What is the churches teaching on anger? It seems contradicted as Jesus spoke against it, but we see that He got angry and aggressive in his actions, to the point he would have been arrested for destruction of property in our day.
There is anger against bad things that have happened to us,
and there is anger against those who have harmed us.
The first kind is justifiable. We have the right to hate what has happened to us.
The second kind is the problem. If we are so angry against others that we may do them harm out of revenge, this is not permissable.
Of course, sometimes the bad things that have happened to us and which we have legitimate anger against was also caused by others. That’s where it gets complicated.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” seems to get us throught these complications.
Feelings are not sinful.
It’s how we respond to them, and the way that we speak and act upon them, that can be sinful.
If our anger is nurtured causing injury to our goodness and love, and if it results in our causing harm to others, or we turn to blasphemy, then that is when we sin.
What we learn from the Catechism regarding anger:
Some counseling I received from one of our priests about anger touched on the difference between righteous anger and that which is not. His example, or one of them, was that if you see someone being abused in some way, anger at the injustice is a good and normal response. How much you let the anger control you is where it gets to be an issue. Since I’m paraphrasing here, I’m hoping that his message comes through.
But what about Jesus, when he turns over the tables and smashes things and calls the pharisees spider and a lizard. He is beyond anger and becomes aggressive. He was ripped and for good reason, i’m just curious about the aggression part of it. I don’t mean to be difficult, just a thought.
As Jesus was fully human he experienced human emotions. I heard a psychologist talk about selfish anger as what we do when others or the world doesn’t do what we want it to do for us. It is a kind of selfishness. It expects others to act according to how we would like them to act rather than according to virtue. Does that mean we can not have expectations of others? No, it just means we have to put God’s will first, rather than our own desires, and be patient with others, hoping for the best from them, encouraging them in virtue.
Jesus was upset with the money changers, not because he was selfish like a 6 year old throwing a tantrum because he is not getting his way, but because they acted contrary to virtue. They had setup their tables in the area that was designated for gentiles to worship. Thus they had turned a house of prayer into a den of thieves. The gentiles had no place to worship. This is a sign of the times and was one of the things Jesus would literally overturn through his death and ressurrection. His overturning of the tables showed that God was in the house and was taking ownership by removing from it those who were corrupt.
Jesus had come as prophecied, as God who himself would sheppherd his people. And the blind guides would be cast aside. There are many spiritual parralels happening in this scene between God, his people, and what He is doing. The signs of the times are apparent. The writing is on the wall. And it is very exciting to say the least.