One day I realized that the god I had in my head was not very real .
I had always been taught that anger was wrong. Swearing was even worse. Punching walls was punishable, and screaming was infinitely disapproved. Why? Because good boys never did these things. Because god didn’t want me to do these things. god wanted me to be a good boy.
I obeyed. I wasn’t exactly a choir boy growing up, but I did my share of obeying. I molded into the form expected of me, polite, caring, and generally nice. I was a good boy. Why? Because good boys get rewards. Because I was supposed to. Because god wanted me to. And this worked so well.
But soon my sight was darkened. I realized I was in a world filled with rape, murder, robbery, infidelity, and silence. I met broken people. People who screamed, people who swore, people who punched walls. They did these things because they no longer cared if there was a punishment. They did these things because they had already lost everything, and it seemed like the most reasonable thing to do. I had no idea what to say to these people when I encountered them. I thought of telling them to hush. To the angry man, to show self control. To the bitter man, to rejoice. To the hopeless man, to find faith. To the silent man, to speak. To the man punching the wall, to get a pillow or something. But when I looked into their eyes, I saw a fire that could never be contained by self control. Anguish burns like an eternal fire. I could never say anything. I never knew truth until I knew anger.
Anger began to fill my life. When I saw my middle school classmates torment a boy in a wheelchair. They taunted him until he chased them. He crashed into a pole, twisting his foot into a painful position, and he cried out in agony. Paralyzed, helpless, and tormented, he sat there, crying out for somebody to put his leg back on the brace. A crowd gathered, but no one helped him. They watched him cry, the shame burying his face with tears. The fury that came to me that day was unperceivable. I could not believe that a crowd of his peers stood right next to him, and only watched as he begged for help. I wanted to strike each one of them in the face, scream at them. In a world like this, anger is perhaps the most righteous response. In the years that followed, I found fury. On some days the fury was so bitter I could taste it on my tongue. When I turned on the news, the anger swarmed my mind, and stung my nostrils, like smoke from a pile of burning carcasses.
Did my god feel anger? If my god walked down 9th street at two a.m. and found a woman in a dark alley who had just been ravaged and beaten, what would he feel? What would he say? Because there are times in our world when something must be said, but words must not be used. No. This god I used to know did not exist at 2 a.m. in a dark alley on 9th street. This god I had known was the god of good boys and timid gentlemen. And good boys had nothing to do at 2 a.m. on 9th street.
But the world is as real at 2 in the morning in a dark alleyway as it is on a bright Sunday morning at the steps of a pristine 2 million dollar chapel. And a God who created this real world must be real on both spectrums of reality.
In the bible, I came to read about a God who became flesh. Who became angry at all that was wrong, indignant. Who loved people, a love so tender that it bled at the tip of a spear. This was not the God I had known. The followers of this God were chased and murdered. They lived so true, so passionately, that they became unrecognizable.
But why is it that so few people actually know this God? Especially those who claim to be Christians?
I believe the real God would sit with her, and would weep. In a dark dirty alleyway, He would weep with her, and share her pain. He would taste anger that night, a sentiment that all existence should resound with. He would welcome her tears. She, a woman who was now bitterly biting her lips, wishing she would die, cursing the night sky, and screaming in her soul, was loved as she was, by the God who sat in the dark dirty alleyway. He would not tell her to hush, or to stop cursing. He would not tell her to stop crying and find faith. I think He would show her His scars, and feel how dark the night was with her.
In the face of true emotions, I think all words fall short.
But so many people think that it’s all about the words that we say, the things that we do, and how good we become. They think righteousness is saying “dang” instead of “damn”. That righteousness is listening to happy Christian music and nothing else. No one ever thinks that Righteousness is as simple as sitting down in a dark alley, listening to shattered sobbing and staring at the black sky of despair.
I’ve become a real angry person since I’ve come to know God. I’ve also come to know what it means to love. What it means to not know. I don’t think righteousness can be found without anger.
God doesn’t want us to be “good”. God wants us to know him, and become all that it entails.
I’m far from a good boy now. I’m not a spiritual man. Far from it. I’m just an angry man.
Because in the end, when you see the real thing, and realize how fake our world has become, you can’t help but to feel angry.