A facebook friend linked Marina McCoy’s post on “negative emotions.” Her first one has long been a bother for me. I remember many years ago a colleague unjustly (I thought) forced into early retirement. The ugly matter surfaced at a staff meeting that I was responsible for facilitating. I kept waiting for the boss to call the matter as personnel information we didn’t need to discuss, but the whole thing kept twisting in the wind. Including my twisting friend and the rest of us as guilty-feeling bystanders. I went home upset that day.
Was my anger “a healthy initial emotion by which God leads us to pay attention to social injustice”? And I have to check myself when I perceive the injustice directed to me. Thomas Aquinas is a help with this:
To bear with patience wrongs done to oneself is a mark of perfection, but to bear with patience wrongs done to someone else is a mark of imperfection and even of actual sin.
Can I still check myself against this list:
- Anger can be a first moment of awakening that helps us to notice injustice.
- We should not nurse our anger.
- Eventually, anger must transform into love, compassion, and patience, even for those who cause or perpetrate injustice.
The next morning, or for those weaker than others, the following week, have we developed patience, compassion, or even love for the offender? Have I made sure it’s not about me? My gosh, isn’t that a counter to the prevailing culture?