2016-04-12 by Object of Contempt
This emotional stuff really was confusing from the time I was little. Mom emotionally abused her sons. Recovering from our mistakes wasn’t allowed. Even worse, in many ways, was the invalidation that was pervasive. Our feelings only mattered insofar as it affected her.
Understanding love is supposed to be obvious, right? Even through all that abuse, I thought it was obvious what love is. Some things you just know from your gut,… and then someone or something happens that muddies the picture. You can start to wonder — maybe that thing isn’t actually part of love. Maybe calling a kid stupid is a normal thing for a loving parent to do. Maybe when I’m wrong I should expect absolutely no person to stand with me and help me survive, learn, grow. I was wrong.
It was only recently that I learned that anger is part of love. I knew it before, and I knew it *cognitively*, but I didn’t take notice. It was one of those things others had, but I didn’t merit. It was a very long time before I could even describe what it was again.
As I tried to repair my marriage over the years, and even after I realized that my wife doesn’t love me, I tried to explain love to my wife. Just the basics… nothing too deep. And, I would fail to get through. I ended up searching desperately for help, for support. Some of them were turned against me because they couldn’t handle my crushed spirit. Others were turned against me (and vehemently attacked me verbally) as a result of her character assassination. Others would listen, but get burned out. Most didn’t even listen.
The thing that stuck in the back of my mind as I scrambled for help was hard to define. But I wondered frequently why no one got angry when I told them what had happened. I was still under the assumption that whatever the reason was didn’t matter. “It” isn’t something I have any reason to expect.
What is it? Indignation. Indignation. Indignation. The word I had forgotten. The concept I thought was only for other people. The anger that comes from understanding that basic human dignity has been assaulted and insulted.
And the thing that hurts most isn’t that I couldn’t find anyone among friends, other Christians, pastors, counselors, etc.. The thing that hurts is that my mom, my dad, my wife… none of them could be bothered to show indignation.
The old saying refers to “a face only a mother could love.” Everyone knows a mother’s love is deep and overlooks all kinds of flaws. We all know who someone really loves by who they will fight for. My wife fights for her parents. My mom fights for herself.
I’m indignant, but Christianity thinks that is a sin by and large. Jesus says that if we won’t profess His name before men, then He will not profess our name before the Father. I think this shows Jesus’ indignation at those who don’t truly love. Jesus scourged the temple because His love and zeal brought Him to a place of indignation.
With this tiny amount of energy and motivation I have left in my spirit, I determine to never let my love be immune to indignation. Without indignation, it isn’t really love anymore. My anger may be offensive to every other Christian on earth, but I will not water down love to buy peace. I pray that those who read this will be zealous in their love, and won’t be afraid to display their anger and indignation when the dignity of their loved ones is abused.