March 02, 2007

More about Anger

[Following on questions regarding my post of February 27 about forgiving, loving, and liking]

Suppose you are cleaning your living room.
Your child is playing in your front yard.
You look out the window,
and you see a stranger beating your child with a baseball bat.

It would be natural that three emotions rush up inside of you:
anger, fear, and sadness.

If you were not to have any anger at all,
you are probably psychologically sick, unwell, abnormal.

If you did become angry,
but freely and consciously chose to do nothing for your child,
then you would be guilty of sin--
and the sin would NOT be that you were angry.
The sin would be that you chose to do nothing for your child.

The emotion of anger at seeing someone in the act of beating your child with a bat is part of what can MOVE you ("emotion" is from the Latin that literally means "move outwardly") to save your child.

In addition to the emotions, two other faculties come into play:
reason and free will.

No matter what your emotions and your reasonings may or may not be,
when someone is beating your child to death,
it is virtuous-- HOLY-- to put an end to the beating.

Angry emotion all by itself is not a sin and not a virtue.
What we CHOOSE to DO--
that CHOICE and that ACTION,
THOSE can be either sinful or holy.

Mark 3:1-5
Again Jesus entered the synagogue,
and a man was there who had a withered hand.
And they watched Jesus,
to see whether he would heal the man on the sabbath,
so that they might accuse Jesus.
And Jesus said to the man who had the withered hand,
"Come here."
And Jesus said to them,
"Is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do harm,
to save life or to kill?"
But they were silent.
grieved at their hardness of heart,
and said to the man,
"Stretch out your hand."
He stretched it out,
and his hand was restored.


Blogger Mark Cephas Tan said...

Indeed, it is our actions that flow from that anger that determines whether or not it be a sin. For there are some situations, like seeing your child being beaten (as you said) would be known as righteous anger. This is similar to what Jesus felt when he chases those people who turned His Father's house into a den of theives... Righteous Anger springs out of love, not hate...

Good post!

6:15 PM  

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