Q Is anger sin? I feel angry a lot. I try to get rid of it, but can’t seem to. It feels like a curse. Help!
A Anger, just like the other four primary emotions—fear, sadness, guilt, joy—is a good gift from God. In the same way the primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) form the basis for the many variations of color we enjoy, so too, the primary emotions underlie the many ways we are able to express what we feel. They color our lives.
Rather than sin, appropriate anger is a normal response to a situation that is unjust or unfair. Your anger is telling you something is wrong. And it is providing the energy needed for the hard work of resolving the problem(s) that gave rise to angry feelings.
However, if what makes you angry (a real or perceived injustice) is not able to be resolved, anger is likely to build within you until it has to be discharged. In that case something small can trigger an explosion of anger, which is generally not a good thing and can feel like a curse.
Anger that cannot be discharged appropriately needs to be given up voluntarily. We pray, “Forgive us our debt as we forgive our debtors.” Think of the anger that you have a right to as a debt owed to you—for example, someone treated you or others unjustly. It’s not fair!
When you forgive the debt owed, you are also set free from your accumulated anger. In the same way Christ bore the injustice of our mocking voices, so we too sacrifice our right to justice for ourselves and loved ones. In that sacrifice we are set free.
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