Righteous Anger

one response
| November 20, 2017

Today, false peace and niceties can often take precedent over truth and reality. Living within society, we can find ourselves remaining silent or passive in order to avoid confrontation or uncomfortable situations. While there are times it is best to maintain civility or hold the peace, there are also times when anger can be righteous. In fact, there are moments when anger is the correct and most justifiable response.

In Scripture, Jesus teaches us limitless things through His life. His message is one of compassion, understanding, mercy, truth, love, gentleness, and tenderness. These are beautiful and serene, and it is a peaceful image of Christ.

However throughout His life, Jesus does not forgo truth in order to maintain the appearance of peace. In fact, Christ reacts in passionate and firm anger on several occasions. We find Our Lord angry in response to the hard hearts of the Pharisees and the greed and dishonoring of moneychangers in the temple. We even see Jesus’ anger directed towards Peter when He calls him ‘Satan.’

At first, these actions of Jesus may startle us. However, just like Our Lord’s moments of tenderness, His moments of anger can point us to the path of Love and Truth.

Righteous anger is a reaction to love meeting opposition and hardness of hearts. When the source of anger springs from this, it is love speaking truth.

Speaking truth is not always popular or comfortable. Truth can unsettle and divide because faced with truth one must choose to accept it or reject it. Inevitably, the division begins as soon as one raises their voice against opposition.

It is Our Lord once again who shows us the way. Christ does not shy away from speaking the truth even when it is disruptive. He does not need the admiration or approval of those who would oppose truth. This is not because he does not want to bring peace, but he knows that real peace does not come from falsity or rejection of truth.

In our own self-interest we can find ourselves remaining silent or even speaking with insincerity in order to gain acceptance, popularity, admiration, or status. We may even become flatterers offering false praise and support in order to obtain our own selfish motives. Some may even be convinced that flattery is love because it feels good for both the receiver and the giver, but in the end the subtle poison of flattery leads to broken relationships, lost confidence, and even the destruction of a person.

Our Lord does not flatter. He does not offer us false assurances. He only offers us his love, which is always in his truth. Sometimes this love manifests in righteous anger. But, Our Lord’s righteous anger never causes him to leave us or withdraw. His anger does not end relationships or close doors. It is always an invitation. Our anger must always be rooted in Christ’s anger, one that is a reaction to hard hearts and an invitation to love.

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  • Juan R Velez

    Perhaps I would end saying “Our anger must always be rooted in love” to paraphrase a passage from St. Paul to the Colossians. But I think you make a very good point. One of the great ills of our time is a false tolerance for everything that replaces a search and respect for the truth about things. And a tolerance is that is really only tolerance only for the beliefs of some. It is, in fact, a tyranny, the “tyranny of relativism” to use the words of Cardinal Ratzinger.