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ANGER - Chapter 4 "Sinning Like a Christian"

“Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.” — Psalms 37:8

Much of the bad that happens in the Bible occurs as a byproduct of Anger. Anger can be directed at others or other situations, or it can also be directed inward. Willimon considers Anger one of the most self-delusional and destructive, usually self-destructive and potentially violent, of the Seven Sins (p. 70).

But not all anger is bad. Willimon states that much of the greatest good work in the world is through Anger, and that can’t be said about any of the other Seven Sins. Anger is a natural, necessary response in the face of injustice. It is an acknowledgment that this is not the world as it is meant to be, not the world as God intended. (pp. 62 & 66).

So, what distinguishes “good” anger from “bad” anger? If the response to anger is to work to change an injustice or improve a situation without dispensing punishment, then that anger can be “good”.

When anger is coupled with punishment or vengeance, then the anger is “bad”. This form of Anger is often referred to as Wrath. Anger/Wrath can cause us to want to avenge a wrong. But God says in Deuteronomy 32:35 that “Vengeance is mine” and in Romans 12:17 Paul says “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to God…”. Anger can make us feel that we need to punish the perpetrator of the injustice or situation. When we retaliate, especially violently, we step in as God; we decide we know best how to handle the situation. We make ourselves God. This is what makes Anger a sin.

Willimon reminds us that Anger should be expressed, preferably in church, in prayer, in conversation with God (p. 66).

Prayer: Lord, bring peace to my mind and my heart whenever I feel angry about a situation. Help me remember your promise that you will never leave me nor forsake me. When you are with me I will trust you to fight my battles, I do not need to allow anger to take control. Give me your peace Father, may it rule over my life. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.

Submitted by Lay Leaders

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