Why do so many people seem to be so angry or easily angered so much of the time?
Is that a question too big to tackle here? Maybe, but how ready people are to be angry and with such ferocity suggest that we should at least get a start on the subject.
We know from many sources that negative media has a more powerful influence on people than positive (see Jaron Lanier’s book, Ten Reasons for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now and “The Social Problem” on Netflix). There are plenty of negative things going on to report to people as it is. But social media itself has opened to way for even more negativity as people vent their criticisms and disagreements with each other (easy to do online because no one is there to keep you from indulging your passion in words). The other factor that increases anger over media is the “contextlessness” of what we see and hear. We tend to be confronted with images or reports that are intensely negative and in isolation. When people are being quoted, can we know who they are and why they are saying what they say? How many people are dying from Covid? Is the media careful to help us place that number in the context of how many people die every day from other causes? What kind of people died? Were they vulnerable in some way and in what way? How best can we protect those especially vulnerable to Covid while also protecting other needs and concerns, like the need for elderly people to have social interaction and the need for businesses to stay open and workers be able to work?
I suspect that the media is not going to read this post nor change its practices just because it is a good thing to do. So it is up to us all, as citizens of our nation and ambassadors of the kingdom of heaven to add back, kindly and carefully, the context that is essential to our thought. Seeing a child drowning would be a shocking and terrible thing to see. But what if the camera backed up to see the child in a rather small pool surrounded by people who care, one of whom was already jumping in to help? God has surrounded our human nature and our material world with His everlasting kingdom of redemption and life. We can begin by reminding people that God has provided for us, for every need in body and soul – and provides abundantly and wisely. We see this best in the context of His Son’s incarnation, life, ministry, suffering, death, and resurrection!
God does make all things work together for good (Romans 8:28). This momentary light affliction is working for us (2 Corinthians 4:17). We are happy in spite of our circumstances because of what lies ahead (Matthew 5:3ff). We can pour living water on the raging fear in our culture and thus begin to revive peace.