- Published: February 19, 2017 February 19, 2017
Jesus got angry. He entered the Temple in Jerusalem only to discover (being omniscient He already knew) officials and those authorized by them, taking advantage of travelers there to sacrifice. Small animals available for sale but only after you exchanged your foreign coins for local money at rates bordering on theft. Jesus got so angry He “cleared the Temple,” shouting about their turning His Father’s house, a place reserved for prayer, into a “den of thieves!”
So, anger must be okay?
James’ letter mentions anger along with some common wisdom we might all find helpful. James 1:19 says “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” Listening before speaking might save us all a lot of grief, allowing less space for drama and reactions, creating time for reflection and response. But James continues, “Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. 21 So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.” (James 1:20-21 NLT italics mine)
The times we live in, and the cultural influence bombarding us, offers little hope. If we listen closely, the news and views from our world plant doom and gloom, with scarcity, political chaos, and distrust as their implements. A bountiful harvest of weeds, briars of doubt and pods rich with bitterness and blame, nourish fear, creating what some have deemed the age of anger. Anger often originates with fear, fear we will not have enough, enough money, food, justice, love; the list goes on and on.
In the movie version of a true story, “Bridge of Spies,” accused Russian spy Rudolf Abel serenely awaits the inevitable outcome of his trial. His conviction and possible death sentence don’t rattle him at all. His lawyer believes Abel doesn’t comprehend the severity of his situation. When asked if he was afraid, Abel responds, “Would it help?”
Fear is necessary. Anger is a legitimate response to incline us toward fighting or fleeing. But it’s not helpful as a worldview or a way of life.
Peace comes through abiding in Jesus Christ, the living God/man, and Him abiding in us. He is enough!