One of the great things about taking part in the "Worship Leaders and Preachers course" that's the local preacher training to you and me is the new content you get exposed to. The course gives you little snippets from books, poems, songs, videos and all sorts of media. This content is used as integral parts of the teaching material but it also encourages you to think and to find more of the same.
Today, reading module 4.1.C. Anger was the topic of discussion. The section looked at Anger and anger at God in particular. We see this most in the Psalms. Take a look at Psalm 80 and you will see something of what I mean. Anger with God is something I have 99% of the time steered well away from. When on occasion, I have been angry with God it's something I have asked forgivnes for. I am not especially pious in this matter it's just that I have generally found it easy to rationalise my anger at something, or someone other than God. I know for many that's not so simple and I have definetly had times where I have lost patience with God and become angry.
Section 4.1.C of the course asks the question if it's ever OK to be angry with God and challenges us to consider that MAYBE it is, as a part of an intimate relationship with God. I'm certain God understands our human nature, our need to be angry sometimes. So maybe on occasion that outpouring of emotion in anger to God is OK. I don't know, what I do know is that anger is an integral part of being human.
Anger aimed towards God, despite this study does not sit right with me. I still avoid it. However, I have always believed that anger is an important part of being a Christian. Righetous anger is a vital part of fulfilling our obligations and I hope as Christians our passionate desire to see justice done. Sometimes to see justice done we must be angry. Angry when freedom is compromised, angry when our rights as humans are violated, angry when love is ignored. It is anger that spurs us as humans to act, to intervene to protect. It is an emotional instinct which provided it is tamed understood and controlled can be used to achieve great good and shape our world for the better.We needn't look any further than Jesus rare examples of anger to understand it is used in extreme scenarios and as a managed response to emotion.
In practice I think this means anger must manifest itself through and with love (I hope by now you expected me to mention the L word) to transform situations of horror, atrocity, miss-treatment or true evil*. Anger only works when Love is at the centre of it, and it's results are love. I'm not suggesting this means we should act with violence, or judgment of others but rather we should speak up when our fellow humans are in need of love.
I can't express it any better than this fantastic song by Martyn Joseph that formed part of the course.
As I right this I realise there is an occasion where I allow frustration to become anger, regularly, and that's with myself, especially when trying to add a youtube video to a web page article. That's a different subject, and a different article though ! * I mention here "Evil" a word I seldom use and if you know me one that sits badly with me. That's yet another article I must right.