Good and Bad Anger – Part 2

By Engr. Carlos Cornejo

The third kind of anger is the good one.  It’s sometimes referred to as just anger or rightful anger.  The Psalmist implies this when he writes, “Be angry, and sin not” (Psalm 4:4).

It is the kind of anger of a parent for example to a child who has not done his school work because the kid was busy playing computer games the whole day.  The parent has to express clearly his or her emotion of anger so as to send the message to the kid that what he has done was very wrong.  Otherwise, if the mother will just put on a sober face while reprimanding the child, it could be misinterpreted by the kid that mommy is not angry after all and therefore I could do it again.

St. John Chrysostom says, “He who is not angry when he has cause to be, sins.” If we don’t get angry when we are supposed to be angry, more bad things happen.  If the mother had tolerated the misdeed of her child, it would have made the kid more lazy.

The same saying is echoed by Edwin Burke, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”  To be angry at the lawyer who got the drug pusher free on a technicality is not sinful, especially when your son is lying in a coffin after an overdose of a drug bought from that pusher.  Not to be angry in this case would be more sinful than almost any conceivable anger.  To be angry at a doctor who makes a fortune running an abortion clinic and pressuring distraught mothers to let him kill their unborn babies is not a sin.  It is something holy.  To see a crippled or retarded child and be angry at the doctor whose gross negligence was responsible for it, is not a sin.  It is godlike reaction.

For God himself has wrath according to Scripture.  And to be like God is not sinful.  Therefore, not all anger is sinful.  And Jesus got angry.  He got so angry at the moneychangers in the temple that he became God’s bouncer and whipped their unholy business out of his own holy house, as a father would beat up a robber who was breaking and entering his own family’s house.  He repeatedly got angry at the Pharisees for binding heavy burdens on the poor and not lifting a finger to help bear them, and for their own icy arrogance and self-righteousness.

God’s anger is directed to our sin but not on us sinners.  God hates sin as a doctor hates cancer because it harms the patient.  In the case of sin, God hates it because it harms our soul, takes away our happiness and could send us to hell.  “Hate the sin but not the sinner” is the formula for unconditional love.  Parents always do this with their children.  Hating the bad action of the child but still loving the child.  In fact, the hate comes from the love of the parent, hating what is harmful to the child.  And because of that same love, parents do something to discipline the child.