Film Recommendation “Five Minutes of Heaven,” and Thoughts on Righteous Indignation vs. Anger
Last night I viewed the film “Five Minutes of Heaven,” a powerful story of mistakes, immaturity and maturation, anger, vengeance, and forgiveness. Developed from the true event of the 1975 killing of Jim Griffin by Alistair Little in Northern Ireland, the story revolves around the fictionalized what-if of the killer meeting the witness (the brother of the deceased who was 11 at the time of the shooting) 33 years later.
The sadness and tragedy of the violent unrest between Catholic and Protestant in Northern Ireland is communicated well through this incident, with its years of affect between those involved becoming the fictional continuation.
I found this well-made film and the fictional story which evolved from that tragedy to be thought provoking and engaging. I recommend it. Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt do a fine job.
The film illustrated well the peril and misery of accepting anger as justified, which in my opinion, always leads to more misery, harm, and sadness.
Again, I highly recommend the film “Five Minutes of heaven,” – it is a most interesting story and character study. (Link to its Amazon page)
On a personal note, I distinguish between righteous indignation (and thus a devotion and commitment to justice or as close to justice as is humanly possible, which at times may never occur in certain human situations) and anger (which is allowing oneself to be controlled by emotionalism). I believe anger is never justified, as it is a feeling from the emotion of fear and leads to serious mistakes of conduct and behavior which though may seem justified at the time, can later in more rational and ethical examination, be seen for the mistake it was. Righteous indignation, on the other hand, is that intense call to action to stop an evil and to in whatever capacity we have to bring light into an area of darkness, to alleviate suffering, to expose what is wrong or corrupt, and to put a stop to it. It does not entail resorting to evil to fight evil because it is based in the strength of love.
Fear brings anger, hatred, and attack and rationalization of attack; love brings a strength to realize that revenge is never the answer regardless of the provocation. In fact, I believe those motivated and inspired from a spiritual basis of love are far more effective at achieving whatever justice is humanly possible than those who succumb to the baser feelings.
Allowing anger within leads us to the wild uncontrolled imaginations of our mind, but allowing love to make our decisions leads us to see what justice (if any) can be found without becoming that which we say we reject. Therein lies the difference between self-defense, for example, and offensive violence…or between stopping a person from harming another again and revenge which seeks to punish rather than halt more evil behavior. Evil does not justify evil.
Neither does relinquishing anger mean one must try to reconcile with the one who has wronged another, it simply means one does not seek to exact punishment, but when needed seeks only to prevent oneself or another from being harmed by the other again.
Resolution within and its inner peace is obtained when one relinquishes the feeling of revenge, which brings me to recommend a previous article I wrote addressing that common question of whether the end ever justifies the means?
In the many issues facing society, a common rationalization for committing wrong, immoral, unjust or unethical acts is that if the greater good is served the relative harm necessary to gain such a supposed good is justified. In essence, people say doing bad can result in good, thus they assert bad becomes good. This has become commonly accepted in politics (as well as within people’s personal and business lives).
Consider issues such as immigration, taxation, abortion, capital punishment, torture, and the use of military force. All present a multitude of possible scenarios and situations in which the use of force is argued or disputed. Must we, then, live our lives in a state of flux, constantly having to analyze each and every situation to determine what is ethical? Are there times when commission of a wrong act is the best choice because the result may be better for the majority? Is morality relative? Can an immoral or unethical act sometimes be the right thing to do if the outcome is deemed favorable?
I believe the final result of an action cannot and must not be the determiner of right or wrong, and I explore this point in my previous blog article “The End Does Not Justify The Means” which I invite you to read.