Anger: What is it good for?

Table flipping Jesus is my favorite.

I just wrote that sentence and giggled a little with a wry smile. If you know me even a little bit, you’re shaking your head thinking, “of course you love table flipping Jesus.” You can find 2 accounts of this in Mark and Matthew. Both of them contrast the difference between true anger and, what I like to call, masking anger.

True Anger

True anger primarily tells us that an injustice has happened to yourself or someone else. When Jesus walks into the temple he sees injustice happening: primarily people are profiting off of other people’s need to make sacrifices. Matthew 21:12 is where we are told Jesus literally *flipped over the tables* of the money changers. In the version I’m reading (ESV), it never says Jesus was angry, but I’ve never seen people flip tables and drive out evil men because they were feeling cheerful. So I’m comfortable assuming that he was angry at injustice.

Masking Anger

Masking anger is what the chief priests and scribes showed in reaction to what Jesus was doing. Matthew 21:15 says they were, “indignant.” Mark 11 sheds a bit more light on why: saying they were, “seeking to destroy him for they feared him.” (emphasis added)

Why? I actually don’t think it was the table flipping. It seems they were afraid that he was gaining the love and following of the people (Mark 11:18).

They feared being put out of power.

Masking anger happens when someone feels an emotion, but is uncomfortable with the vulnerability of showing that emotion. That discomfort causes the person to put up a front of anger to mask their true feeling and push others away so they don’t discover it either.

Anger is a God-given emotion too

While Precious Moments will never come out with a “Table Flipping Jesus” figurine, I can still cherish the image I have of that moment in my heart. Jesus demonstrated courage in showing an emotion that is often looked down upon, but in a way that reflects the reason why God gave us this emotion. Jesus used the energy his anger gave him, caused some waves, and achieved change.

WWJD? Go flip some tables in your life.


Photo by Francois Pistorius on Unsplash

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