Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sinful Anger versus Godly Anger

Edwards, from "Charity Contrary to an Angry Spirit," preached in 1738:
Persons sin in their anger with respect to the occasion of anger when their spirits are stirred at the faults of others chiefly as they affect themselves, and not as they are against God. We should never be angry but at sin. This should always be the evil which we oppose in our anger; and when our spirits are stirred to oppose this evil, it should be as sin, or chiefly as it is against God. If there be no sin, then we have no cause to be angry; and if there be a fault, or sin, then the sin is infinitely worse as it is against God than as it is against us, and therefore requires more opposition upon that account. Persons sin in their anger when they are selfish in it. Men are not to act as their own or for themselves singly, for they are not their own, as has been lately shown. When a fault is committed, wherein both God is sinned against and they are injured, they should be chiefly concerned and their spirits chiefly moved against it as it is against God, as they would show themselves to be more concerned for God's glory than their own temporal interest.
All anger in men is either a virtue or a vice. There is no middle sort which is neither good or bad. But there is no true virtue or goodness in opposing sin unless it be opposed as sin. The anger which is a virtue is the same which is called "zeal." Our anger should be like Christ's anger. He was like a lamb under personal injuries. And we never read of his being angry but in the cause of God against sin. So we read, Mark 3:5, "He looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts." Thus anger may be unsuitable and unchristian with respect to the occasion or cause of it.
—Jonathan Edwards, Ethical Writings (vol. 8 in the Works of Jonathan Edwards; ed. Paul Ramsey; New Haven: Yale University, 1989), 276–277.

No comments:

Post a Comment