We are very often told in Sacred Scripture to be at peace with all men.
However, do we not also have the right to be (righteously and properly) angry with epople when they intentionally do wrong to us or others and even to express that anger (but not in an irrational/personal way, of course)? I have always believed in what I call a “reasoned anger” – an anger that is mad at the person for sinning but not mad at the person for being a person, in other words, an anger that is upset at the badness of the sin but does not want to blot the person committing it out of existence or something like that. I think most also define this as indeed a “righteous anger”.
The only problem with this is that very often righteous/reasoned anger results in such a way that the otehr person, usually out of offended pride, responds with irrational/“unrighteous”, if you will, anger. In both instances, one could argue, a lack of “peace” is created between the righteously angry and the unrighteously so.
We could also argue that our being righteously angry with someone very often causes them to stumble into sin when they become unrighteously angry. So, then, in some sense, when we show righteous anger, we can often be sure that we are, in some sense, causing the other person to sin. Would this, then, be considered scandalizing the other person by having a good feeling that a person is likely to, even momentarily fall into the sin of unrighteous anger? Even if that person eventually takes our words to heart and learns how horrible their sin is and not to sin because of our strong reaction to it?
Indeed, Christ Himself, I would argue, often expressed righteous anger at sin, particularly of the Pharisees which, obviously, caused discord between them to the point that they had Our Precious Lord crucified! Christ didn’t seem, still, to ahve a problem with this or even with causing them to fall into sin. And certainly Paul and, arguably, all the other Apostles experssed righteous anger with their flocks when they were intentionally and obviously sinning.
Some may counter, though, that these men were men in positions of authroity and thus had the right to exercise it in the way they do, with firmness. However, I would argue that firmness often results from righteous anger at the sin and rarely from sweet and easy feelings about it. I would also ask what exactly gives someone only in authority the right to be righteously angry and takes away from those who are not the right to express what they genuinely, sincerely and, I would argue, properly feel? To my mind, it is very good to be angry about sin and even with those who do intentionally sin. Sure, we can mitigate even this anger if we know Factor X or Y may have sadly influenced some sinful act, but I’m speaking of out and out sin that has little to mitigate an angry response to it. But, yes, each situation is very case-dependent.
Are we never to express righteous anger against anyone for fear that peace will be destroyed and/or for fear of scandalizing them in some way? Are we rather, insincerely and unnaturally, to be all nice and sweet to everyone every time no matter what they do?
Sort of related to the righteous anger question is the question of satirical anger as expressed, in modern times by folks like Stephen Colbert and in former times by many great writers of many great civilizations. Is even this permitted or not in the context of maintaining peace with all men? After all, satire is mainly presented to attack in a more humorous but also pointed (arguably righteously angry) way the sin/wrongdoing and not the person behind it (or, at least, it shouldn’t be). There may, indeed, be no direct hatred of the person in it, just a despising of the sin/wrongdoing. But, again, such satire may make people, even for a moment, unrighteously angry do to pride. So, then, what of this? Is even this permitted if we are told to be peaceful with all men?