Transforming our Anger
Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11
Anger is a dangerous emotion. We know this is inherently true. We have all seen anger tear relationships apart in our homes, our workplaces, and in the public square. That’s why some have called anger “the dynamite of the soul.” That’s probably why so many people think the solution is to suppress or eliminate anger from our lives.
What we fail to recognize is that anger is not the root problem. Just like money is not the root problem of our greed and selfishness. It’s the love of money (1 Timothy 6:10). Our anger is not the root problem, it’s our love. Augustine described sin as “disordered love.” If we apply that to anger, we realize that we usually get angry about what we love most. This can be both good and bad. If I see an older child bullying my own child, that makes me angry—and it should. But, if I get defensive and angry when my point of view is challenged, that’s disordered love. It reveals that I love being right too much.
The only way to reorder our love is to return to our first love. When I admit my sinful anger and turn to Jesus, I can find the forgiveness and healing my soul desperately needs. When the finished work of Christ is my deepest identity, I find that anger loses its foothold in my heart (Ephesians 4:27). When I remember and believe that I am fully loved and accepted by grace alone, then I may be disappointed and hurt when my ego is bruised. But, it won’t crush me. And I will find a supernatural power which leads to self-control in my heart. That’s because I realize that what I need most is what I have most in Jesus.
This is the power and beauty of Christ. He transforms our anger. When we look to the cross, we see Jesus in all his glory. And what is Jesus doing in his glory? He is overlooking our offense. God chooses not to apply his justice to us because he already applied it to Jesus. God overlooks our offense because Jesus endured the penalty of our offense. God took our horrific wickedness and laid it on his Son. Jesus did not go against his will. He willingly went to the cross. It was to his glory to overlook an offense. And he did that so that our sinful hearts could be healed. Now we are able to turn to the one who has hurt us so deeply, and offer forgiveness. We are able to love God and people more than we love our ego and pride. Through the power of the gospel, it is now to our glory to overlook an offense.