I’ve been really angry this week.
I mean, to the point where I needed to physically destroy something. Thankfully, my husband and I own a fixer upper that needs plenty of demolition.
So on Monday, I dropped the kids off at school and headed straight to Davidson with my hammer and crowbar. Yes, I said hammer and crowbar. That wood paneled office felt my rage, and witnessed a few tears (if I’m being honest it was more than a few tears).
I was so mad, people I cared about were dazed and confused, completely devastated and hurt by the actions of someone we trusted and looked up to.
I knew I couldn’t keep ignoring my anger, dismissing it as if if wasn’t important, but I also knew that I needed to act on my anger in a way that wouldn’t cause me to sin (gossip, place judgment, slander, etc.) So, I tore down walls. And do you know what I discovered? Original brick from 1926. So much better than gossip. Or judgement. Or slander.
Christians hear me: we cannot ignore our righteous anger, or the righteous anger of our neighbors. When our children are angry, we must pay attention, not look to diffuse it or shame them for experiencing it. We must look closely at the anger, asking ourselves, “Does God share this anger? Is He also beating his chest and crying because of the sin before us?” If the answer is “yes,” please don’t run from it, because it will chase you and become something that isn’t honoring to God.
When I think about Jesus, I imagine a quiet, humble man whose words, however few, were so full of meaning that crowds of people flocked just to hear his voice. But what I know about Jesus (“because the Bible tells me so…”) is that there were times that he was angry –
Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2 Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3 Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”
4 Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.
5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus. Mark 3:1-6
or what about the time he overturned tables in the synagogue?
This account makes me feel a whole lot better about needing to bring physical destruction to something this past week.
If Jesus acted on his righteous anger, then so can I.
But here is the catch: when we are angry, we have to be more concerned about how the sin offends God, rather than how the sin offends us.
Lord, please help me to discern whether my anger is righteous or unrighteous, and please continue to allow me to be safe place for others to explore this for themselves.
Abby last summer right after we were stung by yellow jackets. She was (righteously) angry (and had a very sore bottom).