He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. - PROVERBS 16:32
Gospel Text: (LK 19:45-48)
Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out
those who were selling things, saying to them,
“It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer,
but you have made it a den of thieves.”
And every day he was teaching in the temple area.
The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile,
were seeking to put him to death,
but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose
because all the people were hanging on his words.
There is such a thing as a healthy or righteous anger. This is the kind of anger that Jesus felt toward the scribes and Pharisees. This is the type of anger one feels regarding injustices in society: abortion, poverty, discrimination, corruption, war, etc. This is the kind of anger one feels when one has been deeply wronged. Anger is healthy when it helps someone to identify the offense and lead him or her to deal with it in a constructive way. Anger is constructive when one can identity a wrong or an injustice and take positive measures to change that wrong. Examples of righteous anger are found in Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Cesar Chavez.
Denying anger or repressing it can cripple people in a number of ways: morally, spiritually, emotionally, socially or physically.
Anger becomes sinful when it evolves into resentment, hostility, revenge and destructive behavior. Hostility and revenge are warped ways of seeking justice. Righteous anger seeks true justice and retribution; hostility and revenge seek to destroy and to “even the score.” In the end, the one who exacts such “punishment” is, in effect, hurting (destroying) themselves and their loved ones; instead, righteous anger can lead to constructive changes for individuals and for society.