The Surprising Glory of Anger

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Our dark emotions are stained emblems of the sure, solid image of God. Our ugliest, most destructive emotions reflect something of the glory of God; consequently, they reflect, however poorly and darkly, the glory and honor of our humanity. They’re like a photographic negative. A negative is an inversion of what really exists. Everything that is black is a reflection of what will be light.

What do our darkest emotions reveal about God’s glory?

To understand God’s character, we must look at what our dark emotions reveal about His glory. How does our unrighteous irritation, frustration, anger, rage, and fury reflect the glory of God?

The fury to shame and annihilate reflects the righteous rage God intends for us to feel in order to mock the Evil One and destroy sin. The anger that possesses another in order to fill emptiness points to the jealousy to protect others that God intends for us to feel. The dark side bears the imprint of what God intended.

How is dark rage an inverted picture of His bright, lovely intention for anger?

Oddly, even our unrighteous desire to destroy still reflects a legitimate, God-honoring fury. The Psalms are full of imprecatory fury. An imprecatory psalm is a bloody plea for God to destroy an enemy, a howl of indignation demanding that evil suffer:

O Lord, by your hand save me from such men, from men of this world whose reward is in this life. (17:14)

But do not kill them, O Lord our shield, or my people will forget. In your might make them wander about, and bring them down. (59:11)

May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous. (69:28)

May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow. May his children be wandering beggars; may they be driven from their ruined homes. May a creditor seize all he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor. May no one extend kindness to him or take pity on his fatherless children. (109:9-12)

[Happy is] he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks. (137:9) (NIV)

It is not enough merely to see the enemy killed. The psalmist wants him staggered, shamed, wiped out of the book of life. And not only should he suffer, but his children and wife ought to bear the onus of his crimes. It is even preferable to see his children’s heads smashed against a rock.Cry of the Soul

Christians are never angry enough.

We have learned to distance ourselves from anger, irrespective of whether it is righteous or unrighteous. And when is righteous anger not stained by unrighteous motivation? Never. Equally, unrighteous anger will always reflect a hint of what and how we are to hate. If our anger must wait for perfect purity to be honored and expressed, then we are better off as frozen, unfeeling automatons.

Our human anger may sometimes need to be silenced, but other times it may need to be spoken. Our hope must be that our anger will grow more righteous as we are shaped to the contours of God’s anger. If we allow ourselves to join God’s fury and then focus on what we are to hate—evil, sin, ugliness—our hearts may discover a new dimension of the character of God.

To dive deeper, check out The Cry Of the Soul by Dr. Dan B. Allender and Dr. Tremper Longman III

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