Self Righteous Anger

Jesus cleansed the temple while yelling and throwing things. In any modern-day setting, I personally would avoid taking similar action to Jesus when he took on the vendors and money changers in Jerusalem. Justifying turning over tables and chairs in anger is something that I simply cannot excuse for myself. I would consider my thinking misguided if I took every extreme or dramatic example of Christ’s behavior and deemed it appropriate in my life today. This passage from Mark is not a justification of self-righteous anger.

"Justifying turning over tables and chairs in anger is something that I simply cannot excuse for myself...."

Believing that I am right when I am miffed is a recipe for disaster. An entire spectrum of gray must be considered when I contemplate taking action when I am angry. The most confusing times of my life have been clouded by rage. Rarely have I made sound decisions in anger. When I look back at regretful and embarrassing moments, I know that in many of those times, anger has been a factor.

Anger is a confusing emotion...

Let’s be honest, anger makes money, invites clicks, gathers followers and gets views. If you wanted to, in an instant, you could read one of many op-eds, listen to a variety of podcasts, or find numerous YouTubers built on the foundation of self-righteous anger. Freedom can be found in not needing to be right all of the time, even if you think you are justified. As a recovering addict living well with a mental health diagnosis, as soon as an invitation to self-righteous anger is presented to me from within, I have to be on high alert. Anger is a battle that I will not win. It will turn me sideways and upside down. Laying down arms, thinking, and feeling are the best ways forward.

Give up the fight...

Jesus’s behavior seems to be all over the place sometimes. Christ made a racket in the temple. The Messiah rebuked and shouted at Peter. However, we cannot forget that Jesus primarily taught and preached about love. Love is the key to everything. When I am angry, if I give enough time for love to rise to the surface, I give myself a better chance of treating others and myself well.

Make sure to comment below and join the conversation!

Seth Perry

Seth Perry

(he/him/his) Pastor- Mental Health Recovery Educator- Blogger


9 Responses

  1. Pastor Seth….as an older adult (the very earliest of the Baby Boomers), I find it interesting that your view of anger is so closely tied to the predominant media of your generation, ie.: “Let’s be honest, anger makes money, invites clicks, gathers followers and gets views.” I believe that people of my generation prefer to say, “Who cares?” to those social media elements…and I pray that social media does not dictate our behaviors or our anger.
    Now, setting that social condition aside, in my experience “self-righteous anger” often is spurred by a perceived insult, a bruise to our ego, or, worse yet, a moment when we realize we may have been wrong but are loathe to admit it and use anger to disguise that fact.
    But, as a child of the 1960s (undeniably influenced by the social conditions of my generation), I have to defend righteous anger…anger that inspired hundreds, and thousands to face arrest, injury and in some cases death, to join Martin Lutheran King in joining peaceful demonstration, and protest against mistreatment and injustices imposed on an entire race, the righteous anger that led generations of women to peacefully demonstate (and often be jailed) in their lengthy and determined fight for the women’s rights and the right to vote. In those situations, anger accompanied by courage, conviction, and the ability to inspire others to stand up for a cause, wrought change, change that was justified and necessary. There is a place and a time for anger, channeled thoughtfully and appropriately, but it is not the anger of “self” rather the anger of injustice. Jesus saw the temple corrupted …religious leaders putting a price on faith and allowing it to be imposed on the masses. Admittedly on that day he acted in anger, but he went on to preach, to teach and inspire others, to lead a peaceful movement that eventually swept across the earth–anger channeled into action.

    1. Absolutely. These points are incredibly valid.

      To your point… I have always come from a place and perspective of privilege. People who look like me, are the same gender as I and who have grown up under the same circumstances as myself have unfortunately commoditized the spread of anger and I believe it is prevalent in North America. As an individual living with a psychiatric condition I believe I am vulnerable to influences like this… which is why I said:

      “Justifying turning over tables and chairs in anger is something that I simply cannot excuse for myself….”

      I appreciate your comment.

  2. I don’t think self-righteous anger in society today will not stay a lot longer in this particular History Epoch., I think I have I felt it though- regarding times such as these 🙁 Well to do friends , folk I know I have NO clue how much money they have!! I know what kind of people they are…people that I would trust with my life and help saving’s one. And, I know of “financially wealthier people” who are the KINDEST Down to Earth people, and generously happy people not to mention those how have taught the concepts scratching and surviving. And the one who will never have a proper balanced meal. These are things for me to get angry about, and it isn’t self-righteous. than No better way to think of the Entire population of World” living a spiritual life as a child. Jesus loves not just small children, but children like you and me. 51 years ago i became a child of God. I am taller and wider but he still has a bunk bed for me and it is nice to come for a visit or longer Giving up a soul to life with God is FINANCIALLY advantageous whether they are or not As One Tin Soldier Song states: “people always get their just reward…sing with me 😉 Because the ultimately joyful “and singing hearts and those ones oppressed, you reap what you sow. And you are sowed to be a growing, wonderful seed/love of God’s own eye. The self-righteous angry have to have a heart to heart. Its in there and the light of Jesus will scatter the darkness leading to eternal bliss.

  3. Seth LOVED the “time to let your anger to subside and love to come.” THIS. WAS.A MONUMENTOUS comment. 🙂

    1. I a passionate about helping newly recovery addicts and people new to mental health recovery. The first obstacle is always letting anger go and letting love arrive to heal.

  4. You are right on the mark concerning certain expressions of anger, Pastor Seth, a surface emotion I have been battling to control for years. However, I also agree with what Leilani stated above, since she and I appear to be of a similar age. To be sure, I think these are two different types of anger. Rev. Kenneth W. Wheeler, a retired ELCA pastor, author of US – The Resurrection of American Terror, carefully explains righteous anger from a perspective of pain suffered due to racial injustice over many decades.

  5. Seth,

    Having said that and the gifts you bring, my opinions have been strong…since the day at the Tool Kit in Forest Lake with the impossible question and comment I made. I regret it. I hope that by my comments in later blog entries that I have righted my wrong…you are a GOOD young Pastor…I hope you continue to learn from ALL people as God seems to have given you that ability. For this guy, I have said all I have needed to say. Time to move on…the Spirit is guiding me that way. Thank you for the endless ways that you have shared yourself with us and “Your blog”. As a parting favor to me, I ask that you post this or if not it gets passed to you and you really listen to what I have said…I, too, am a child of God, recovering, STILL from a mental illness. To the Rock I’m still clinging, but I am happier than ever.

    The peace of Christ which passes ALL understanding, Keep your hearts AND your minds in Christ Jesus,
    A tout a’leure. May see you again SOME day
    In Christian love,

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