The knuckles on my right hand sit slightly out of place from where they should be. This is a result of a choice I made in college: to punch a brick wall rather than a friend and brother for whom I have much love and respect. I was angry, and my anger needed direction. It would have only exacerbated an already tense situation to direct it at my brother, so I chose the wall instead.
Part of my personal journey has been the challenge of learning to express my emotions, not just in a healthy fashion, but even to express any emotion at all at times. As a child I had a pretty short fuse (my mom patched more than one hole in the wall put there by yours truly out of anger, as early as approximately age 6). I never learned to control and release any emotions, only to bottle them up. It was not until the past few years that, with counseling, support from friends and family, and well-nurtured growth of the fruit of the Spirit that I have been able to gain a better grasp on healthy emotional management. As I began to face these emotional challenges, I was easily reminded of the hot-headed kid putting his foot through a wall, or of the rage-fueled college student wanting so badly to hurt someone else. Clearly put, I was afraid to address the anger that I could still feel deep inside, just waiting for the right opportunity to explode.
Even today, there are depths of hurt and pain that I still am sometimes tempted to cause. This frightens me: that is not my heart nor the heart of God inside me.
Anger is ALWAYS my last choice.
I write all as a preface to say this: I am sad.
But I am also very, VERY angry.
The flood of recent current events have challenged my emotions and my control of those emotions.
I have watched from the safety of my middle-class white bubble as the black community wrestles with the reality of instances of police brutality and systemic racism.
While I hope and pray for better in those communities, I do not understand their pain.
I have seen the pain of families of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty by criminals with no regard for life.
While my own family exposed me to the law enforcement community, I do not understand their pain.
I have found myself pouring over the details of the Stanford rape verdict and sentencing.
I am aware of several sexual assault victims whom are now a part of my life, but I do not understand the victim’s pain.
And now this latest pain on my heart: the attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. I have many friends in the LGBTQ community, many of whom have helped raise me, have encouraged me, and have inspired me to the pursuit of who I am today, but today, I do not understand their pain.
Yet while I can never understand the magnitudes of hurt and pain,every day, for each of these and more, I am angry.
Around the world, countless acts of violence and hatred are occurring at a seemingly exponential rate, attempting to drown any and all voices of hope and courage. Shouldn’t this make us angry?
Terrorism is violence.
Rape is violence.
Murder is violence.
Poverty is violence.
The simplest view that anyone on Earth is less than desired to be loved by God, is violence.
I look at all these instances and see a common thread: people acting out of a belief that someone’s life, someone’s dignity, is not worth as much as their own. And this, my friends, is what makes me angry.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12 NIV
My heart hurts for all these things, just as I believe God’s heart hurts for a world full of people that He desperately wants to know that He loves them, He values them, and they were fearfully and wonderfully made.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 NIV
I have to believe that God is working in these things, but let me clearly say these:
God does not want poverty, nor oppression, nor any other kind of violence.
There is NOTHING a woman does to deserve to be seen as anything less than a marvelous creation of God, let alone to be degraded or insulted, and ESPECIALLY never to be sexually assaulted or raped.
And to my LGBTQ friends: God does not want you dead. I personally don’t have a crystal clear answer to reconcile scripture to your life, but I do know this: God wants to love you.
I don’t understand how He is working in all these things, but I believe that He is.
And that, more than anything this world could ever offer, brings me happiness and joy.