bible clearly says that, because we have Jesus’ love, the world of wrath does not belong to us.  We may be in it but we are not of it.  Still I must admit I really hated Googling “hatred”.

Thank the Lord that the final result was simply to make me SO grateful for fellowship with loving Christians.

God’s word on anger

Speaking through David, God tells us (Psalm 37:8) to stop being angry and don’t rage.  He also says don’t get hassled because that just leads to bad behaviour.

Jesus says (Matthew 7:13) to always take the straight and narrow path because the wide (popular) road leads to destruction.  He says we can’t get into His Kingdom through the big, popular gate.

But we can’t keep on the right path without help.  We need the Holy Spirit and each other to overcome acrimony in these troubled times!

Angry words and deeds

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 Every day the media confirm that the popular road is a rage road leading toward mayhem and violent death.  There’s so much odium out there! 

It seems there’s more anger by the minute. 

Here’s a sample of bits gleaned from an hour of TV, newspaper and internet news a single day:

Entitlement in angry people

Along with anger goes a perceived prerogative: “I have the right…”  “I’m just looking out for myself.”   And yet when angry, we are less likely to act in our own best interests.  Anger clouds judgment: rage is a serious mistake that leads to other serious mistakes.

    • Over a thousand Australian women suffer domestic violence every day.
    • The principal of the Meekatharra School of the Air allegedly bashes an Education Department auditor in the head with a hammer.
    • A famous female tennis star verbally assaults lineman.
    • The US Right now hates Obama as much as the Left hated Bush.
    • Another teenager stabbed to death for no apparent reason.
    • Seniors commit more felony crimes each year.
    • Terror, terrorism and terrorists.
    • At least one worker per every 150 companies attacked or murdered on the job in recent years.
    • Homicide the leading cause of death for women at work.

Anger authority

A good friend of mine is employed by the city of Perth as a parking inspector.  He says he gets insulted or verbally assaulted at least once per working day.  I say this qualifies him as an expert on reactive hostility.  People curse, threaten and name-call inspectors to make them issue fewer tickets or take back those already issued.

But the constant abuse, says my friend, actually has the opposite effect.  It makes gung-ho fanatics out of inspectors who eventually detest the public and seek revenge by ticketing every car remotely eligible.  Zealously working overtime, they speed-walk from car to car and chalk-mark every tyre just to rack up as many fines as possible.  Not all inspectors react this way but many do.  Clearly an increasingly hostile public results in more and more tickets being issued.

No matter how a car-owner rants and rages, a parking ticket is never retrieved.  It goes instantly, wirelessly and irreversibly into a central register.  Or so the inspectors always say!  However, because he’s my friend, and because I have been nice to him over the years and am sincerely interested, actually fascinated, by the vicissitude of his professional life, I have learned something carefully withheld from the angry general public.  A ticket can in theory be rescinded.  This option, never actualised in practice, exists only in principal – but it does exist (maybe as a safety-net to insure indemnity from public liability).

So! …although there is currently almost no possibility of ever getting our tickets off the hook, if inspectors had absolutely no cause to hate and fear us, things could change.  In any case, rage is a waste of effort and a bad long-range strategy.  Conclusion: it wouldn’t hurt to be nice to parking inspectors – and, who knows, it might help.

Historical roots in loneliness

During the previous century people began to suffer from isolation. In 1966 The Beatles sang the definitive pop-tune “All the lonely people/Where do they all come from?  All the lonely people/ Where do they all belong?”

Then, at the turn of the century, information-technology began to connect people everywhere by FAX, computer, cell phone, iPod, and countless other devices with interactive text, voice, graphics, photo, graphics, music, animation, games, and video – every form of communication short of the telepathic.  The populous hooked up with each other but did not connect to God – so insanity did not decrease.  Crime and mental illness continued to rise.

The road to rage city

Marx had called it “alienation” and blamed capitalism.  But the communication revolution created more billionaire capitalists than ever before.  Information-technology also precipitated the failure of communism and the greatest corporate boom and bust since the nineteen thirties.

Ultimate consequence: the end of modern-style loneliness and the beginning of post-modern-style rage and depression.  Now the lonely communicators soon discover the selfish sins of their communicatees.  Looking for love they find unforgivable deception and betrayal.  Trapped in relationships with no escape, they criticise and bully.  In the finish they defile, harass, stalk and inflict harm.  Murder is not uncommon.  Often their offences, influenced by drugs, cannot be deciphered: angry at X, they attack Y.  Reasoning is unclear and threats are oxymoronic: if I can’t have custody of the children, I’ll just do more drugs.  Give me some respect or I’ll get my face tattooed.  If you keep hurting me, I’ll slash my wrists.  Don’t call me a terrorist or I’ll kill your whole family.

Larceny and loony-tunes

We live in this drug-fuelled era of dopey disputation, crazy crime, meaningless mayhem, vicarious violence, ludicrous litigation, and a host of new offences like “spiritual abuse” and “verbal harassment”.  Nobody in the world is immune: anger-management treatment doesn’t eliminate anger; it just tries to manage the inevitable.  Wrath “radiates” exponentially because every angry person causes a number of others to get angry.

Violence is all the rage

We can not naturally adapt to the situation.  Our emotions will not evolve or adjust to it.  Of course language keeps evolving.  “Rage” was once a word meaning “uncontrolled fury”.  Now it merely describes how one feels driving a car in heavy traffic, listening to the latest pop tunes, having a night out with friends.  The media tell us to “rage” regularly, otherwise we’ll get bored.

Jesus is the final answer

No matter how hard you try, resistance is impossible without the love of Jesus.  You may be naturally guileless yourself.  So what: the constant antagonism of others will eventually break down all natural resistance.  In fact, if you try to go it alone and control your irritation at angry people, repressing your resentment will ultimately make you despondent and depressed.  Eventually this can escalate into mental illness.

But not with the mind of Christ!  Not when He strengthens you!  (Philippians 4:13)  By His grace we are in a world full of hate but not “of” it.  We need not react.  Through God’s love we can be joyful.  What we’ve got in Jesus is miraculous.  We are saved from insanity, free from depression, oppression, repression or suppression.  (1 John 4:4)  We are blessed beyond belief.

Postscript

Even thinking about all the anger in the world, let alone writing about it, can get me down.  So I pray.   I also need to share my feelings with someone.  I go to the early service.  I drive slowly.  Before I’m half-way there I feel better: God is in His heaven.  When greeted at the door, I smile.  When Praise begins I shine with Jesus’ love.  There’s not an angry bone in my body – or anywhere else in the body of Christ.

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Charles Slack

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