Anger can’t be ignored, said Rev. Catherine Williams in her sermon on February 2, part of the seven deadly sins marathon series. Anger raises more questions than can be answered. Then she proceeded to answer some of these questions.
As Martin Luther said, anger can be useful in giving us energy to accomplish something. As John Wesley said, all anger is not evil. But anger also alienates and it disrupts community.
So what do we do about an anger producing situation?
We can use the Biblical lament to channel anger. As examples, Rev. Williams quoted Psalm 137:7-9, written by the exiled Hebrews, and Psalm 22. When we are enraged by what life hands us — the anger expressed in Psalm 22, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” — validates our emotions. Somebody was praying what we are thinking.
We can also use anger to fuel robust activism, like Jesus when he attacked the money changers in the temple (John 2:13-17). We can fight any of a hundred unjust evils.
We can also take our anger and forgive. Forgiveness is a choice the forgiver makes without regard to the offender. When anger is sinful, forgiveness is its visible antidote. The forgiver — not the situation — is the primary beneficiary of this antidote.