“He that is angry without cause, shall be in danger; but he that is angry with cause, shall not be in danger: for without anger, teaching will be useless, judgments unstable, crimes unchecked.”
~St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica
For lent, I have decided to give up “being okay”
The reality is, I am not okay.
My heart has been angry a lot lately.
I’ve been angry about all of the lives and dreams lost in the pandemic.
I’ve been angry at the ways conversations about unity and love seem to be so polarizing.
I’ve been angry that injustice in our society is so prevalent.
Sometimes I think we domesticate our faith by thinking God wants us to be happy all the time.
We forget, God gets angry.
Jesus got angry a lot actually.
We see Jesus get angry when he’s interrupted while eating. (see Mark 7:24-30)
We see Jesus get angry when people are hypocrites. (see Matthew 23:1-4)
We see Jesus get angry and flip tables. (see Luke 19:45-46)
Anger is a complicated emotion.
Sometimes anger masks fear.
Sometimes anger disguises hurt.
Sometimes anger is a result of injustice.
Anger can be toxic and damaging.
Anger can be an arrogant source of ego or pride.
Anger can lead us to say things we don’t mean and to hurt people we actually love.
And anger can also be healing.
Anger can bring us to realize we are in a situation we need to get out of.
Anger can motivate us to take a stance.
Anger can drive us to join the struggle against systemic oppression.
Maybe that’s why the scriptures give us permission to get angry.
When we get in touch with what our emotions tell us, we can be more like Jesus.
We can set boundaries (like Jesus.)
We can enter into uncomfortable conversations that can’t be avoided any longer (like Jesus.)
And, sometimes, we can flip tables and say this just isn’t right (like Jesus.)
If something in the world is making you angry today, I do hope you find peace.
But I hope you also notice the gift of being angry.
May our anger not make us hard of heart
But may our anger help us to notice our hurt, our pain, our fear, and our dreams for justice.
And if our anger is righteous, may we follow our anger into the struggles against oppression
to build a better world.
May it be so.