Reading in Titus 2 got me thinking about the movie God’s Not Dead yet again. In this case, I thought about anger.
I’ve been taught that anger stems from one of two things:
I’m sorely tempted to add pride to the list. However, there’s a good argument that can be made about injury to the honor, reputation, or respect of a person, making the issue of pride fall within the confines of pain.
God’s Not Dead has three different examples of anger: [SPOILER ALERT]
- Professor Radisson (the obvious example). He’s furious through much of the movie. First miffed at the “brave, young freshman” for daring to take up the gauntlet. Then angry and threatening because the student actually had a good argument for his cause. He even becomes scoffing and demeaning.
But it’s during this section that he reveals his deeper feelings. What looks and feels like hatred (sounds, smells, and tastes like it, too!) is really deep-set pain. Pain that had festered for a life-time. He explained it to Josh, the student, in a rant.
At the age of 12, watching his mother die of cancer, he was willing to promise God anything, but God strangled the life out of his mother. He says something to the affect of: If God will allow that, He’s not worth loving. Then he ends with Shakespeare’s quote: “Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
This is his true issue. The root of his bitterness, hatred, and anger. His pain, his childhood grief spread over the decades of his life were like a sugary glaze that continues to harden as time passes.
- Amy Ryan. She starts out the movie hostile toward Christianity, but with no back-story on her, one can only make up reasons for her contempt. However, at the end of the movie, her issue is clear. Even her body-language spells rage as she marches into the News Boys concert and bursts uninvited on their down time before they go on stage. She asks leading questions insinuating that the singers spout things they don’t really believe. Then she gets snarky about one of them answering her questions with trite comments from ancient scribblings.
Her true issue reveals itself when they describe what God’s Word means to them. How it gives them hope. And one of them asks, “Where does your hope come from?”
She pauses, like she’s stunned by the realization that she has none. She responds, “I’m dying.” At the core of her animosity toward Christians is fear. All of the Christians seem to be at peace. Yet here she is dying and she has no one and nothing.
- Finally, there is Cara, Josh’s girlfriend and the star of last week’s article. (She also has another one coming up!) She gets downright mean with Josh. “My mother was so right about you. I just wish I had listened.”
She’s the type that make it easy to understand how closely love and hate relate to one another. Her anger is also from pain, but it’s the prick of pride that offends her. After all, Josh’s certain poor grade from this teacher will reflect on her. Not to mention that the bad grade will also make it harder for him to get the job that makes the money that she’s anticipating for the lifestyle she desires. She has the next 50 years planned out for them, and his disobedience is threatening that plan.
In Titus 2, he encourages the young church leader to council the different age groups in his church. The older men, the older women, the younger women, and finally, the younger men. But after each explanation, he gives a reason for them to behave well. “So that no one will malign the Word of God.” (vs5) “So that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” (vs8) “So that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.” (vs10)
We will deal with angry people, just like the characters in this movie. While Cara had a personal issue with Josh, the other two were just angry. The target of their anger really had nothing to do with the cause of their anger.
It is the same in real life. Be ready to give an answer, full of grace and long-suffering. (1 Peter 3:15)
Your turn: How did you deal with the last person who got angry at you?