My very special guest today was Dr. Steve McSwain, award-winning author of The Enoch Factor: The Sacred Art of Knowing God. He spoke about how people’s anger against the church has caused many to leave. His observations can also be applied to other areas of life as well, such as reasons why people sever their relationship with family and friends. He spoke about the growing frustration among parishioners for the Church’s failure to accept responsibility for their mistakes. We are all familiar with the scandal plaguing the Church in recent years. When an individual or organization commits an offense, it is vitally important for them to take ownership. People want to know that they fully understand the nature and gravity of the issue for three reasons: one – in order to make amends to those affected. Second – so that the offense will not reoccur. Failure to identify the problem can lead to it repeating itself. And finally – it is human nature to seek justice against those responsible. This holds true in our personal and professional relationships as well.
The other point Steve addressed was dealing with fear. With Americans exposed to a wide array of religions, there is a growing fear in the Church that parishioners will leave what they are unsatisfied with and seek fulfillment elsewhere. Fear is one of the underlying components of anger and can cause one who is insecure to threaten, coerce, bribe or manipulate the other to maintain the status quo. Facing loss and change evoke uncertainty in those who are weak and insecure. Anger becomes a powerful force designed to regain control over the situation or individual.
Powerlessness, the very definition of anger, occurs when people feel as though they have no choice. As Steve pointed out, we always have choice. We may not like the options presented to us but there are always decisions we can make. One can choose to leave an organization they are not happy with or remain, working towards making changes that will benefit them and others.
So, how can one overcome fear? First, accurately identify the source of your fear. This takes awareness and may require the assistance of an outside party. Next, don’t judge yourself saying such things as “You’re just being silly. You shouldn’t be afraid.” Own your feelings. Take a step back and simply observe them. And finally, call upon your faith in God who stands beside you at all times. Having faith does not prevent bad things from occurring. It means God will provide all of the comfort, support, guidance, and assistance we need to survive and thrive in the face of adversity.
Janet Pfeiffer, The Secret Side of Anger
Good points. Lots to think about.