I’ve spent a few years working in the medical field, from emergency medicine to rehabilitation and a doctor’s office. In this time, I’ve met a ton of people and had the chance to see the highest moments of positivity and the darkest times of grief. People often stand at a crossroads. They can overcome and find themselves better than before they arrived.
Or they can drown in their sickness.
Today I listened to an amazing sum of conversations and it hit me.
When did we get so angry?
As a culture we’ve become obsessed with it. Watch daytime talk shows. Listen to the politicians. We love angry people. Pick up a cause and yell about it, in digital or real form, and you’ll find an audience.
As a church, we’ve embraced it. If everyone can be offended, why not us?
There’s a scene in The Godfather, one of my favorite movies (I’m a guy, it is required) where Al Pacino is sitting at his child’s baptism. As he goes through saying the words, the shot cuts to various murders that Pacino’s character has ordered. As he renounces the devil, he kills those who oppose him.
It works because of the contrast and the pull at human nature. Who hasn’t wanted to get back at our enemies, to even the scales, to repay wrongs in prime, Old Testament fashion?
Jesus, the one we all do our best to follow.
The writer Donald Miller posted an excellent article on his blog about Learning to Walk Away. He talks about the story of Jesus and the young rich man. How, when the young man rejects his offer of salvation, Jesus walks away. He didn’t hang out. He didn’t yell, argue, post smart Facebook comments and info-graphics.
He walked away.
Today I made a goal. I would improve someone’s day when we interact. Whether that person was Val, Carter, Aiden, or a patient I’m registering. I would make their day better. It didn’t matter if they were angry, upset, sad, or annoyed. I’d do my best.
It won’t be easy.
Right now society is focused on what following Jesus isn’t. We need to revolutionize and embrace what it is.
Break the addiction of anger. Be less jaded. Open our arms. Love when it is hard. Forgive when it seems impossible. Lay down our lives and pick up our crosses. They’ll know us by our love. Not our offense, our politics, money, donations, organizations, or righteous indignation. They’ll know us by our love.
A love without end, that supports everyone in our community, that acts against the logic of this world. When we pick up our crosses we drop our anger. You can’t hold both.
It is time to choose.