Monday, October 17, 2011


Anger - Deal With It

david Maxwell @ Thoughtful Christian writes of an incident he witnessed:
A pickup truck stopped next to a SUV at a stoplight last week. A man got out of the truck, walked around to the SUV woman driver’s window, stooped down and picked up the still lit cigarette butt the young woman had just flicked out of the window. He said not a word but glared at the woman and got back in his truck.
He then tries to figure out if the guy is acting out of anger or patience, setting them up as opposites.
Pickup truck man could ha been practicing either anger or patience. I do not know his heart. If he stops to correct every person he sees being rude I would assume he has an anger issue, even if it does help people stop bad behavior. He did not stop traffic or flick the butt back at the woman thereby escalating the situation.

I have known both angry and patient people who work tirelessly for issues of justice. Some would say the important thing is their action. Others would say what is most important is their motivation. I bet it is both.
I see his point there, but he makes a fatal flaw in his argurement. Consider:
One of the seven deadly sins is wrath, or anger. Its corresponding Christian virtue is patience.
When I first read that, the first thought that ran through my mind was that there is a distinction between wrath and anger. I turned to the dictionary and found little such distinction. But then I thought about it for a while and it occurred to me that in this narcissistic age, people would lose the distinction.

Anger can be righteous - or else God could not experience it. (Consider Deut. 9:20) If God can be angry,then clearly anger is not sinful. Wrath on the other hand has an element of vengeance involved and that is something God reserves exclusively for Himself. (Deut. 32:35) Wrath how we feel - anger is about justice, and we are to be instruments of God's justice.

Which brings to the point I think Mr. Maxwell should be making. Before we act in anger, we MUST make sure we have examined ourselves and are without vengeance in our hearts - for only then can we be sure we are acting in God's name.

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