“Am I right to feel afraid?” I ask myself this question sometimes. Often the automatic physiological fear-responses of my body—adrenaline, heightened senses, sweat, increased heart rate—are out of sync with the real danger. Overreacting is the greater danger. So I calm myself, as gently as I’m able.
Other times, I ask myself, “Am I right to feel angry?”
These questions refocus me on reality and morality. What are the facts? Do I have a moral claim to my fear or anger?
The cross warns: humans do great evil when we bless our fear and anger and do violence in the name of peace or the law or God almighty. We may “save” our lives or even “gain” the whole world but we lose our very souls. Thank God, Jesus came to seek and save the lost.
Attending to fear and anger can, in all truth, help us sort our soul from our idolatries. But that takes care, prayer, and a healthy suspicion of what our feelings seem to tell us.
Practically speaking, we need conversation partners who give us grace without stroking our egos. What a blessing these people are! Blessed are we when we heed them!
Saint Paul Lutheran Church
715 South Third Street
Clinton, IA 52732
(at the foot of the south bridge)