Psalm 62:6-7, 9
They became enraged. (Luke 6:11)
According to St. Thomas Aquinas, anger is a strong response to a perceived threat or injustice. Anger, he taught, is not sinful when the perceived injustice is real and when the response is controlled and in proportion to the injustice. Anger can even be a good thing if it moves us to fight for good and to resist evil. But if we let anger control us, we can become so obsessed with the offense that we lose objectivity and end up ill equipped to deal with whatever got us angry in the first place.
This seems to have been the case with the scribes and Pharisees who became furious at Jesus for healing a man on the Sabbath. In their eyes, an injustice was committed—Jesus broke the Jewish sabbath restrictions—and a response was necessary. However, Jesus’ actions in no way justified their plotting to put him to death. Something was out of order.
Why did they feel so threatened? It has been said that we all tend to fear something new—especially if we don’t understand what the new thing is. The scribes and Pharisees had built a well-organized world based on ancient and cherished rituals, and Jesus seemed to be turning everything upside down. They focused so much on their fear of this new thing that they failed to recognize the healing power of God in their midst. As a consequence, they lost all objectivity.
We all become angry at times. There may even be times when we lose control of our emotions. When we feel anger rising up within us, let’s be careful not to give it full rein. Let’s also be careful not to bottle it up and let it eat away at us. Rather, let’s step back for a moment, examine the situation that has made us angry, and ask the Holy Spirit to help us act only in ways that restore justice and peace. Let’s ask him for the courage to stand up against wrongdoing and the compassion to love those who are offending us. Let’s become like Jesus, who did know anger but who never sinned.
“Father, free me from any self-righteous attitude that separates me from you. Lord, you are just and merciful. Pierce my heart with your truth so that I can become more like Jesus.”~WAU