Anger • Devotion 3

Redeeming Anger
Ferdinand Sanders

Growing up as the older brother, I felt like my younger brother had a natural gift of pushing my buttons just to the point of eliciting a reaction out of me - a reaction that ultimately led to me getting in trouble. I do not think there is a sibling relationship in existence where there has not been some number of arguments, and if we are being honest, most of the time over something completely trivial and meaningless. In most cases growing up, these “fights” are ultimately just small “hiccups.” They are not detrimental to the relationship, and can even cause them to grow stronger. When I think back to those fights, I realize now how revealing they were.

If you think about it, what is going on when you or someone else gets angry? Whether “right” or “wrong,” anger is a result of something happening that goes against what you believe. It strikes a chord with you, it reveals a passion. Anger is almost always seen as a negative - but I think there is potential for the concept to be redeemed. If sin is separation from God, as Christians we should truly flee from sin. Run in the opposite direction. The concept of sin or sinning against God should cause us to be angry. I am not saying, “Anger is good.” Nor am I proposing that we should default to “see red” as much as possible. However, what happens when we flip the script and follow the lead from Matthew 5:21-26? We are told here to first be reconciled to our brother, even before we make an offering to the Lord. How can we be at peace and in harmony with the will of God if we cannot be at peace and in harmony with our brothers and sisters here on Earth?

Recently as a staff, we have been studying Romans chapter 12. In this chapter of Paul’s letter to God’s beloved in Rome, there is a portion of Scripture that has been labeled “the marks of a true Christian.” It is here that he writes, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:16-21). I often find these verses coming to mind as they are somehow both challenging and simple. Live in harmony with one another. Repay no one evil for evil. So far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. We should make that our prayer.

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