Anger and Our Modern World
As we grow into adulthood our adolescent anger subsides beneath our productive lives, but at some point it could begin to rear its ugly head once again. One day you just lose it — you start yelling at a clerk in a store, something you had never done before. Then you begin yelling at people on the phone (like computer repair people) and your kids begin to wonder why you are always yelling, on the phone or at their mom and them.
Some people get continuously frustrated driving and began to develop anger for people who, for example, drive slowly in the left lane. They would drive by them very closely in the right lane and give them a dirty look and sometimes even slow down in front of them until they moved into the right lane. At night some even turn on their bright headlights from behind until the other car finally changes lanes.
Most of these people already had college or even graduate degrees. None had ever gotten into trouble before the above incidents either as youths or as adults. So why all this anger and detrimental behavior?
What is anger? It can be hurt or frustration at not being able to get one’s way. Psychologists say that when a man is hurt he expresses anger and when a woman gets angry she expresses hurt.
Some people develop different levels of what is called a “Don Quixote Complex.” That is, they think that they can change someone else’s behavior. In reality, the only thing that they can even possibly change is maybe themselves. Some people arrogantly think the world should acquiesce to their needs and desires while others narcissistically believe somewhat similarly, that the world revolves around them.
Divine Principle teaches some very simple lessons. Terms like “love your enemy,” “love your neighbor,” “live for the sake of others,” and “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matt. 7:3)
Living a spiritual life is not an easy task. Actively seeking to repent, to do penance and to take responsibility is not on most people’s most popular things to do list. Likewise for spiritual conditions, seeking ways to get closer to God, through prayer and fasting are not usually listed on the cover of People or US magazine.
Our present day world is quite intense. Doctors say that stress may account for 80% of our modern day illnesses. Attached to their phones and iPods, people no longer acknowledge their fellow man as they walk down the streets of their cities and towns.
When we mistreat our fellow citizens, we lose the cohesiveness of our community. When we think we are better, more important or more deserving than anyone else, Satan allows us to justify this mistreatment of our fellow man.
When we violate or are violated by people we do not naturally love, the old adage “sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never harm me,” is proven totally false. Names hurt, insults hurt, and when people violate us, our hearts are broken.
In the modern “Pilgrim’s Progress” parable entitled The Shack, the author points out that when you are angry, resentful or hate someone, the person most affected is you. Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, in her historic study On Death and Dying, concluded from her interviews that many people dying of cancer had deep-seeded resentments that they could not let go of. Thus, the resentment was literally “eating them up.”
When we go out into the world, we must constantly “put on the armor of God.” We must be vigilant and realize what Satan has up his sleeve. We must look to the example of our True Parents. For no matter how much they were violated, they never accused their violators. Rather, they collected what Stephen Covey called an “emotional bank account” by forgiving their enemy, loving their neighbor and refusing to allow Satan to distract them from their goal by keeping their eyes on the prize — being world peace and one family of man under God.
Two critical questions must be raised here: How did God keep going after the fall and how did he keep going after Jesus’ crucifixion? The Principle states that God was so hurt and angry after the fall that He wished He had never created man. Once again, how similar he felt after his only begotten son, Jesus, died on the cross. Yet the God of an eye for an eye did not destroy the world after Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden. Nor did He wallow in his misery and grief after Jesus’ death. In each case, He immediately began the process of restoration.
Photo of a destroyed ambulance in the Gaza Strip, taken during a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel on August 6, 2014 (credit: Boris Niehaus).
People are afraid; they don’t like people with a different skin color, a different style of dress, different food and different smells; different religion or even different denominations. Most prejudice comes from fear, and as Rogers and Hammerstein wrote in the musical, South Pacific, “You have to be carefully taught to hate and fear.” People’s insecurities allow them to uplift themselves as long as they think they are better than someone else. Thus, we have the slave system that existed in the American South, the caste system in India, Shiites versus Sunnis in the Middle East, Jews in Israel and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. We can go back through time to Vietnam, Korea, World Wars I and II, the Russian Revolution, the Crimean War, the Spanish-American War, the Crusades, and all the religious wars through the historical tribal warfare all the way back to Adam and Eve. When we emerge into 2014, we are faced with Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, the Kurds, Moslem women, Gaza, Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, and Ferguson, Missouri.
The Beatles sang, “Love is all you need.” Jesus said, “Love your neighbor and love your enemy.” Sounds nice, but how do Palestinians and Israelis love each other? How do Sunnis and Shiites love one another? How do Serbs and Croats, and the North and South Sudanese love each other?
A popular psychology today is called “cognitive-behavior psychotherapy.” These psychologists don’t care, like Freud and Jung, about why someone behaves in a certain way — only how to immediately change their behavior. So it no longer matters that your mother treated you a certain way (or on a national level, that your mother or sister was raped by the neighboring tribe). All it now takes is not understanding, but rather that you just change your behavior!
Reverend Moon oftentimes said that when we are struggling, rather than focusing on the point of our struggle, we need to focus on our current level of communication with God. He continued by explaining quite fully that unless we have a 90 degree vertical relationship with God, then everything else in our life will be proportionally off-kilter.♦
Bruce Sutchar (UTS Class of 1985) is Midwest Chairman of the Universal Peace Federation, USA.