We’ve become an angry people.
Reasons for our anger range from frustration over fake news to fear of another terrorist attack; from becoming the victim of some random act of violence to what may well seem like the maddening loss of the American dream.
Anger is a dangerous emotion that affects every area of life; some being more serious than others. It is one thing to be angry enough to turn politicians out of office and another to vent our anger at home, verbally and physically harming those we’re responsible to love and protect.
But how can one get rid of anger?
It is impossible to be angry and thankful simultaneously. And we have many reasons to be thankful.
In his great Psalm of thanksgiving, Psalm 103, King David stressed the importance of thanksgiving, writing “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” He seems to be scolding himself for being so ungrateful when God has given him so many blessings. Can you identify with him?
Never have so many had so much and appreciated it so little.
First century heroes of the faith could praise God even in prison. They could glory even in their infirmities while we even growl in our affluence. Their secret was to be thankful in the most difficult of circumstances, being convinced that God’s love for them was unchanging even when things were tough.
The Pilgrims endured many privations and heartbreaks. Half of their number died during the first winter in their new land. By today’s standards, they had good reasons to be angry, resentful, quarrel among themselves, rebel at their leaders and give up. Instead, they chose to be thankful. This not only enabled them to survive but thrive and their attitude of gratitude gave birth to the first Thanksgiving.
In his first Thanksgiving Proclamation, President George Washington said it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for his benefits, and to humbly implore His protection and favors.
He also chose a day in November, in his words, “to be devoted by the people of the nation to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the Beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country, and for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.”
Neither the Pilgrims nor the President lived to see the blessings we have too long taken for granted.
It’s time to put away our angry complaining and be thankful.