Anger, Suffering and Compassion

By Pastor Pat Siegler

I don’t like to admit it, but I get angry now and again. I know, admitting is the first step, so check that box “complete.” Looking around at people in my life, and in our world I see, hear, and sense anger in many places. Anger at school, church, the grocery line. Anger in families, between countries, races, and at oneself.

After taking some time to step back, look at, consider, and inquire, I have come to believe that behind much of the anger out there is suffering. Suffering due to inequality. Suffering due to oppression. Suffering due to status, sex, sexual orientation. All legitimate suffering, all contributing to anger.

Anger doesn’t have to get to this point. What if before anger, at the time of noticed suffering, compassion were to be shared? The very nature of compassion is to “suffer with.” Suffering with, sharing compassion, doesn’t take the hurt and pain away. It does make it more livable knowing someone is with you so it doesn’t boil to anger and the destruction brings with it.

In a world of suffering that if left untended lead to anger and more suffering we need compassionate hearts. Hearts of compassion that will weather the storms of life, together. Hearts of compassion to “suffer with,” never allowing anyone to go it alone. Compassion can and will dissipate the anger in our world. Live compassionately and quell the anger.

Pat Siegler is the pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Madison, WI, a grace and love centered church where your hand is shaken at least six times when you come. He is also a member of the Christine Center’s committee on Compassion and the Spiritual Deepening Program.

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