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Anger Conquered With Righteousness PDF Print E-mail
Written by H.G. Bishop Youssef   
Friday, 24 August 2007
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Anger Conquered With Righteousness
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"For the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God" (James 1:20).

"Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace" (James 3:18).

Introduction

The question frequently asked, "is anger a sin?" finds its answer in St. Paul's words to the Ephesians "Be angry, and do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your wrath" (Ephesians 4:26). Anger is a complex energy initiated by various attitudes such as impatience, unmet expectations, stress, and the like. It is an inevitable natural reaction to an undesirable situation. St. Paul did not say not to get angry. Rather, he urged us not to sin. Sinning resides in the way anger is expressed and the length of time it is allowed to dwell in the heart. For inappropriate expression of anger will displease God; and by time it will breed other types of undesirable sins. The Holy Bible is full of incidents where the negative emotion of anger had found its way in the heart. These incidents exemplified anger as being one of two types: justifiable and unjustifiable anger. While the former leads to spiritual rewards and kingdom-related fruits; the latter leads to external violence and internal bitterness.

Justifiable Anger

This type of anger referred to as "holy indignation" is represented in many incidents in the Holy Bible. In the Old Testament we read about God's holy indignation for His glory "My glory I will not give to another" (Isaiah 42:8), His Ark of the Covenant "And when they came to Nachon's threshing floor, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his error; and he died there by the ark of God" (2 Samuel 6:6,7), and for His people "So Moses and Aaron came in to Pharaoh and said to him, "Thus says the Lord God of the Hebrews: 'How long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve Me" (Exodus 10:3).

Another example from the Old Testament is Moses' reaction to the Israelites worshipping of the golden calf; "So it was, as soon as he came near the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing. So Moses' anger became hot, and he cast the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain. Then he took the calf which they had made, burned it in the fire, and ground it to powder; and he scattered it on the water and made the children of Israel drink it" (Exodus 32:19,20).

In the New Testament we read about our Lord Jesus Christ's indignation for His Father's house. "Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer,' but you have made it a 'den of thieves'" (Mathew 21:12,13).

Notice the difference between this genuinely induced, sacred, indignation, and the pretentious, ego driven one cited by the high priests and scribes. "But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" they were indignant, and said to Him, "do you hear what these are saying?" And Jesus said to them, "Yes. Have you never read, 'Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise'?" (Mathew 21:15,16).

The difference resides in the motive. In the first incident the motive is purely the love of God which should always be the one driving our actions; for "For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died" (2 Corinthians 5:14). In the second, the motive is obviously dictated by self love.

Unjustifiable Anger

This type of anger, (or rather, tree of anger) usually born from a seed of rejection, has its roots well established in the ego; and its branches bear the fruits of many other iniquities. The first human being to manifest this type of anger is Cain. "The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but He did not accept Cain and his gift. So, Cain became very angry and felt rejected" (Genesis 4:4-5). God, in His goodness and mercy, had advised him to revise his act, pick up the chance of repentance available and the subsequent acceptance by Him. However, instead of listening to God's advice, Cain succumbed to his feelings of anger and self pity which eventually turned into envy of his brother's success. Exactly as, through His foreknowledge, God had warned him, Cain gave in to sin, his anger eventually developed into a thirst for his brother's blood and he ended up killing Abel (Genesis 4:3-7). Another example is Saul's angry hatred for David. David and Saul started out as two very good and close friends. However, jealousy and personal interests turned that beautiful relation into a sad story which extended to mar the relation between the father Saul and his son Jonathan as well (1 Samuel 20:24-34).



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