Making Sense of Anger - Part A
5 February, 2009
Making Sense of Anger ... Part A
The Advance of Anger
Seduced by overwhelming sentiment, captured by all its emotive drives, she capitulated to the rising and now uncontainable forces within her.
Offence (she perceived) had been given, tempered by (also perceived) previous injustices that legitimised the self-justification of her angry response. Her explosion, vitriol and venom now entirely correct to her mind. With fists clenched and voice at falsetto her abuse and rant had now become the path of unrighteousness.
Totally unobserved by this protagonist, her target recipient shrivelled in fear. The verbal blows were carried with an unusual grace.
Unwittingly, but characteristically, this woman had submitted to (even enjoyed) an aphrodisiac to sin - anger.
Her volcanic tirade spewing super-heated verbal lava on all within earshot. Lava is immensely hot, unforgiving and 'takes no prisoners'. So too the excesses of this eruption.
Without any conscious grasp and deliberate control, righteousness is released (James 1:20) and the rough road of relational destruction embarked upon yet again.
Anger robs a home of righteousness, quietness and confidence in well being, both for the present and the future.
Peaceful dwellings and workplaces become disturbed and distressed in the presence of anger. Personal security is removed for all present. There is no righteousness in the presence of anger's venom. In fact, such venom is an unadulterated evidence to the absence of righteousness and the presence of the evil one.
In the economy that is God's, in the unknowable wisdom that is His, and in His activity without peer, He too sees, hears and responds. Anger He will not leave unattended.
The Attitude of Anger
Anger is controlling. It clearly controls the user and is designed to control the recipient.
In anger, control is lost in the attempt to gain control over another. How foolish it is to think that I gain control by losing control. Anger is usually a doomed attempt at people management without attempted personal management. In the fury of anger, sin is crouching at the door. (Gen 4:6-7)
The Bible speaks of the sin of sorcery/witchcraft (Gal 5:20). Sorcery is the use of the spiritual world to manipulate people in the physical world to one's own ends. Its purpose is that in engaging the spirit world one person may then have control or domination over another. The sin of anger can not be very far from the sin of sorcery as one person seeks to dominate/manipulate or control another by their fear of creating outbursts. Anger is a terrible and loud exercise of self interest, with considerable disregard for the recipient. It is born in rage and not righteousness.
The good Lord has much to say on anger. He knows the damage and sees the carnage that unrestrained expeltives elicit, for considerably longer than it takes to say them.
Seated on the Throne of Grace, He is absolutely and perfectly positioned to 'capture all outbursts' fully aware that another's angry outbursts have created so much more 'mopping up' for Him as well.
Knowingly His Word teaches that anger is cruel and fury overwhelming (Prov 27:14). Any victim could write that too.
Proverbs in fact teaches that it is unwise to rescue an angry man because the rescue will need to be repeated. Anger returns regularly to haunt the angry and hurt those close by. The hot-tempered person is to learn from penalty.
Anger is always very close to the angry person. It resides (lives) in the lap of fools (Eccl 7:4) Correctly understood God disdains man's anger as foolishness. Anger is evidence to the world that the angry person is actually a fool. In fact anger is not found among the wise (Prov 29:8). Anger can not be found among the wise, because it can't bring about the righteousness that God desires. (James 1:20) The wise will always seek righteousness.
In fact anger is to be restrained and turned from (Ps 37:8). It is not to lead to sin or be stored (Ps 4:4, Eph 4:26) Stored anger is anger that is multiplied and can only lead to the ill health of bitterness and resentment and of course ultimately relational breakdown.
Anger in the Temple
There is an illegitimate legitmacy applied to justify human anger from the two gospel episodes recorded of Jesus cleansing the temple. These occassions are brackets to His ministry. They occur at the beginning and the end of His season to serve.
In John 2:13-16 at the beginning of Jesus' ministry He literally 'turns the tables' on the established religious order. This is a physical metaphor to both His person and His passion. Again He repeats the exercise within a week of going to the cross. (Mt 21: 12-16, Mk 11:15-18 & Lk 19:45-47) Both incidents are the same metaphor with the same zeal.
Jesus has come so that correct worship may be established and that God can be truly known (Jn 1:18). No wonder His ministry is bracketed by these temple episodes.
Nowhere in these four New Testament temple cleansing accounts is Jesus described as angry. His zeal is simply for His father's house. Anger speaks of wrath, while zeal speaks of a very focussed fervent mind. These temple encounters are not simply legitimisers to a 'righteous anger' they are in reality the righteous energetic result of Jesus' mission on earth, to bring worship that is correct. (cf John 4:21-24)
Jesus' zeal was righteous, His actions were cathartic. (His actions were not wrathful or vengeful.) This misconstrued 'apparent anger' of Jesus is no Biblical warrant for the release or venting of rage against a another. It is very unlikely with a polluted heart which man does not understand (Jer 17:9) that any angry outbursts could ever match the purity and altruism of Jesus' zeal anyway.
Messianic overturned tables yield no legitimacy to hot tempers, unrestrained outbursts and departing the paths of righteousness.
To justify anger that leads to sin, is to simply sin again.
PART - B ... Anger's Answer