An Examination of Sins and Virtues: Anger

By Kenny Kiratli

Kenny Kiratli ('17) attends Northwestern University.

Posted: October 23, 2015

As humans, we are often faced with unfavorable circumstances–financial trouble, the mishandling of valuables, injury and the like–that expose our inner feeling of anger.

Experiencing this anger, however, is an inevitable aspect of the world that we live in. Just as someone would naturally experience joy if they were hired for a dream job, they would also naturally experience anger if they were fired from that job two weeks later for no good reason.

Anger, along with happiness, sadness, terror and confidence,isbutafeeling;itisanemotionalstatedeter- mined by events and happenings in our everyday lives. Why, then, is this feeling one of the seven deadly sins?

It’s our destructive response to anger that adds an element of unholiness to this innocuous emotion.

In happiness, we jump for joy. In sadness, we cry. In terror, we scream. In confidence, we achieve. In anger, however, we sin.

When experiencing anger, one may respond with a flicker of indignation, a series of inappropriate re- marks, or even a full-blown episode of harmful rage. All of these things are damaging and draw us further from the divinity of God.

To avoid acting negatively on anger, we must con- sider a few key factors.Anger itself is not a sin. We are not deemed sinners if we experience the feeling of an-

ger. Again, it is natural and out of our control to feel angry; if someone kidnaps your daughter, there’s not much you can do about the overflowing sense of an- ger that will be felt as a result. Killing those who took your daughter, however, is an egregious instance of acting sinfully out of anger; therefore, the threshold is broken once we put our feeling into destructive action.

Even with anger at our cores, we are still able to act favorably in the eyes of the Lord, through what is referred to in the Bible as “righteous indignation”.

For example, in Matthew 21, an angry Jesus stormed into the temple and overturned tables that were be- ing used to sell goods. Although the sellers may have been hurt financially by Jesus’ actions, His work was done in what was right: He was able to channel His boiling anger and put it towards honoring His Father.

Jesus did not physically injure any of the sinners in the temple, nor did He curse at those who were buy- ing the illicitly marketed goods; He did not sin, but rather, attempted to cleanse the holy place of worship.

We must accept anger as something that is unpre- dictable and hard to control. Likewise, we must also understand that because we will experience anger almost every day, we are given many opportunities to channel this feeling positively; to use it to right the wrongs in our lives; to help rectify injustices.

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