In our current culture, does this anger response still serve a legitimate purpose? YES! There is still danger, but too often our anger becomes misplaced when we raise the level of importance of things beyond what is reasonable. For example, the violence among fans at sporting events or my yelling at the TV when LSU loses to Ole Miss!
There are still social issues and human behaviors that would be better changed (ex: child abuse, discrimination, etc.) and to do so
means having some passion for action. Without our having a response in opposition or in support of alternative beliefs/behaviors, many good causes would go unnoticed/ unaddressed. ANGER serves a purpose and that is it motivates to action to right what one thinks is wrong.
The key for this segment is that there is healthy anger and unhealthy anger – the level of emotional energy adequate to address the
wrong within our legitimate authority vs. the level of emotional energy that motivates a response to the wrong that exceeds our legitimate authority. To illustrate: (1) law enforcement has legitimate authority to enforce the law, but does not have legitimate authority to do it in a way that uses more force than necessary and (2) a parent can discipline their child legitimately, but does not have legitimate authority to
discipline someone else’s child or to discipline their own in a harmful manner. One final example and point: I may not like a particular law or political climate, but my legitimate authority to address it rests within the bounds of our legal system and process for changing laws. If I spend a great deal of emotional energy just being angry, lashing out at others around me, refusing to be happy in any situation, can do nothing but complain about my displeasure, etc., then I am likely to do myself harm (personally, physically and interpersonally) by being unhealthily angry. On the other hand, maybe I use that energy to run for office or speak to groups of people at appointed times in order to influence thinking while being able to manage that emotional energy such that I can appropriately enjoy and engage in other meaningful
We have no business getting angrier than is necessary to do something within our legitimate authority and power about wrongs we perceive. Accepting what we do not have the power to change does not mean that we like it or that we are just giving up. We can be
displeased, disappointed and/or agitated while we seek to find a solution, but govern/ redirect that emotional energy to engage in other areas of life where we find pleasure, satisfaction and/or meaning. We are going to get angry! So, let’s do it constructively!