By Brenda Daniels
I was driving along one afternoon minding my own business and enjoying the music I had blaring on my car’s sound system. I was in the fast lane. A car in the slow lane sped past me (above the speed limit I’ll have you know) and then squeezed in front of me with barely any breathing room. I was incensed. What an idiot! How dare this @X%%Yz} person be so rude and reckless! I leant on the hooter of my car with all my might and shouted, erm, very loudly, spit flying from my mouth in my rage. He didn’t care. He’d got to where he’d wanted to.
In a flash I felt ashamed at my complete loss of control. And yet, wasn’t my anger justified? Anger itself isn’t inherently wrong and, after all, I had been wronged. Author of the chapter ‘Anger’, Jonathan Parnell, in the book Killjoys, cites Marcia Cannon who explains ‘You become angry when you define reality as unacceptable and you feel unable to easily correct, tolerate or let it go.’ Well I could certainly relate to that.
But there is a problem. Apart from anger leading to sin (which it did in my case), our anger is often unrighteous and ungodly. Take the biblical prophet Jonah for example. Jonah had been sent by God to preach repentance to the Ninevites, but Jonah didn’t want to go because he thought the Ninevites didn’t deserve God’s grace. In Jonah’s ‘definition of reality’ the Ninevites should, well, they should just go to hell. The problem here was that Jonah had played ‘God by assuming the right to draw the lines, defining what should or should not be.’ (Killjoys).
Another problem with our anger is that it is too often consumed with ourselves and not with God’s priorities. While getting irate about things that thwart our rights we often couldn’t care less about the things that God cares about: the injustices in the world, or the many people going to hell because they haven’t heard about Jesus.
Pause for a moment now with your Freedom-in-Fellowship One-to-One partner and consider together how anger in your life may have been sinful. And ponder ‘the supreme example of God’s anger’ as ‘seen in the cross of Jesus planned before the world began (Revelation 13:8)’. (Killjoys).