As a novelist, it’s important for me to understand the whole range of human emotions,
positive and negative.
Like grief, anger is a negative emotion common to us all.
Has anger ever taken you by surprise?
Perhaps it sprang upon you almost without warning.
Maybe it shocked you in its intensity, leaving you puzzled about what was happening inside you.
Last week this happened to me.
Some anger builds gradually over time, many years even.
It may be verbalized or acted upon repeatedly.
It may simmer in silence without ever being put into words or overt actions.
Some anger rises firmly on the occasion
and we recognioze it growing inside,
allowing us the opportunity to think before we act or speak.
But some anger takes us unaware.
Looking back we may realize something was building quite quickly,
but we would never have labeled the confusion,
the unsettled feeling,
the wind in our brain as anger.
Then suddenly the full force comes upon us
and we are shocked at the intensity of our anger.
Our extreme response leaves us confused because this anger is not directly related to us.
Why did I react so powerfully? we wonder.
What did this event mean to me?
Could this anger be a different sort of anger,
a “righteous anger” rather than the personal kind we experience so often.
Anger that rises in response to a personal affront is common, coming in many varying degrees,
but we seldom feel confused about what caused it.
What I am calling “righteous anger,”
on the other hand, arises from seeing harm done to another person.
There is no personal benefit to having this type of anger,
in fact most often it gets us involved in ways we would prefer to avoid.
We don’t mind feeling upset at an unjust situation,
but we prefer to be able to walk away shaking our heads in disgust.
We want to get on with our lives, the things that matter to us.
What is the purpose of this kind of anger?
It usually arises when we see the abuse of the weak and helpless,
those who cannot stand up for themselves.
(Like the nine-three –year-old man whose care I oversee.)
I wonder, could it be that in that moment, God allows us to see injustice with his eyes?
Might we feel in that moment the wrath of God?
The scripture speaks clearly about anger and three dangers involved
when we experience anger, anger of any variety. In our next blogs we will be seeing how
the precise instructions in Ephesians 4:26-27 relate to this particular
type of anger, the righteous kind against injustice to the weak.
Until next time, consider the verse:
“Be angry, and yet do not sin;
do not let the sun go down on your anger,
and do not give the devil an opportunity.” NASB
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Arlene Pinkley Ussery shares insights and research concerning the power of the story to change values of individuals and societies. Relying on research, she shows how good literature improves readers relationships, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. From her experience of living in Israel and studying the Bible, history, and culture, she deepens readers understanding of Biblical times. Her stories challenge and comfort.