Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Anger (Fallen Son)

The second step of the Kübler-Ross model is anger. This comic begins with the New Avengers (These are the Avengers who were against the registration act; they were on Cap's side of the Civil War) also meeting behind locked doors like the disciples (the heroes are hiding in secret, behind disguised doors ... John 20:19). The New Avengers (Thing, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Spider-Woman, Spider-Man, and Wolverine) attempt to play poker while the Mighty Avengers (Ms. Marvel, Ares, Wasp, Wonder Man, Black Widow, ...) try to take down Tiger Shark and his mind-controlled sea-monster army. Both teams end up taking their anger out on each other. Spider-Man lunges at Wolverine and Ms. Marvel almost slaughters Tiger Shark.

Even though they should be focused on the task-at-hand, both teams have bottled up aggression in the loss of Cap' (a hero to both sides). This causes problems. There should be peace in a meeting of superheroes (the New Avengers), not anger. Tiger Shark probably would have been killed by Ms. Marvel if Namor hadn't shown up to take him away. "Pressing anger produces strife." Proverbs 30:33.

In this same way, we become angry. When we can't do what we want to do or feel the need to do (like Paul in Romans 7:19: "I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.") we may become aggressive. We may be mad that we can't complete God's law (I used this as an example in chapel Instead of trying to solve the problem or come to terms, rage fills our mind. We look for someone to blame. We blame our friends, we blame our family, and we blame God. Most of the time, we forget to blame ourselves.

One of the new sayings in my room is "You know what all of your main problems have in common? All of your main problems have this one thing in common... It's you." A lot of the time we don't realize that the best way to "solve" a problem may be to change our perspective on it. Peter rebukes Jesus in Mark 8 because he does not understand that what Jesus says must be true. The Son of Man must die. If Peter could have known the whole story he may not have attempted to rebuke God.

Upon Jesus' arrest, before thinking, Peter draws his sword and cuts off a soldiers ear (John 18:10). Even though he is not a son of thunder (like James and John), his personality makes him lash out. Anger is a defense mechanism. When we don't understand what's going on, we may not know the whole situation or even comprehend our own feelings about it, we lash out in anger.

Even though we may feel enraged, James 1:19-20 encourages us to be slow to anger: "Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." Without God's peace and a cool head, self-control (a key teaching in Christianity) is difficult to grasp. How can you help others when this emotion is overpowering yourself? "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?" Matthew 7:3.

We should remember that Jesus is the completion of the law (Romans 10:4). Even though we may be looking for people to blame, Christ took care of what we had always lacked. It is not as if we no longer need to try to keep the law (as it still serves as a curb, mirror, and guide), but we no longer need to be enraged at our own shortcomings. We can live in the peace of his resurrection and know him as our guide and Lord. Instead of merely coming to terms with his death, it can bring us hope as we know that in His death he has defeated all Death. In truth he lives and grants salvation to those who believe in him.

It's also good to note that there is even a passage in the Bible entitled "Anger." Matthew 5:21-26 discusses anger with your brothers and sisters in God's family. It teaches us not to feed off of the anger or abuse it, but to reconcile and seek forgiveness.

What should we do with this anger then? We can use it as a driving force (like Atrocitus in the DC universe). Instead of fueling the emotion, we can use the emotion as fuel. We can burning off adrenaline in righteous work instead of anger; redirect its effect. But, we need to remember not to go overboard like these heroes were pretty close to doing.

To be continued...

Make sure to check in next time
as we discuss the third stage of grief "Bargaining:"

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