As I checked my Facebook newsfeed recently, I came across a string of comments reacting to Sen. Mitch McConnell’s position on voter reforms. I don’t know how many people had responded. I stopped counting at 21, not yet near the end of the string.
Some comments were moderate, but the majority expressed anger, outrage, and frustration with McConnell’s attitude and stance, which seemed arrogant and inflammatory and contributed to the already chaotic and divisive atmosphere of politics.
As citizens, we are right to be angry at the divisive words and actions of many of our elected officials and at the corruption that has put them into office. However, as I read the comments, I became increasingly bothered by the fact that very few of the responders offered suggestions for resolving the problems in our government. Anger and outrage, no matter how justifiable, is not enough. If we stop short at only venting our anger, our problems will not be solved.
In fact, anger alone will only aid the spread of more anger and frustration and will feed the chaos that has become a hallmark of our current political system. Then we become part of the problem that has made us angry, to begin with.
Let me suggest redirecting the energy of anger into positive action for change. It may feel like we can do nothing, but that’s not the case. We can contact our legislators, study the records of candidates for office, support efforts at humanitarian approaches to problems and perhaps most importantly — vote. We may not see immediate results, but these actions can make a difference.
We also can take our anger and frustration to prayer for:
- Our legislators that they do what is good for the nation, not just for themselves;
- Those who are hurting because of policies, laws and others’ self-interests;
- Ourselves that we can allow God to teach us how to turn anger, bitterness, outrage, and disillusionment into healing for ourselves and our country.
At first, this may seem to be pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking. But the reality is that the God who walked on water, raised the dead, and multiplied loaves and fishes is more than capable of bringing good out of our self-destructive human actions. And he will if we persevere in asking him.