Growing up in the South, it's considered unladylike to show any kind of anger. And if your a man, it's considered unmanly to cry. At least that's what I saw growing up. Earlier this week, I had an outburst of the rage kind. I kept myself in check as best I could before I let my anger get out of hand, but I was riddled with guilt about it. One of the reasons I felt guilty was because avarice or anger is a mortal sin. However, I'm not so sure that feeling anger is sinful. Holding it in or not forgiving the person or letting it get out of hand and become vengeful is sinful, but feeling anger, I don't think is a sin.
I use Jesus as my example. It was what I kept repeating to myself all day yesterday. John 2: 13-17
The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, "Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father's house a marketplace" His disciples remember that it was written, "Zeal for your house will consume me."
Can you imagine what anger Jesus must have felt? He comes to the holiest place for Jews and here are people selling cattle, sheep, and doves as sacrifices for God (either to purge oneself of sin or to worship God). But that's not the worst of it, there were money changers there so obviously these animals are part of business, a money making scheme. Can you imagine walking up to church and there's people sitting outside selling watches and purses for profit? I'm not saying for a good cause like raising money for a mission trip or a new basketball hoop for the youth group, I'm saying making money and putting it in one's pocket for one's own use. Or maybe a better analogy would be a person sitting outside selling the Holy Eucharist to you for profit. Wouldn't you be a bit pissed off? You'd probably start thinking blasphemy and start yelling at the person or grabbing back the host.
So too did Jesus yell and even make whip out of cords and start whipping people on the back sides so that they would leave the temple area. He was mad. And then people asked him, "why are you doing this"or as the Bible says "what sign can you show us for doing this?" Jesus doesn't answer them straight. Instead he tells them that "destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up" So not only does he feel that the money changers and the animal sellers are exploiting people and defaming the temple building, he feels that this is a direct reflection on him the temple the physical, human flesh with a human and divine nature. And that people are intent on destroying that too.
So does that make my anger okay? Perhaps. I think feeling the anger was fine. Now was why I was angry justified, that I'm not entirely sure.
But let's explore the flip side: sadness. There are several times in the Bible were Jesus felt fear and anguish.
John 11: 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved.
John 11:35 Jesus began to weep. (some translations are Jesus wept)
John 11:38 Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it.
Jesus's friend dies and instead of being the stoic God. He is disturbed, upset, and weeps over his friend's death. So yes, God, and yes also a human man wept. So there's nothing wrong with a man who cries.
And God loves. As a parent, he loves us more than we love our own children. And he gets angry and he weeps. He's emotional. So too, do I think being emotional is perfectly fine. Trying not to be, I think is where the problem lies.