I owe my readers an apology and some clarification. My last post is in need of expounding – I would blame the whole working-mom-no-sleep thing, but that’s just an excuse. The truth is I’ve got a lot to learn as both a writer and Catholic, and I am blessed to have people in my life to help me grow in both areas.
First of all, the last post was in no way meant to be in support of “gay marriage”, or same-sex union. I hoped to imply that by linking the Church’s teaching on homosexuality, but I was wrong because the links did not specifically address same-sex union. Mea culpa.
Secondly, I did not intend to vilify Christians who are angry about the “gay marriage” debate. Being a therapist, I do my best not to disregard anyone’s feelings, regardless how I feel about the behaviors attached to those feelings. You gotta feel your feels – they can teach you a lot about where you are and where you need to go. So, if you are angry, righteously or otherwise, I respect that and I’m sorry if it seemed otherwise. Mea culpa.
Thirdly, I was vague on an issue that deserves clarity, definition, and precision of language. Mea maxima culpa.
Let’s start over, shall we?
Let me begin by saying that what I’m about to expound on does not refer to righteous or holy anger. That is another topic entirely. The anger I am referring to is the purely physiological feeling of annoyance, displeasure and hostility. This anger is not the kind that Jesus displays towards the people selling goods in the temple – that anger was holy and directed at the sin in others. Holy anger fills us with zeal and passion when God’s goodness and Truth are attacked. Many Christians show this kind of anger when confronted with the real possibility that marriage will be redefined in our country, or when sin causes others to distance themselves from God’s love.
However, this is not the group I mean to address. I am addressing those Christians who become angry at the whole person, who are not filled with holy anger, but an anger that drives them to speak and act in such a way as to demean individuals who are homosexual, bisexual, and/or pro-“gay marriage”. This anger gets out of control and begins to emotionally, spiritually or even physically harm another human being.
Now, anger in and of itself is a legitimate human response to perceived injury and injustice. When something dear to us is threatened, it is natural to react in anger because anger moves us into action to protect what we feel is being threatened. Our adrenaline gets going, our blood starts pumping, our muscles tense up… all of these physiological reactions prepare us to defend or avenge what we hold dear.
But here’s the problem: sometimes when our anger switch is turned on too high, our rational brains turn off. We go into animal mode and we stop thinking compassionately or lovingly. It becomes extremely difficult to think clearly, and it becomes a lot easier to attack.
So, we end up attacking each other, sometimes to the point where we stop caring that we are all human beings worth dignity and respect. We start seeing each other as “enemy”.
And it’s incredibly hard to love your enemy.
My plea is this: acknowledge your anger, but don’t let it cause you to mock, ridicule, scorn, insult or otherwise injure your fellow human beings. When we let our anger move us to behave in these ways, we are no longer acting as the hands and feet of Christ. We hurt and we push away the very people He has called us to love.
We are all human. We all deserve dignity and love, even when we behave in ways that contradict God’s Truth.
If you find yourself filled with anger, holy or not, when addressing the issue of same-sex attraction, find a priest, deacon or spiritual director to talk to about it. They can work with you to address your experience, learn from it, and go out into the world with a loving zeal that does not destroy others, but instead teaches others God’s Truth.
And if you have comments, complaints, concerns or comedic relief to share about this post, please feel free to write me. I’m listening.
The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people. – G.K. Chesterton
A special thanks to my fellow ACNM contributors for your support and assistance with this very sensitive topic. I am humbled and blessed by your knowledge and guidance.