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An evil we often don’t think about is how our anger incites others to the vice of anger, like a fire spreading.


Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Time for another #shorts post.

We all have our strong and weak points. Some parts of the Spiritual life come easy to us, while others are a bitter struggle. And what we find tough versus what we find easy is different for everyone. Sometimes we even backslide in an area we’re strong in. This is usually temporary, but we must take it serious anyway.

Anger. It’s one of the quickest and easiest pathways to serious sins like fighting, abuse, and even murder. I like to think I do a good job of keeping my anger in check, most days. But I had to delay writing this post and write others first, because I couldn’t deal with today’s topic. I was going through a week where I was too damn angry to write about the sins of anger. This anger was temporary, but intense while it lasted.

Reading through the daily reader Meditations* by Richard Challoner, which I often quote, I read an entry on the evils of anger. He made some good points about the vice of anger. Since I had just been suffering from that vice, I thought it was relevant and today I’ll share some the entry with you.

So let’s talk about the evils of anger.

*Full title: Considerations Upon Christian Truths and Christian Duties: Digested Into Meditations for Every Day in the Year.

Natural, Unavoidable

Listen everybody: Let’s get one thing clear. Anger is a natural, human emotion. Anger is a natural part of us until the Blessed day we reunite with the LORD. No matter how Spiritual we are, no matter how far we progress down the Spiritual path, we will still feel anger. There’s no getting rid of it 100% (although we can control it).

A major reason for this conundrum is that our anger is often (but not always) justified. We know people sin against us in all sorts of ways in this fallen world. And when someone sins against us, especially someone close to us, it hurts. It goes without saying anger naturally comes along with that hurt, no matter how Spiritual we are. We must not judge ourselves for feeling that natural anger in response to sins and injustices against us. There’s a reason for the anger; it’s not coming out of nowhere.

But since this is how it is, what qualifies as sinful anger?? What is the vice of anger??

Feeling anger is not a sin on its own, and it doesn’t make us less Spiritual Christians either. Feeling anger is natural, and part of our human nature. BUT, we are always in control of our actions, and we have the choice not to act on our anger. So anger itself isn’t sinful, but our angry actions definitely are.

For further definition, let’s hear what Richard Challoner says in Meditations:

On the Vice of Anger (Entry for October 19)

Our anger, or desire of revenge, is contrary to justice, when the person with whom we are angry has not deserved the punishment we desire to inflict; or, though he has deserved it, when we do not observe the order of justice, but make ourselves both judges and executioners; by taking revenge for ourselves, which is never allowable, by our own private authority. Our anger is also contrary to fraternal charity, when, be the cause ever so just, we prosecute, or punish the offender, not from a love of justice, but out of hatred.

Richard Challoner, Meditations, Entry for October 19

So the line according to him more or less lies with taking revenge.

Moving on, he says anger and revenge are “infinitely opposite” to some of the most important, Christ-like Virtues. These would be meekness, humility, mercy, and more. Remember that these Virtues are the example Christ showed us by His life. He was so Humble He submitted to the death sentence of imperfect human “justice,” despite being Innocent of any sin.

Jesus never spoke of revenge even once, despite the atrocious sins committed against Him. So this is our model and example to follow. To the best of our ability we must try to be like Him and never even consider revenge or payback. These and other Virtues are the special Virtues that set Christ’s Disciples apart. Listen:

Consider 2dly, that anger, passion, and a desire of revenge, when deliberately consented to, are also infinitely opposite to meekness, humility, mercy, peace, patience, long-suffering, renouncing our own will, bearing the cross, etc. the favorite virtues of Jesus Christ, which he has so strongly recommended in his Gospel, and which compose the amiable character of his disciples. The livery by which he expects his servants should be known and distinguished, is composed of these virtues.

[…] how irreconcilable and destructive is the passion of anger, when admitted into the soul which is possessed of these Christian virtues! It directly destroys all meekness, and consequently humility, […]

Richard Challoner, Meditations, Entry for October 19

If we let anger rule us, we lose these special Virtues. Not to mention that giving in to anger and desiring (or taking) revenge is following our will rather than God’s Will. God’s Will is clear from Scripture: God tells us to Forgive. God tells us never to take revenge, for vengeance belongs to the LORD.

If I started listing Scripture verses about Forgiveness, this post would be way too long. It’s a frequent topic in the Bible, and the frequent topics are most important. God expects us to Forgive, that is His Will for us. If we refuse to Forgive and demand revenge, now we’re following our will. And insisting on our will rather than God’s Will is idolatry.

Contagion of Rage

Last, let’s not forget all the horrendous evils caused by anger. Fighting (assault), arguing, slander, division and discord, and in extreme cases even murder. Angry actions are an evil that leads to more evil. It never stops until someone exits the cycle of endless payback by using Forgiveness.

An evil we often don’t think about is how our anger incites others to the vice of anger, like a fire spreading.

Challoner explains:

Consider 3dly, what a train of other evils generally either accompany, or follow, the passion of anger:—what oaths, curses, and blasphemies;—what affronts, reproaches and injuries;—what quarrels, strifes and contentions, yea, sometimes bloodshed and murder also;—what malice, hatred and revenge: besides the scandal, that is given to those with whom we are angry, whom we not only rob of their peace of mind, but also of the grace of God, by provoking them to sin; as one fire is apt to enkindle and nourish another. Not to speak of many other sad effects of this vice, which are frequently as pernicious to the health of the body as to that of the soul; […]

Richard Challoner, Meditations, Entry for October 19

It’s one more reason—a major one—to reject anger and pursue Forgiveness. As if we even needed another reason!!

We Can Control Our Anger

Like I said in my intro, I had to delay writing this post because I was too angry to write about anger. It was only temporary though, lasting a few days. Now I’m better.

Anger happens to the best of us, Christians and non-Christians alike. Anger is natural, there’s no avoiding it. Feeling anger is not a sign of how Spiritual we are, anger is human nature and we can never get rid of it 100%. We can’t avoid anger, but we can control our actions and words when angry. It’s tough, but doable!!

Since anger is something we all suffer from, controlling our anger is something we all have to deal with. We must try our best to keep it in check. Let’s remember that no matter how heated we get, we’re always in control of our words and actions. We don’t have to give in to the sins of anger; we can give our anger up to God in prayer instead.

To be honest, Forgiveness and controlling anger is one of the toughest concepts in Scripture to live out in real life. Forgiveness isn’t easy. But I say it does get easier the more we do it. So if we keep trying our best, we’ll keep getting better at it. Then our life will please God more and more.

I said Forgiveness is one of the most frequent topics in Scripture. So let’s finish with a well-known passage from Romans 12, which quotes Deuteronomy 32 and Proverbs 25.

(17) Don’t pay back anyone for their evil actions with evil actions, but show respect for what everyone else believes is good.
(18) If possible, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people. (19) Don’t try to get revenge for yourselves, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath. It is written, “Revenge belongs to me; I will pay it back, says the Lord”. (20) Instead, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. By doing this, you will pile burning coals of fire upon his head”. (21) Don’t be defeated by evil, but defeat evil with good.

Romans 12:17-21 (CEB)

That’s it for #shorts Part 32.


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Your new best friend in Christ,

99:9

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