This is a difficult time in our culture, and it has become a dangerous time as well. People are becoming increasingly frustrated, angry, and prone to violence. Be careful how you respond to the emotional responses of people, even on social media. Your well-being may depend on it.
It was a typical night on patrol many years ago. I was a one-man sheriff’s patrol unit working the streets of Cupertino, California. About midnight, I pulled over a car for a traffic violation. The stop was made in a dark and isolated place at the edge of an orchard. As soon as both our vehicles stopped moving, the occupant of the car I pulled over, quickly swung open his door and charged back toward me on a dead run.
On each car stop I ever made, I had my door open before my patrol unit stopped rolling. I was already out of my unit standing by my vehicle when the man began his charge.
As he ran toward me, I drew my nightstick and took a defensive stance, anticipating a physical altercation. As he got close, he stopped and yelled at me, “What are you going to do with that, hit me?” I said, “Yes, unless you back off, NOW!” He finally backed off, and after a few moments trying to explain my reaction to his action, he refused to be reasonable. l issued him a citation along with a word of advice should another officer ever stop him. At no point in my interaction with the man did he see the error of his ways. He drove off as angry as when I first stopped him.
Tempers are short in our culture, and emotions are thin. Some online and in personal conversations are beginning to look and sound a lot like the angry man who charged me on the car stop. If you are one of the angry ones charging every opinion that is different from yours, you might not realize the jeopardy you are creating for yourself and those you love. Dial it back before it gets out of hand. No opposing opinion will ever be changed by unbridled rage.
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry” (James 1:19).