What makes you angry? To hear God's name slandered? Anger is certainly an appropriate reaction to injustice and wrongs committed against the disadvantaged; however, most anger mankind experiences is for slights or perceived wrongs against themselves whether real or imagined. In God's word we find examples of anger we should never hold – anger over another's goodness.
All are acquainted with the story of Jonah; however, his ride in the great fish may be the primary point remembered. Following an undignified return to the beach after those unforgettable three days in the belly of the fish, he convincingly delivered his message to Nineveh with amazing results. They made a complete turnaround! "And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry" Jonah 3:10, 4:1. Jonah had a selfish, unkind basis for his anger. It was God's goodness that had been the reason for his running from his assignment in the first place! "I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil" verse 2. Do you see his twisted, though common, selfish thinking? He was more worried about himself than all the people of Ninevah.
Jesus related a fascinating parable, found only in Matthew, of a householder who went out at various times throughout the day to find workers for his vineyard. At the end of the day he paid everyone the same amount, a full working day's wage that had been agreed upon by the first workers, others consenting to whatever would be fair. "When the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?" Matthew 20:10-15. Consider this situation. How would you have reacted?
The next time you experience the emotion of anger, do a reality check on yourself. Is it legitimate, or is it self-centered in nature or even anger because of someone else's goodness? If either of the later is the case, repent of that anger and let it go.
Kathryn Irizarry is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.