Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Thoughts on Anger and Being Right

Ed Welch
"The problem with anger is that those who don’t have the problem take it to heart; those who are angry are confident in their right-ness and over time can become massively, utterly, completely deluded, blind and (this is no exaggeration) can feel quite good about themselves after bludgeoning someone close them, as if they have set the world aright. Arrgghh. I hate anger.

But I also want to hate this evil in myself before I hate it in other people. How? By zeroing in on the more subtle expressions of anger, such as a critical attitude toward someone, complaining, not wanting another’s best, jealousy at the level of my imagination, any hint of “I am right and you are wrong,” sarcasm, or “whatever.” I want to keep asking my wife and at least one other person if they have seen me frustrated or angry. I want to have no wiggle room for righteous indignation. By that I mean that since ninety-nine percent of my anger is sinful, I don’t want to give tacit permission to my frustration by calling it righteous indignation. If I am angry because of what was done to another person I am on safer ground. If I am angry because of what someone did to me, I am always wrong. “Be angry and don’t sin” – forget about trying to master that one. Don’t let it authorize one blasted scrap of anger.


In a world where we are god, anger makes perfect sense. Anger stands above all things in omniscient and infallible judgment. But in the real world, where we are creatures and not the Creator, and where the Creator chose the path of a servant in order to rescue, comfort and encourage, our anger is ugly and perverse.

Lord, help us to recognize our anger and not be the “last to know” about it. Be merciful to us and give us power to show mercy."
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