This post isn’t about presidential candidates or political parties. It’s about a growing dilemma in our country. Every day, we are described as angry people, and it appears that we are.
Everyone gets angry. Jesus did when he drove the moneychangers out of the temple for turning his “Father’s house into a market.” (John 2:13-17) Jesus was angry at the Pharisees for their perversion of the Law of Moses. (Matthew 23:13-31) But one of Jesus’ radical teachings was: “You have heard it said that…anyone who murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment.” (Matthew 5:21-22)
The overriding message of Holy Scripture is that anger is sin or leads to sin. “Refrain from anger…it leads only to evil.” (Psalm 37:8) “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger…A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.” (Proverbs 15:1, 18)
Galatians 5:22-23 enumerates the familiar fruit of the Spirit. Perhaps we’ve lost our acquaintance with the “acts of the flesh” condemned in the two antecedent verses: “[S]exual immorality, impurity and debauchery…hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions…envy…and the like.” Similarly, in Colossians 3:12-14, Paul wrote that Christians should clothe themselves with “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” In the immediately preceding verses, he admonished Christians to rid themselves of “anger, rage, malice, slander…” (Colossians 3:5-9)
There’s more, of course: “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” (Ephesians 4:26) “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” (James 1:19-20)
Paul prayed that “all people…and all…in authority live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” Still applicable?