Skip to main content

🚨 URGENT: Mere Orthodoxy Needs YOUR Help

For Sunday: The End of Anger

June 24th, 2007 | 2 min read

By Matthew Lee Anderson

When I was young, I had a frightening anger problem.

I would throw things, bite people, kick and do whatever it took to get them to understand the depth of my rage and respond as I wanted them to.

As I grew, I began to become less angry with the world. I learned to lose gracefully and not let the full force of my anger descend upon my neighbor. I had beaten the giant.

Or so I told myself, at least. The changes in my behavior were carefully managed changes because I quickly realized a simple fact about the world: cute women don't like angry men.

Anger, however, has not departed from my soul. Rather, it has taken on more subtle, more pernicious forms. And in recent weeks, I have become to come in contact with the deep, still frightening anger that I have toward God.

I now realize that anger is not a sociological problem--it is a theological problem. It is a theological problem.

In the Epistle of James, James writes:

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

I had heard that part a thousand times. Only recently did the next verse grab me:

Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

The "implanted word" is the remedy for our anger as it is the restoration of our proper relationship with the Divine. The recognition that "every good gift and every perfect gift is from above" and that we have been created to "be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures" is the end of anger in us, as it is the recognition that we do not have control over our lives or the people around us.

At the heart of our anger is our rebellion against the King. When we cede the throne and acknowledge that it is only in Him that we live, move and have our being, then we will discover the freedom from anger that allows us to have joy without regret.

Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is an Associate Professor of Ethics and Theology in Baylor University's Honors College. He has a D.Phil. in Christian Ethics from Oxford University, and is a Perpetual Member of Biola University's Torrey Honors College. In 2005, he founded Mere Orthodoxy.