Yesterday, I posted the blog, “Allow yourself to be angry”, explaining how I’ve seen anger displayed the wrong way through the following:
1. Directing anger toward the wrong person
2. Communicating anger in the wrong way
It’s not a fun experience to see things done the wrong way; however, it gives us an example of what NOT to do, and gives us insight into the right way. We can look at the wrong way, and learn from it and do the opposite!
Therefore, now we know we DO have control over our own selves to exemplify anger in a healthy way by doing the following:
1. Direct it toward the right person.
2. Communicate it in the right way.
Personally, I love this. It brings me a lot of freedom, because I’m not telling myself to hinder anger. I’m not telling myself, “don’t be angry!” I’m telling myself, “Be angry. It’s good and healthy and productive. You’re human and you are allowed to have emotions. You were made this way, and it’s good. Let’s learn how to deal with it in an efficient way in order that we can create something good out of this frustration.”
For those who have stuffed anger since their kindergarten days and are past overdue in expressing it, let’s put a little context behind the anger of emotion. What is it? How do I deal with this bubble of emotion when it feels like there is so much of it that will come out if I open up this can of worms?
For me, it makes sense to look at the only being who ALWAYS is true and right and loving. Jesus.
When did Jesus get angry? How did He show it? To whom did He direct it toward? This is what I have seen from looking at accounts about Jesus written in the Bible.
Jesus showed anger….
1. When people were being oppressed and injustice was occurring
When people sold required sacrifices to poor people at insanely high rates and increased the amount in order that the poor people were suffering even more, even in their attempt to please God – Matthew 21:14-17
2. When people were being religiously ridiculous and making up their own rules
When pious, rules-oriented leaders (the Pharisees) had stubborn hearts and were doubting Jesus – Mark 3:5
3. At his friend, who was in his inner circle, who acted out of zeal but not wisdom
When Peter cut off the guy’s ear – John 18:10-11
When Jesus commanded Peter, “Get behind me satan!” – Matthew 16:23
[Sidenote: I’ve come to the conclusion that the majority of the time, true words from friends are just hard. Case in point from Proverbs.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
– Proverbs 27:6]
Perhaps there are other important points where Jesus showed anger. Feel free to look them up! I am not thoroughly covering them all, but rather wish to give a brief overview in order that we can see Jesus display His emotions freely and openly, even to the public. He is so good at being THE Example and at being vulnerable to the WHOLE WORLD! Jesus, I LOVE YOU for this! Being vulnerable to one person, let alone to the WHOLE WORLD is not easy!
We can see that Jesus directed his anger toward a certain crowd of people or toward a certain person. He also communicated it CLEARLY. Nobody had to ask Jesus if He was mad. He communicated it to that person or group through His Words (and, in one case, through His actions).
Because Jesus is Just and is the source of Justice in Heaven and on earth, it was displayed in His emotions, words, and actions when He flipped over the table. He is a voice for the voiceless. Those who were being oppressed (the poor people wanting to sacrifice but having no means to buy the increased sacrifices that the mean, pompous guys were selling) are the people Jesus fought for. He literally threw over tables, and yelled at people who were exploiting His loved ones.
Apparently there’s a time for this. When people have no voice, when people are oppressed, when people are exploited – it’s the job of the just and the righteous ones who DO have a voice to cry out and to violently take it by force. Fellow soldiers, allow yourself to be angry. Fight for justice righteously. Righteous anger is a gift from God. Use it.
Lesson #1: Righteous anger is good. It’s Godly. I have a voice to cry out for the voiceless. It is my right and in my God-given authority to fight for justice violently and by force.
Secondly, Jesus was angry at the pious, religious people who stood on the corners, praying only to be heard. They prayed not to get closer to God or to have sweet communication with the Lord; they did it to be seen by men. We don’t have time for this. We are here to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth. Thus, we can, like Jesus, correct people bluntly when they instill selfish rules they made up to accommodate their own pride.
Lesson #2: Correct religious people. Jesus did it. Follow only God’s rules – not other pointless rules people make up to accommodate their own made-up standards of their “righteousness”.
Thirdly, Jesus and His disciples were close. They spent three years together. They knew each other well. Yet, Jesus was not scared of a possible breaking of a relationship with His close friend, Peter. This guy was a zealous one – constantly jumping out of the boat to swim to Jesus, to walk (and sink) in the water on the way to Jesus, “fighting” for Jesus by cutting a guy’s ear off. Haha! Oh, Peter.
The Lord rebuked Peter when Peter acted out of zeal without wisdom, when there was only emotion and excitement but not a lot of strategy or thought put into it beforehand. Peter may have had the best intentions in mind, but his heart and actions needed correction; therefore Jesus corrected Him in a blunt and straight forward way. Sometimes we need to be this way with our friends. (Although, to be fair, it depends on people’s personalities. If God has gifted someone to be really tender-hearted and sensitive, honor them and recognize their tender-heartedness as the gift from God that it is. Please, please, please, speak to them how they will best receive correction – which is probably in a really soft, loving, caring wayyou’re your tendency tends to be bold, loud, and straight forward, perhaps practice beforehand, to say it in a way that is loving and exudes your care for them.)
I feel like Jesus was able to be bold and blunt with Peter, because it fit Peter’s personality. However, he dealt with Thomas very differently. When Thomas doubted Him, He didn’t command him, “Believe in me!” He showed up and showed his wounds to Thomas. He related to Thomas in a way that made sense. Some of us are like Thomas. Some of us need Jesus to show up and show us His wounds. (I think that could preach a whole different sermon! Wow – I’m getting revelation just as I think about this!) Some of us need to see the wounds in Jesus’ hands and side and touch them to know that He’s alive and that we can still relate to Him.
Whether you are a Peter, a Thomas, or an I-don’t-fit-in-any-category, I know Jesus can relate to us in a way that makes sense to us. After all, He made us, and He knows best how we operate and think.
In your journey in learning how to deal with anger, I pray that God would you give you wisdom and revelation and insight from Holy Spirit on how to:
1. Direct it toward the right person
2. Communicate it in the right way
What is helpful to me is to remember that the Church is not my enemy. People are not my enemy. God’s enemy is my enemy.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. – Ephesians 6:12
Lord, help us to be angry like You. Help us to express our anger rightly, direct it toward the right person, and to communicate it well, in Jesus’ name. Amen.