Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Blow Torch

"Be angry, and sin not; let not the sun go down on your wrath."

I've heard the above verse quoted all my life. Usually it was followed by a warning to not go to bed angry, and a sermon (formal or not) on the evils of anger.

I have a problem with that. If anger is so bad, why does the passage say to be angry in  the first place? What it the verse doesn't mean what everyone seems to think it does? What if it's telling us to not let our anger go down and lose power like the setting sun? 

Oo-oo. That puts a whole new spin on it. I know the verse warns about sinning (that would be, being angry at a person and not at an injustice or an unwise way of thinking)... but just imagine for a moment if we have been getting it wrong for generations and that this has prevented us from righting wrongs that have gone unchallenged. The Scriptures say that God is angry every day. Ouch! And what exactly was Jesus doing when He cleansed the temple with an improvised whip? teaching Sunday school? 

Blowtorches are useful tools
but dangerous weapons.
Anger is like a flame. Out of control, it can cause great damage. However, if used as a tool, it can accomplish great things, just like a blow torch: refine the flame, make it hotter and more efficient, and use it the way it was intended, and it can do things that we couldn't hope to do otherwise. 

Abraham Lincoln was angry that people were buying and selling other people as property. He turned up the heat - and when others caught the fire, there was a lot of damage done, granted - but he refined that flame and brought freedom to the oppressed. The suffragettes were angry that women were denied the vote. You get the picture. 

It's when we use it on each other that it becomes wrong. That's when the fire can burn out of control because the blow torch was never meant to touch human flesh. It was meant to do a specific job - to build, to help, to cut through obstacles. It was never meant as a weapon. 

It was also never meant to be concealed or denied. Believing that anger is wrong and denying its existence is like having a blow torch on and trying to put a blanket over it. It will burn the blanket, for one thing! It will also come out in an area you never intended it to ... and the results of that are not pretty... The outcome is far worse than grabbing hold of the torch the way it was meant to be used ... and treat it with the respect it deserves.

No comments:

Post a Comment