Doing good in an age of anger
Polarizing. Divided. Uncertain. Angry.
I’m sure you’ve heard these words used sometime recently to describe the current atmosphere. It seems like now, more than ever, people are ready to jump into a heated argument with each other over the latest divisive issue.
The news cycle seems to rotate between natural disasters, mass shootings, and political leaders behaving badly. This gives us plenty of opportunities for uncivil arguments- online or in person
It’s fair to call this an age of anxiety and anger. And that’s not to say we shouldn’t feel anxious or angry. There are a lot of things going on in the world that should rightfully make anybody furious.
In this sort of environment, it’s hard to determine what course of action would be best.
There are times where you simply want to keep silent and stay away from controversy, but you remember Desmond Tutu’s saying- how being neutral during injustice is to side with the oppressor.
There are times you want to boldly express righteous anger, but you remember that the person you want to yell at probably thinks he’s doing that same thing. What actually makes you different?
If you feel at a loss sometimes, you definitely aren’t alone.
Times like these can be the breeding ground for strong people.
This moment in history might feel different from anything most of us have lived through, but it certainly isn’t unique in history.
In the 1940’s, the entire world was pretty much at war. Two decades later, the United States also felt like a tense place, with the Civil Rights Movement confronting racism and students taking on the Vietnam War.
Then you have places like South Africa in the 1990’s as it overturned apartheid, or Rwanda as it recovered from genocide.
Those challenging moments in history produced some of the most inspiring individuals over the past century. Martin Luther King. Rosa Parks. Nelson Mandela. Elie Wiesel.
While each of those individuals was born into a difficult situation during a difficult time, they all made decisions that stood out like a bright light in the middle of a dark world.
Living in a divided society isn’t a comfortable experience, but it can become the breeding grounds of a great life. After all, we don’t get to pick the society we’re born into or what world events will take place during our lives. We can only choose how we’ll grow and respond to the world around us.
While I wish our world wasn’t as divided and polarized as it is right now, it just might be our opportunity to build a legacy of making better stories.
Doing good requires a commitment to big beliefs.
It isn’t too hard to imagine future generations asking about what we did during this moment in history.
My hope is that we’ll have good stories to tell, ones where we did the right thing even in the face of threats and negative consequences.
In order for that to happen, we need to be committed to our big beliefs.
Hang on a second- you’re thinking. Isn’t one of the world’s biggest challenges the fact that we’re too dogmatic about our opinions?
Yup. But beliefs are bigger than opinions.
An opinion might guide how you feel about an event or a politician, but a belief guides the choices you make with your life.
An opinion is what you think about the Electoral College, the Democratic Party, or tax reform.
A belief is a commitment to doing small acts of good in your own community.
Beliefs are big picture, spiritual commitments that flow from our way of seeing the world.
Now is a time where it’s especially important to define our big beliefs and to lean into them.
I’ve been working on something that can help.
I’ve taken a lot of notes from people who I think have lived excellent lives in the face of division and conflict, and I’ve turned my observations into a guide. Doing Good in an Age of Anger is an simple but wisdom saturated guide on how to live joyfully while pursuing justice at a difficult time.
The insights I’ve collected are too valuable to not spread as far as possible, so I’ve made it completely free. To get the guide, just follow the button below. And keep doing good.