I have never seen people angrier than they’ve been in 2020. Am I right?! I mean, I’ve seen people mad about masks more than I ever imagined possible. As a healthcare worker, I assumed face masks to be used for the protection of self and others, but this year I learned they’re actually an affront to personal freedom. I can’t believe I’ve been unknowingly under the thumb of tyrannical, hospital administration for twenty years!
I joke, but in all seriousness, have you noticed the tense nature of human interaction at large this year? Barely a quarter into the pandemic, groups began to emerge. People separated by their opinions, but worse, pushed apart by those same disagreements. It no longer became a simple difference of ideas, but rather a battle for who was right.
I could have probably ignored the strong will and raging meme wars if not for the fact that it continued past the stay-at-home orders. The Country began to set-up differing camps based not just on COVID-19 theories, but rather separated on issues of racial equality. A topic that would seem cut and dry (as in, all men are created equal) suddenly became convoluted by matters that shouldn’t. In other words, someone’s ability to be murdered was weighed against their possible, past criminal record. And instead of agreeing that marginalized minorities should be supported, a sadly large number of people argued the idea that injustice even existed. Racism became as much a hoax to some as coronavirus had been deemed, and then the ridiculousness really began.
People began to question the salvation of fellow Christians based on political affiliation. Society began to rate civil issues on a scale. Such as, human trafficking compared to racism, or pedophilia up against civil rights. We suddenly became increasingly concerned over the validity of hospital recording data for patient demise, and the layman became an expert in things like carbon dioxide levels while wearing a facial covering. It was proclaimed that respect for fellow man could not be displayed by resting your weight on a knee, lest it undo your dedication to a Higher Power. We learned Pizza was more than food, when combined with the word Gate, and apparently the Queen of England is into cannibalism. You could question the moral compass of a stranger on Facebook, but not the POTUS. You could ignore the need of those hurting around you, but pounce immediately on anyone with an opinion different from your own. You could rate sin on a scale from overlook-able to definitely burning in hell, and you could be certain that everything going on around you meant the end is near.
I think we can all agree it’s been a year of firsts for us. First time in a pandemic, first time to see things like flags change, or Walmart closing one entire entrance of its store. Mask mandates, racial equality measures enacted, and by far the worst presidential debate in history (although, I’ll admit I’m going off hearsay; couldn’t stomach watching in myself). I could probably make a pretty lengthy list of things that have blown my mind this year, and I’ve even seen some pretty good memes joking about how nothing in 2020 would come as a surprise anymore. But y’all, I am still in awe over the behavior of mankind. I’m still surprised by the attitude of society. In fact, I’m devastated by the anger I’ve seen displayed across the board. It’s mind blowing.
The other day I was praying about the anger. I mean, everyone is on edge (or so it seems). Everyone is mad about something, easily offended, and way too quick to speak in anger. Myself included, I’ll admit. So not only has this been a year of firsts in previously mentioned regards, but also a year of the first time I’ve ever seen so much unbridled rage, division, and disagreement. It’s been terrible. Can we at least agree on that?!
But anyway, as I was praying I felt the Lord speak this to my heart… “They’re afraid.”
It was only two, simple words, but they hit me like a ton of bricks. The truth of the statement rang solidly with my spirit. The thing is, the majority of the time (as in most of the time), anger is simply fear manifested. Anger is fear of loss. And there’s been a lot of warranted fear of loss this year. Fear for our health, fear for our freedom, fear for our lives, fear for our country, and fear for the innocent or mistreated among us. I’m not saying I don’t get it, but I am saying we need to deal with this another way. We cannot allow fear of the unknown to mutate into anger for what’s in front of us. We say that we know this isn’t a battle of flesh and blood we fight, yet that’s exactly who we’re fighting against. We say the real enemy is evil, yet we feel it necessary to give evil our own labels, such as Democrat or Republican. We take our fear of civil unrest and lump it together in a group titled BLM, Antifa, or white supremacy. We try and ease our fears of evil among us by becoming “woke” to the inner secrets of society’s worst. If we can give evil a tangible face we somehow feel a measure of relief. And before you misunderstand, I do believe evil manifests itself in the natural, working through man, but we must remember that the real enemy has already been defeated.
I believe if we could adjust our mindsets to one of a Kingdom nature, we could let go of our fear and loosen the grip our anger has taken. If we can surrender our offense, understanding that God is in control of all things, we can move forward in Kingdom purposes. We can lead people to an eternal perspective rather than bickering over worldly matters that are here today and gone tomorrow. This isn’t easy! It takes daily redoing. Every day we must lay down our flesh, our judgement, and our offense in exchange for God’s truth. We let go of fear, we humble ourselves, and we have faith that the God who began a good work in us (all of us) is going to complete it.
I saw a lot of my friends on Facebook (from all walks of life, opinions, and political affiliations) agree on one thing. They agreed that the presidential debate was horrible. But y’all, those guys gave us exactly what they thought we wanted. They called each other names for all the watching name-callers. They were rude, petty, argumentative, unforgiving, and prideful, just as the majority of our Country has been this year. How can we expect more from our elected leaders than we have supplied ourselves? We are reaping what we sow, but I’m trying to be hopeful that we can turn it around. So, let’s try and agree that the mess we’re in, we are all responsible for, and we can only fix it together. Deal?