Ephesians 4:26 reads: “Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger…” Housekeeping Hints by Phyllis Diller, chapter 7, page 98 says: “Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.”
While we might want to emulate Ephesians, we may actually follow Phyllis! The emotion of anger is fundamental and all too familiar in human relationships.
A mess of mixed messages complicate how to think about and process anger, especially for women. Are we compelled to let it go at the end of the day? Is it sinful to be angry? How do we make sense of Jesus’ turning over the tables at the temple?
The Psalms offer sometimes surprising ways to express and contend with anger. Within these texts we discover that anger was hardly taboo to the Hebrew people. They recognized both anger’s righteousness and its risk. By venting anger in prayer and communal liturgy, they staved off toxic, dangerous manifestations of it in their personal lives.
This message is excerpted from the Bible study “No hard feelings?” by Anna Madsen in the September 2019 Gather magazine. Today we commemorate Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, martyr, c. 258.
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