Friday, August 24, 2007

"Be angry . . ."

Nice people don’t get angry, right? Isn’t that in the Bible somewhere? No, it’s not. Although the Bible is full of warnings about how dangerous anger can be, it's clear that anger itself is not a sin. For one thing, God himself is sometimes angry. And Paul tells the Ephesians, “Be angry, but don’t sin. Don’t let the sun set on your anger” (Eph. 4:26). Paul is probably quoting Psalms 4:4, where David talks about being angry enough to tremble.

In fact, there are times we very well ought to be angry—and not just for wrongs done to others. There’s nothing wrong sometimes with being angry for what people do to us. The trick, of course, is learning how not to sin when we are.

A truly biblical view on anger helps us be obedient to God without struggling to hide or deny the very emotions given to us by God. God gave us anger for a reason. For Christians, our job is learning how to use it wisely.

(c) Copyright 2007, A. Milton Stanley


Brian Littlefield said...

Good post, Milton. I don't know if you've encountered this, but I've met many people who give me strange glances when I'm angry about something (usually indignance about something that's just not right). I think that society is pretty far down the road toward classifying anger as some kind psychosis (which will be closely followed by drug companies attempting to market an anti-anger medication), rather than admit that it is a suitable response to injustice or unrighteousness - even our own! But then I know many, many people now who basically think there is no such thing as "wrong", but only differences of opinion. That is, unless it doesn't fit in with their agenda, and then it's definitely "wrong".

Milton Stanley said...

Well said, Brian. I think you're exactly right that the aversion to anger goes beyond the church to society at large. I suspect that our over-medicated culture is already part of the problem whereby everyone is expected to be "smiling, happy people feeling fine." But to paraphrase Brueggemann, a people who don't know righteous anger are a people who don't know justice.