Hate and anger are such easy responses. Everywhere you look, someone is mad or bitter about something. Or, about everything. Politics seems to do this to us more than anything, whether it's official government politics or something smaller like the politics of relationship. Things don't go our way or we disagree with decisions that are being made or grievous errors occur, and we're mad.
But what if we weren't?
All our hate, all our anger - what has it ever gotten us? More hate and more anger. Is it rewarding to spend your life mad at the world? Has it ever solved any of your problems?
Here's why we love our anger so much: it feels like something. As I said earlier this week, in response to the broken things in our world, we want to feel like we're doing something. Anger feels like something. We are 'doing' outrage. We're raising our voices. We're making a stink. (And boy, does it stink!) We're shouting until we drown out the screams of the world like a woman in labor.
What we've lost in our world is our ability to be broken over it. When you look at this world and find it troubling, anger is one reaction. Hate is another. But broken-heartedness...that's where you ought to be.
Anger feels like something; hate, like something more. But neither is really anything. Grief, however....grief is something real. And that's what happens when you're broken-hearted.
Grief acknowledges this is not the way things were meant to be. It says that something is wrong here. But unlike anger, unlike hate, which pass the buck and look to place blame and cause divisions between people, grief embraces the broken in the world. It wraps its arms around the fallen and mourns. Grief doesn't tear the world apart; it tears its own clothes. It doesn't heap burning coals on the fire; it pours ashes on its head. Grief doesn't scream; it wails. It doesn't fume; it weeps.
Grief is what happens when you hold the world up to God's standard but feel no need to fight His battles. Isn't that what anger is? Fighting God's battles? We're mad because somebody broke the rules. We hate because somebody wrecked our tiny little bubble. We want to hold this world accountable for its brokenness but that's not our place. That's why anger doesn't get us anywhere. But grief...grief holds us accountable to the world's brokenness. It knows how far we have fallen, and it's deeply troubled by what it sees. And grief understands this fallenness not as an act of man, but as an act of men. It's all of us. We are broken people in a broken world, and we cannot help but weep because this is not how it was intended to be.
Our grief is surrender. It's a recognition that even though this is not how things were meant to be, there's nothing we can do about it. Only God can restore a broken world. Only God can set things right. Because what grief understands is that at the heart of every broken thing in this world is a depraved heart, and we, as fallen men, have no answer for our own depravity. We never have.
It's not easy. This world...it's a mad, mad, mad, mad world. It's so easy to get angry with it. It's so easy to hate it. But what has all our hate gotten us? Nothing.
The broken-hearted, though, at least have this to hold onto: that God draws near to them (Psalm 34). And isn't that what a broken world needs?
When you're tempted to be angry, ache instead. When you want to hate, embrace hurt. When you're tempted to scream, wail. When you're ready to fight, mourn. And let God draw near.