Questioning Anger

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2015

let go of anger

Brant Hansen has been a national radio show host for over 20 years and works with CURE International, a Christian non-profit that operates charitable hospitals and programs in 30 countries.

Brant and his wife, Carolyn, have a son and daughter.  He is the author of Unoffendable – the source from which this week’s readings are adapted.

In the moment, everyone’s anger always seems righteous.  Anger is a feeling, after all, and it sweeps over us and tells us we’re being denied something we should have.  But an emotion is just an emotion.  It’s not critical thinking.  Anger doesn’t pause.  We have to stop and question it.

We humans are experts at casting ourselves as victims and rewriting narratives that put us in the center of injustices.  And we can repaint our anger or hatred of someone – say, anyone who threatens us – into a righteous-looking work of art.  And yet, remarkably, in Jesus’s teaching, there is no allowance for “Okay, well, if someone really is a jerk, then yeah – you need to be offended.”  We’re flat-out told to forgive, even – especially! – the very stuff that’s understandably maddening and legitimately offensive.

That’s the whole point: The thing that you think makes your anger “righteous” is the very thing you are called to forgive.  Grace isn’t for the deserving.  Forgiving means surrendering your claim to resentment and letting go of anger.

Anger is extraordinarily easy.  It’s our default setting.  Love is very difficult.  Love is a miracle.

Key Study Passage: James 1:19-21


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