Today’s message at my church was about anger, and it really hit home with me. Now, I know what a lot of you may or may not be thinking; “You’re one of the most non-angry people I know. How the heck could a message on anger hit home with you?” Initially, when I walked in and saw what the topic was going to be, I was in the same boat. My pride and self-righteousness let me believe that this would just be another sermon that I could just pretend to listen to because when it comes to anger, I’m about as good as they come. I hardly ever get angry.
And that’s the point.
I don’t get angry, and that’s a problem. Oftentimes passivity and silence can be just as destructive as harsh confrontation and volatile aggression, if not more destructive. Passiveness is often, but not always, rooted in selfishness. It says, “I care more about being liked and not ruffling any feathers than I do about someone else growing and becoming a better version of themselves. I care more about being liked than I do about seeing justice prevail.” People, myself included, often say that they care about this and that they care about that, yet they—we—do nothing. If we say we care about something but don’t actually do anything about it, then it’s just an empty and fleeting opinion. Anger can be a catalyst toward change, and it’s only when we truly become angry about something we care about that we are moved to action in order to bring that change.
“Be the change you want to see in this world.” –Gandhi
So, with all this talk about anger, some may be wondering, “Should I just go around getting angry about everything I want to see changed?” Well, no. We have to look into Scripture to see what made God angry and what really grieves Him lest we become angry about trivial and selfish things. If something offends or angers us but it doesn’t necessarily anger or offend Christ, we have to look at whether the anger is coming out of selfish motives and if the situation really necessitates our anger. And we also have to remember that Ephesians 4:26a says, “In your anger do not sin.” We look at Jesus and we see that he was angry on several occasions, yet he was the only sinless man to walk this earth.
Picture anger on a continuum, where passivity is on the lower extreme and volatile aggression is on the upper extreme. Anger can be a good thing. However, when taken to either extreme, it has the potential to lead to death, whether it be spiritual or literal, physical death. We have to learn to live in the tension between the two. Live in the tension intentionally.
You’ll eventually be able to find a link to the full-length sermon upon which this is based here: http://www.gracepoint.org/index.cfm/PageID/2308/index.html Just click on the one entitled “Get Angry” whenever it’s posted.