Thursday, January 28, 2016

Anger: A Key Emotion on the Road to Destruction

This week we've been studying Alma 43-63, which is a huge chunk of scripture to try to read in one week, much less to try to stop and digest. One thing that stood out to me was in Alma chapter 48 where Amalickiah is seeking to gain power over the Nephites by inciting the anger of the Lamanites against them. In verse 3 it mentions that he "hardened the hearts...and blinded their minds, and stirred them up to anger.." I thought about how easy it is for us to be stirred up to anger when our hearts are hard and our minds are blinded. In that state of mind we often don't see clearly and make rash judgments. We make poor choices that usually result in hurt feelings, damaged relationships, and spiritual decline. When we act out of anger we leave behind reason, understanding, and charity. We lose sight of the divine within those around us.

We are also far more likely to be swayed by the arguments and "reasoning" of those who are contentious or power hungry. Anger and fear are powerful emotions and are likely to be used by those who seek to control us. Just like Satan does. Satan uses manipulation, flattery, and lies to deceive us and to persuade us to give in to emotions that will end up causing pain to ourselves or those around us.

If we stop and compare Amalickiah with Moroni we see striking differences. Amalickiah was proud, power hungry, manipulative, cunning, and filled with hatred. He worked diligently to bring others into subjection to him, and thought nothing of killing those who got in his way. Moroni, on the other hand, was humble, understanding, faithful, and committed to liberty and freedom. He did everything in his power to preserve lives and freedom. Moroni could have easily given in and acted out of anger, but at every opportunity he chose to be firm and fight if needed, but with obvious reluctance. I think of how much integrity and self control it would take for a man to be able to stand up against a deadly enemy and not respond with anger and hatred.

The end result of Amalickiah and his shared anger was death and destruction. No good came from his followers giving in to his fiery rhetoric or his persuasive reasoning against the Nephites. There were no great advances during his brief reign, no opportunities for his people to develop art, intellect, or scientific discoveries. By giving in to their anger, they gave up the chance to advance their civilization and created a period of suffering and mourning instead. Anger is a waste. It's a waste of time, energy, and potential.

Sadly, the world we live in today is overflowing with anger. People get angry about politics, religion, opinions, rights, entitlements, differences, and perceived threats. We've got more than enough men who give in to their anger and lead with loud voices as they incite others to join in their anger, and not nearly enough who show their strength and power through their integrity, humility, and sound reasoning. It makes me long for a leader like Moroni to come and save the day.

1 comment:

Stephanie Turner said...

Amen, Sista!

I'm guilty (except for the seeking power part; I couldn't care less about that). However, one of my weaknesses is reacting with anger. I will make no excuses and I am working on it. Even when I feel a lot of anger (and vent it far to often to people closest to me), I do try not to react in anger. I especially don't like to make important decisions when feeling anger. What I find interesting about my anger, though, is that I get most angry about unfairness...and usually in defense of "the underdog", for example, my students. I can't claim that it is "righteous indignation", but I am trying to learn the difference between righteous and unrighteous anger. I was raised (ironically, lol) to believe that if I was angry, I was sinning. I'm still working on this, both parts. First, recognizing the difference. And second, reacting less-swiftly with anger. Thanks for the insight.