Rational Rage

Can rage be rational? Is it possible for me to react reasonably while filled with anger? Does logic kick in first when I have been assaulted or insulted? Can I have a controlled, calm response?

I don’t think so. My natural response is to fight. The odds can be overwhelmingly against me, but I will summon all of my righteous (self-righteous) indignation and give the offending party a piece of my mind. Since I am not a giant in physical stature, I use my mouth to lay waste to the person or persons causing my distress.

When someone is trying to control me, I will strike back and try to control them. When I try to control someone, I am out of control. When coupled with my distinct dislike, distrust and disrespect of someone, my rage is even more irrational.

I can only imagine how this plays out in the mind of a person who is charged with protecting the property and citizens of a community. This can be a challenge, especially when the ultimate option is the use of force and more to the point, deadly force. There is no rational decision making here. Fear, prejudice and righteous indignation overtake rationale and reason. After all, I have the right and responsibility to do whatever is necessary to bring the offending culprit under my control. Let the others judge my action later, but for now, I must bring this person under my control. It doesn’t matter what the public or personal consequences might be. Rage is the rational response, or so it seems.

And then there is the group response that follows. A people group enraged for what they know to be hundreds of years of oppression and open hostility cannot be expected to act rational in their rage. Any chance at having the upper hand, if even for an hour, a day or a week, is better than just laying down and taking another beating. The enraged are irrational. They will cause self inflicted wounds because they feel powerless to change the perpetrators. It doesn’t matter what the public or personal consequences might be. Their rage is rational, or so it seems.

The truth is, this response in rage is illogical, and yes, irresponsible. Worse yet, this response serves to justify those in power to ‘apply the screws’ even harder.

Those in power fear losing control and again, react irrationally. Their rage is peaked and they will literally call upon heaven and earth to bring things under control. God is on their side. Tell God to ignore the voice of the offended until they take a more reasoned and rational stance. God control their rage. If you don’t, we will.

Fortunately, God does not take sides. He is above picking winners and losers based upon human understanding. God’s choice is always to give grace to the humble. He does not endorse, condone, applaud or accept human rage no matter what the purpose, cause or expected endpoint from human logic. The person who lights the match is just as guilty as the one who provides the explosives, pours on the kerosene and blocks the fire trucks.

The only way to bring about the end to this perpetual cycle is to love. I have to love others more than I love myself. I have to be more willing to suffer than to cause suffering. This is a hard choice for those on the front line charged with keeping order. But for those who delegate the authority to engage the enraged, they must recognize they are under the control of powers greater than themselves and likewise can be used for less than worthy ends.

I have to be more willing to protect from harm than cause harm. This is unreasonable, irrational, not logical, but it is Christlike. There is no logic, no rationale in acting with rage.

James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”

Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, vengeance is mine; I will repay saith the Lord