Are there times you should actually be angry?
Let’s look at when Jesus drove people out of the Temple (Matthew 21:12-17, Mark 11:15-19, Luke 19:45-48) but wait, was He angry?
Reading about this I’m not convinced that Jesus was actually angry here. And He seemed to be in control of his actions and emotions. He didn’t go on a crazy rampage; His actions were linked to the teaching that He then gave. From this I learn that even if you have just cause to get angry, you should not allow yourself to become out of control. You should stay level headed and ensure that any action taken is reasonable.
In Mark 3:5 “Jesus looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts”. It was the Sabbath, Jesus was in the synagogue and present was a man with a withered hand. The Pharisees were watching Jesus to see if He would heal this man on the Sabbath and they could, therefore, use this as a reason to accuse Him. In vs 4 Jesus asked them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” When they kept silent, Jesus looked at them in anger. I notice here that
- Jesus did not act on this anger. Although He looked at them with anger, this was as far as it seemed to go. His following speech and actions did not appear to be fuelled by this anger. He proceeded to heal this man rather than deal with the Pharisees.
- He did not allow the anger to divert His focus from the man who needed healing. This highlights a point to me. Anger can divert our focus. In fact, it is a tactic often used because if you get someone angry about something they can forget about whatever else was going on at that time. If Jesus’ focus had shifted away from this man with the withered hand and onto the Pharisees, perhaps that man would never have received his healing. And I’m sure that having two fully useable hands would have made a significant difference to his life. One could say that the only effect would have been this man not receiving his healing but oftentimes, the healing of one person by Jesus was like a pebble in a pond for it caused many ripples which subsequently affected many others. For example, chapter 1 verses 40-45 tell the story of a leper being healed. Once healed, he told many about it which drew many people to Jesus; so much so that He “could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every direction.” (vs 45). Many others, therefore, got to hear about Jesus and came to Him as a result of the healing of this one man. Although nothing is mentioned post healing of the man with the withered hand, who knows where it led and who else was touched. At the very least, this man’s life was never the same.
- His anger was not about Himself. Jesus was “grieved by the hardness of their hearts” in that they were valuing strict adherence to the letters of the law and would, therefore, withhold healing from this man who needed it. People often get angry due to reasons such as hurt pride but I think that one of the reasons Jesus’ anger here was justified is that it was not about himself. It was unselfish.
We discussed this question at a Dynamic Faith Bible study and one thing Pastor Hafis said was that things which anger God should anger us. We have the Holy Spirit within us and so whatever grieves Him, should grieve us too. Therefore there are times which we should be angry.
By Sarah Adebambo