When it comes to being angry, I think there is one main difference between anger that pleases God and anger that does not.
Is your anger ultimately about building others up or tearing them down?
Sappy attempts to domesticate Jesus often ignore the fact that on multiple occasions Jesus got really angry. Like flipping over tables and driving out animals with a whip, angry! The scene of Jesus cleansing the temple (John 2:13-16, Mark 11:15-19) is the normal go-to episode. But there are others.
Like the time in Mark 3:1-6 when Jesus wants to heal a man with a hand deformity. A deformity that probably kept this guy from holding down a steady job since most jobs involved farming fields and/or some other kind of manual labor. This was a big deal.
Crowds are watching Jesus to see if he will heal this man on the Sabbath, a major “no-no”. “And Jesus said to them, ‘Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?’ But they were silent. And Jesus looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart” (v. 4-5).
After Jesus heals the man, the Pharisees “went out and immediately held counsel…how to destroy Jesus” (Mark 3:6). Jesus on the other hand, went out and did what? He used his anger to propel him, like holy energy, as he built up the kingdom of God where all could be embraced as beloved children of God.
Whenever the Bible talks about God’s anger, which it does often, it speaks about the Lord’s passion to set things right. That’s what the Bible means by “justice.”
I hear from so many people right now that they feel angry. How can we be angry but in a Christ like way? Two suggestions. Remember the word “GO.”
- GO to God first in prayer. Jesus spent long hours in prayer (Luke 6:12). Go to God with your cares, your concerns, and your anger. Talk with God about it honestly and openly and invite the Holy Spirit to give you a heart to know Him more fully (Jer. 24:7).
- GO and do good. When Jesus got angry, he looked for ways to do good and did them. He healed. He forgave. In other words, Jesus used anger as positive fuel. St. Paul writes in Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
These two practices have helped me. I hope they help you too. No matter what, you stand today in the grace of Christ. And I hope that his love will guide you everywhere you GO.