The Anger of the Age

By Rev. David Wilson Rogers |  November 4, 2018

            Ephesians 4:26-27 says, “Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil.” This is a struggle because today there are some really good reasons for Christians to be angry.

            In spite of God’s command to be stewards of the Creation, greed, power, and political prowess have consistently raped the planet of natural resources without regard for the future of our earthly home. In spite of God’s commend to love one another as Christ has loved each other, humanity has chosen the path of hatred and racism. In spite of God’s call to welcome the stranger and care for those in need, we live in a nation that derides immigrants as somehow less than human and systemically chooses to create new systems of discrimination that deny health care, affordable housing, meaningful employment, and quality education to the most vulnerable in our nation. In spite of proclaiming the Name of Christ as a means of healing, wholeness, grace, and love, much of the Church resorts to the name of Christ as a powerful weapon of control and punitive guilt which forces its vengeful hatred upon people who God loves, but the Church apparently hates. In spite of God’s call to trust in the Lord and not in human power or rule, countless Christians trust in authoritarian power from government, the destructive threat of military prowess, and the presumed virtue of money to be their god rather than the One True God who created us all in love. Yes, there are good reasons for a Christian to be angry.

            There is essentially no sin in being angry. It is the natural emotional response God gave humanity that helps us face adversity and challenge. In many instances, it can be a powerful motivator. Unfortunately, it is also a motivation force that can also be easily, and demonically, manipulated. When political leaders stir up fear and anger against immigrants and economic factors beyond their control, it is not leadership or Christian. It is sin. When whole populations are relegated to less-than human status and greeted with raged simply because of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, class, or national origin, it is anger given over to Satan. It is, as the writer of Ephesians so eloquently warns, letting anger make room for the devil.

            Amid these angry times, it is good that we also remember the wisdom of God in the Sacred text. Romans 12:21 calls us to never be overcome by evil, but let God’s goodness within us overcome evil and in 12:17 not to ever return evil for evil. Jesus tells us in Luke 6:29 that we are to face opposition by turning the other cheek. Ephesians 6:12 illustrates the issue. “For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

            When facing the manufactured anger and media-driven rage that permeates so much of our culture—a rage that defies God’s will and calls for discrimination, deportation, hatred, and exploitation of the earth’s resources all for political and personal gain—Christians must stand in faithful opposition to the “cosmic powers of this present darkness” that would seek only to destroy God’s creation and God’s people. Be angry, yes. However, in not letting the sun go down on our anger and making room for the devil, we must also remember that if, in our anger, we are indistinguishable from the sin we seek to overcome, our anger serves no holy purpose.

            Christians, now is the time to stand for Christ and break with the lies, politicized rage, manufactured anger, and populist fury that presumes to place America First while only making ample room for the devil!