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The uses of anger


Scripture:   Ephesians 4:17-32

Gracious God,  I know I am called to live a life of love,  that if I am not loving in my day to day relationships,  I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

My trouble is that I do not always know how to go about loving the people I have to deal with every day.   Must I always be gentle and patient,  calm and kind?  If so,  I know I am a failure.

I don't find it easy to deal with selfish and hurtful people,  with naughty children and rebellious teenagers,  without an explosion of anger.   Am I never allowed to speak out when someone hurts me,  to denounce wickedness when I see it?

Must I make myself a doormat?

I am helped when I read the gospels,  for in them I see a very different kind of love at work.   I find that Jesus could be both angry and strong,  denouncing men who would put stumbling blocks in the way of his little ones,  rebuking scribes and elders for their hypocrisy,  calling Peter a Satan for tempting him to run away,  and driving the money changers from the temple.

Lord,  teach me also how and when to be angry.   I do not want to become crotchety or bad tempered,  nor always on the lookout for slights against myself,  but neither do I want to be a moral neutral.   Arouse my indignation when others are injured,  when the strong bully the weak,  when young people squander their opportunities and rich people are blind to the needs of the poor.

I read in your word,  Be angry but do not sin;  do not let the sun go down on your anger.   Show me,  Lord,  how and when to be angry,  and how and when to be silent.   In your name I ask this wisdom and self-control.


©  Selwyn Dawson


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