The role of anger in the Christian life seems problematic. Our contributors help us discern when is it a necessary spur to recognize and confront evil, and when it becomes a capital vice, or "deadly sin," we must avoid.
"A person who cannot get angry is seriously defective," Bob Roberts explains. But he warns that inappropriate anger can become habitual, and then things get ugly: "When anger gets deep and pervasive in a life it really does kill love and everything lovely." To counter this, Ryan West explores the Christian tradition for practical guidance, including the anger antidotes of watchfulness, practicing virtue, and prayer. In the Gospels, "the way Jesus handles his anger provides a model for Christians today," Steven Voorwinde writes. So, why were early Christians so reluctant to say God (or Christ) is ever angry? Michael McCarthy notes, "They were deeply sensitive to the destructive consequences of human anger, and feared it would be the context in which believers came to understand divine wrath."
Dan Johnson and Adam Pelser explore why "we reserve our severest wrath for those we love most." Julie Exline asks, "Can we be angry at God and still love God?" And Nathan Corbitt introduces prophetic artists who are helping their communities deal with abuse, torture, and trafficking, and the anger it causes.
The study guides and lesson plans integrate Bible study, prayer, and worship to help us understand the role of anger in the Christian life. The guides can be used in a series or individually. You may download and reproduce them for personal or group use.
- "Anger in the Christian Life," by Robert C. Roberts
- "Getting Rid of Inappropriate Anger," by Ryan West
- "Jesus and Anger: Does He Practice What He Preaches?" by Stephen Voorwinde
- "Divine Wrath and Human Anger," by Michael C. McCarthy, S. J.
- "When Love Turns to Anger," by Daniel M. Johnson and Adam C. Pelser
- "Getting Angry at God," by Julie J. Exline
- "Righteous Indignation," by Heidi J. Hornik, on Domenico Beccafumi’s Moses Breaking the Tablets of the Law
- "Consuming Fury," by Heidi J. Hornik, on Giorgio Vasari’s The Damned Soul
- "Zeal for God’s House," by Heidi J. Hornik, on Ippolito Scarsella’s Christ Driving the Money Lenders from the Temple
Hymn and Worship Service
- "Bringing Anger into the Light," by Trevor Thompson
- Lytta Basset, Holy Anger: Jacob, Job, Jesus
- Robert C. Roberts, Spiritual Emotions: A Psychology of Christian Virtues
- Stephen Voorwinde, Jesus’ Emotions in the Gospels
- Amy Lyles Wilson, ed., Anger: Minding Your Passion