Anger: My Besetting Sin, Part 3 of 3

A Lenten self-examination

There are four über-significant elements of my ongoing pilgrimage in maturation[1] in wrestling with my inner rage…

The lasting love of Pontheolla.

The impermeable patience of closest friends.

Years of soul-searching-and-searing therapy.

The daily, prayerful study of scripture.

Concerning the last, of all the Bible passages that address the matter, the reality of anger, one has been and remains formative for me: Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil.[2]

Within the context of outlining the character of the life of a follower of Jesus, the writer infers that the sin is not in my having anger (or being angry), but rather whenever I allow my anger to dictate my behavior, leading me to violate the tenets of Christian living. To sin. To miss the mark of God as the center of my life and my best self.

Coupled with this understanding, as I continue to read and reflect on the gospel accounts of the life of Jesus, I behold him as the incarnation, the embodiment of God’s love and justice, unconditional benevolence and fairness with and for all people at all times. As a follower of Jesus, I am called to do, indeed, to be love and justice. Thus, chronic anger has no place in that (my) life.

Rather, daily, in the strength of the Spirit, I now strive to live being angry about whatever provokes God’s anger. Poverty. Homelessness. Defamation and demonization of persons based on ethnicity and race, sex and sexual orientation, culture and creed. And my anger, not chronic, but rather constructive, compels me to act, individually and communally, to alleviate the iniquitous conditions of unlove and inequality.

As a poetry and music lover, the words of a newfound hymn proclaim this passion:

Inspired by love and anger, disturbed by need and pain,

Informed of God’s own bias we ask him once again:

“How long must some folk suffer? How long can few folk mind?

How long dare vain self-interest turn prayer and pity blind?”

God asks, “Who will go for me? Who will extend my reach?

And who, when few will listen, will prophesy and preach?

And who, when few bid welcome, will offer all they know?

And who, when few dare follow, will walk the road I show?”[3]

In the words of the prophet Isaiah, I answer: “Here I am, Lord, send me!”[4]

© 2023 PRA

[1] I believe that some growth-processes are life-long journeys. Yes, with a destination in view. Yet one never fully reached. Thus, my trek is “ongoing” or, as I closed my previous post, “I continue to come to a different place.”

[2] Ephesians 4.26-27

[3] Inspired by love and anger, disturbed by need and pain, verses 1 and 5; words by John Bell (b. 1949)

[4] Isaiah 6.8b

2 thoughts on “Anger: My Besetting Sin, Part 3 of 3

  1. Paul, Part 3 was fire!! I LOVED the new found hymn because it’s glorious, yet my favorite part of the post is this…..

    “Rather, daily, in the strength of the Spirit, I now strive to live being angry about whatever provokes God’s anger.”

    WOW!! I’m saving this one and truth to tell part 3 exceeded every expectation I had. Funny thing about growth, you never know how deep and how powerful it’s going to be but it puts us in a position to do big things!

    Thank you for taking us along on your Lenten journey!!



    1. Amen to growth and all that we may/can/will accomplish because of it!

      Love you, always and in all ways,


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