We’ve all had times of being angry. Sometimes the anger rises high in a torrent of rage. Sometimes it is slow-burning; a deep, but hot fire that remains unquenched. So, what’s going on inside when we’re angry?
See what you think about this – anger occurs when something we love is lost, trampled, or diminished. Anger starts with harm to something we love. If we don’t care about the Tampa Bay Devil Rays it won’t bother us much when they lose. O, but when the Red Sox go down, that is painful.
In the same way, hearing about a thievery in a city far away may give you pause, but coming home and finding the house swept clean will cause an explosion of anger. Why? Because you are, obviously, much more in love with your stuff than you are the stuff far away.
Anger starts with harm to something we love. And the intensity of our anger will depend on the measure of our passion for the thing harmed. Break my lamp, no big deal. Hurt my kid, and I’m (rightfully) upset.
Now we can see why some anger is good (righteous) while some isn’t. You love your spouse, and you should be angry if someone tries to harm them. It is good and right to have a high love for your spouse. Jesus’ anger is the ultimate example (John 2.13-17). He was enraged by those who trampled His Father’s glory in the misuse of the temple. Jesus loved the right thing in the right way (the glory of God above all else) and had rightful rage at its demeaning.
It is here that I see the wickedness of my own heart. I can be outraged at someone’s driving or a comment made about me – and it shows me what I love. I love my ego way too much. Moreover, I can see God’s glory and Word trampled in the hearts of people and culture and not care in the least. This shows a lack of love both for God and His glory and a lack of love for others. I love what I shouldn't, don't love what I should, and love many things improperly.
So have a look in the mirror of your anger. What makes you mad? The answer will show you what you love most. Is your consuming passion the glory of God and the welfare of others? Or do you, like me, have a love affair with self and sin?
May God transform our hearts to love the right things in the right way – culminating in a passionate love for God Himself.