Advent 2015: Godly anger, or Braiding a Whip…

I’ve recently stopped an anti-depressant medication. I don’t like having to take medication if I can help it, so under the watch of my doctor I’ve come off what is actually a “mood stabiliser”.

It’s like I’ve been released from chains. Yes, I’m having highs and lows and as I’m moving house in two weeks – yes, just after Christmas – it may not have been the world’s greatest timing, but for the first time in over two years I’m beginning to feel myself again rather than feeling like I’m watching someone else moving me about and barely feeling the life – good and bad.

For the last 2 years I’ve been staying with my mother. I love her dearly, but it’s much easier when we’re not under the same roof. I have a fairly quick temper that I’ve had to learn to control. Because I’m told I come across as easy-going in general when people see me get angry it usually alarms them. When I went for counselling about my temper a few years ago my pastor asked me if I was sure I was talking about myself.

I’ve written about anger before on this blog, but find it on my heart again tonight for some reason.

There’s several origins of anger. I want to just look at three:

1) Self

Selfish anger is just that. Selfish. It’s characterised by feelings of being cheated or “done-in” by someone or a corporate body, company or the dog. Basically anything that invades us and interrupts our routine or forces us to change our plans or pre-conceived notions about life that we’ve come up with by ourselves through experience – the school of hard knocks – which is a harsh school to attend.

2) Satan/Demonic forces

This one is tricky as it often gets confused with other sources. It draws on a sense of entitlement and self-righteousness that we cannot truly escape in this World. The “old man” nature is there in all of us, and it doesn’t need much to be triggered, just an accusation here or there whispered into our minds at the precise moment and we’re there running from God’s path so fast we don’t even realise it.

3) God

Godly anger is different. It is borne out of a passion to see God’s Will and His Love expressed. Jesus braiding a whip and then driving the traders from the temple was Godly Anger. Moses asking God to destroy the Israelites not so much.

Selfishness is easy to recognise if we look at ourselves honestly. We get this anger when our sense of self has become greater than our reliance on Grace. King David was consumed with Godly anger when the prophet relayed the story of the rich man taking the poor man’s only lamb to offer as a sacrifice. When it was revealed that he was the rich man he saw God’s perspective and repented. He recognised his own selfish nature, his pride and jealousy that had angered him to the point of having Bathsheba’s husband killed. The nature of his anger became Godly as soon as he saw God’s take on what had happened.

The enemy is skilled at deception. He will drop thoughts in when we are vulnerable and we have dropped our guard. “It’s not fair” is how it often starts. And maybe it isn’t fair, but that’s how it is. We need to remember that he will take any and every chance to draw us away into carnality and sin, and especially cloaking it in apparently “righteous” motives.

Godly anger feels different. There’s a peace within it that no other form of anger has. It can move us to extreme actions. We may withdraw from the offender, severing ties as far as possible. In extreme cases we may go to war because of it. Godly anger is, at it’s core, a battlefield where we live as Christians. We are called to be angry at things that anger God, but not to allow that anger to become sin. Spiritual warfare.

Sometimes we may even need to meet force with force. It’s not enough to say in words. There is a time for physical action – braiding a whip and overturning dishonest money-changers being the best example I can think of. It wasn’t sinful for Jesus to do what He did.

Meditate on that for a second: not all anger is sin.

All we can do is to examine the root and the anger itself before we act. We must give our anger to God and ask Him what to do and if it’s from Him.

If it isn’t, cast it aside and look at yourself. Have you let the Enemy get a foothold in your mind?

If it is, go braid your whips. It’s time for Battle.

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