August 16, 2022
“He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand…’” (Mark 3:5, NIV).
I was younger then, better in some ways and worse in others. My patient had been waiting in our clinic for a CT scan, longer than she should. I approached the radiology tech for a reason, and he responded that the patient had no insurance and would have to wait on those who had. I blew up at him in front of other patients for the injustice of his actions. It took me two hours to clean up my bad behavior with him and the patients.
When I first described this event, I focused on the sin of my anger, but I have grown since then. I realize now there is a clear separation between anger and the way we act it out. It was not the anger itself that was a problem in that clinic encounter. The way I managed it was wrong.
Now, later in life, I realize I have over-compensated to seek peace with those around me. I have far less anger than God would prefer.
In his Summa Theologica, Thomas Aquinas quotes Chrysostum regarding anger: “He who is not angry, [when] he has cause to be, sins.”
Paul agreed and adds a warning: “Be angry and do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26a, ESV).
I have too much lost the anger in my life.
I am not angry enough when pastors sexually abuse the young.
I am not angry enough when crazy young men kill people God loves in Uvalde, Buffalo and Charleston.
I am not angry enough for oppressed people all over this world, for those who are constantly hungry or those torn from their families by war.
I am not angry enough when our culture turns our children’s hearts away from God and calls it “love.”
I am not angry enough at family planning through abortion, the millions of dead children.
I am not angry enough at my own natural bent toward greed and pride, at my rare mention of Jesus’ name.
I agree with Chrysostum. If God shows me a reason to be angry, but I am not, I certainly sin.
If I am angry that my own rights are being trampled, that is probably sin. If I am angry because God’s glory or the people He loves are being trampled, that births a mission, a mission that should be acted out with focused anger and universal love.
Give me anger, filled with your love.