Most of us at one time or another have felt that surge of anger. It might have been justified or it might have been misguided. And sadly, some with anger on a daily basis.
When watching the evening news there are frequent reports of anger, though not necessarily called this. More likely it is a scene, a demonstration, a violent protest at home or abroad. But underlying it all is anger. Anger sells news. Happy people, happy events are sometimes thrown in as a “feel good” feature. But the “seller” the features that make the money, are all about some form of anger or will illicit an angry response. Anger and scandal sell papers and air time.
Some will say Jesus was angry, so it is alright for me to be angry too. Yes he was angry in a specific place, time and reason (Mt 21: 12-16; Lk 19: 45-46; Jn 2: 14-16). In this context we speak of his righteous anger. This was not simply the human reaction to an event or the result of a slight. This was God Incarnate angry at the abuse of the Temple. In particular the use of the outer court of the Gentiles. In this space the Gentile peoples who wished to worship the True God could come. But with the money changers and offering sellers there was then no space for worshippers. They had moved from the outer foyer of the Temple to the Outer Court. They had usurped the worship space for themselves. In this action we also see Jesus foreshadowing the acceptance of the Gentile peoples into his own.
When our anger is not such as this it is simply our human emotion locked into an expression that is often demonstrable; St Paul called us then “children of wrath” (Eph 2:3). There are, as well, circumstances that are connected, or even beyond our control. Those who suffer from diseases, or are in dire circumstances. Those who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are often people who are unable to control the anger and rage from within.
At all times we need to be aware of and understand where these people are standing at the moment they release the energy of the anger. Kindness and forgiveness are crucial. For many of us it means speaking about something before it becomes anger. I could be to better use that energy for a positive outcome through work or prayer. It could be a need for a more clear thought process and accompanying emotions.
We have people living in failed states who don’t have the most basic needs met of a human. Basic education and health care are for the elite and no one else. Perhaps these have a right to be angry and seen on television. But they won’t be seen. The scandal is hidden, there is no voice heard.
When we are angry we need to direct it towards something positive. Let it become the propulsion behind good works – works for the building up of the Kingdom.