Be angry and sin not.
Ephesians 4:26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,
Reading from The Virtue in the Vice by Dr. Robin R. Meyers, led to some reflection and responses from within me and it is not totally unrelated to the recent events in our nation politically and socially. I found it interesting to talk about anger as being constructive, even biblical which goes against much of what I’ve heard lately from pulpits around the nation. The following excerpt started me thinking:
Without the right rage we can have little hope for real change in the world. The call of discipleship is a call to do, not a call to contemplate. There would have been no end to slavery without war, no civil rights movement without Bloody Sunday, and no progress toward inclusiveness in the church without bitter struggle and charged rhetoric. Even now, little hope exists for saving the environment until angry people realize that we all live downstream and we start marching upstream en masse.
There are times when the right anger brings about action that corrects a wrong. What action can be taken to right the wrongs being done to the unborn in our country? What action can be taken to right the wrongs being taught to our children in the public system because it is politically correct? Those are only two arenas to consider action. Even as we find in James to be doers of the Word, not just hearers so in Micah we are given a call to action:
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8
Faith is a verb, an action verb. Doing justice is connected to hating injustice, loving kindness is connected to despising cruelty, walking humbly with God requires us to stand up and walk. Two angers, one self-serving; one that rants against injustice, cruelty and false pride.
How do we determine the difference? Ask yourself, am I angry for someone else? Do I feel as if I have been insulted, am I taking offense? Is the anger self-serving and connected to pride? Conversely, am I angry over what is done to those who cannot help themselves, or over the perpetuation of a lie to the young? Is the anger sparked by injustice or cruelty? Be angry and sin not.