The Problem of Anger

I have been thinking a whole lot about anger over the last couple of years. This most probably has got to do with an ever deepening and disturbing realization that there is more anger within me than I had ever realized before. Most of my anger comes out of fear; when I am afraid I get angry. Of course, when my will is crossed by circumstances or people, that also brings it out. The world is a very angry place, and I know that mine contributes to the whole. Jesus, have mercy!

One cannot help but think about the many instances of the anger of God in both the OT and NT. A most vivid example is Ex. 19 where God warns Moses twice to make it clear to the people not to break the boundary on the mountain “lest YHWH break out against them” (Ex. 19:12-24). To “break out” (Heb. parats) suggests that YHWH will not be able to help Himself; He doesn’t want to “lose it” but inevitable will go berserk if holy boundaries are not respected and maintained.

The question before us is this. How can we humans that suffer so much from unrighteous anger, both our own, and as recipients of the wrath of others, even begin to understand divine wrath? It seems to me that our culture, both secular and religious, can make no sense at all of it. How can we even begin to understand anger and wrath in the spiritual life when so much of what we see of it is destructive and hurtful?

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