As my eyes welled up with tears of rage, I cried, “I’m tired of trying so hard to be the Proverbs 31 woman at the expense of losing the dating game. I’m not even playing the 21st Century Edition! I’m playing the Bible Edition (and I may be the only one at the table). If men are really looking for Ms Proverbs 31, why are they forever snared in the trap of Ms Proverbs 5? Seriously! Are women being taught to behave one way while men are being taught to pursue the opposite?”
Righteous Anger – an oxymoron?
You may be thinking, “I thought it was a sin to show anger! I mean, after all, doesn’t Ephesians 4:26 say ‘don’t let the sun go down on your anger’?” Yes it does, but the first part of the verse states, “Be angry and do not sin.” The apostle Paul recognizes that we will be angry. He is cautioning us to not sin as we respond to our anger. If you need further convincing from the scripture that anger is an acceptable emotion, let me remind you of the actions of Jesus in the temple:
“Then they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves; and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple. And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL THE NATIONS’? But you have made it a ROBBERS’ DEN.” The chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching.”
Mark 11:15-18 NASB
Not only was Jesus angry, but he took dramatic action! Now I’m not a theologian, but my understanding of this practice of buying and selling of the sacrifice livestock, was that the merchants were weighing down the scales to make profit off of what was supposed to be sacrificial giving to God Almighty. That is why Jesus accused the merchants of turning the temple – the physical house of God – into a den of robbers. This is a vivid example of a righteous anger.
The other lesson that we can glean from Christ’s action, is that even an appropriate response to a righteous anger will offend others. Jesus’ actions at the temple drive the religious leaders to plot his death. Jesus died less than a week after this action. There is a cost to standing up for righteousness.
Righteous or Narcissistic
So how do we know if our anger is a righteous anger, or a deep hurt to a crushed dream or seeming unfairness? Let me answer by paraphrasing conclusions I made after reading Anger, by Gary Chapman. Ask yourself where does this anger originate? If it’s based off of an injustice or can cause you to make a positive difference in your sphere of influence, chances are it’s righteous. If the anger is eating away at you because of how it personally offended you, or disrupted your plans, chances are it is not righteous. It isn’t wrong to have the feeling of anger, but it is important to recognize the trigger and how to respond appropriately to the personal offense so that you can communicate more effectively to the offender in the future.
My Personal Call to Action
When I finally gave my counselor a chance to speak, she replied with, “Well, write a book! You’re clearly passionate about it; write about it!”
So here I am, never married Renee, sharing how I survive as Ms Proverbs 31 in this 21st century world. I cannot promise that if you heed my advice, you’ll be walking down the aisle within a year. But maybe you’ll receive something better. Maybe you will experience freedom from the chains we share in common with Hosea’s wife, and instead sing with the Shulamite woman, “I am my Beloved’s and he is mine!”
If anger eats at you, and is effecting your personal relationships, I urge you to read Anger, by Gary Chapman. Don’t base your opinion of him based on my application of the book.