Friday, February 1, 2008
3 Nephi 12:21-26
21 Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, and it is also written before you, that thou shalt not kill, and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment of God;
22 But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of his judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
23 Therefore, if ye shall come unto me, or shall desire to come unto me, and rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee—
24 Go thy way unto thy brother, and first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I will receive you.
25 Agree with thine adversary quickly while thou art in the way with him, lest at any time he shall get thee, and thou shalt be cast into prison.
26 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence until thou hast paid the uttermost senine. And while ye are in prison can ye pay even one senine? Verily, verily, I say unto you, Nay.
(Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 12:21 - 26)
Anger is almost never my friend. It is an emotion that I think everyone struggles with from time to time. I can read instances in the scriptures where it talks about the Lord’s anger, and it begs the question, when is anger appropriate? Some passages of scripture that discuss anger include: (note: the “a” in these verses represents the word anger or angry)
Gen. 27:45 Until thy brother's a. turn away
Gen. 49:7 Cursed be their a.
Ex. 11:8 went out from Pharaoh in a great a.
Ex. 32:19 Moses' a. waxed hot
1 Sam. 20:30 Saul's a. was kindled against Jonathan
Ps. 37:8 cease from a., and forsake wrath
Prov. 14:17 He that is soon a. dealeth foolishly
Prov. 15:18 he that is slow to a. appeaseth strife
Prov. 16:32 slow to a. is better than the mighty
Prov. 19:11 discretion of a man deferreth his a.
Prov. 21:14 A gift in secret pacifieth a.
Prov. 22:24 Make no friendship with an a. man
Prov. 27:4 Wrath is cruel, and a. is outrageous
Eccl. 7:9 a. resteth in the bosom of fools
Matt. 5:22 a. with his brother without a cause
1 Cor. 13:5 is not easily provoked
Eph. 4:31 bitterness ... and a. ... be put away
Col. 3:8 put off all these, a., wrath, malice
Col. 3:21 provoke not your children to a.
Titus 1:7 a bishop ... not soon a.
1 Ne. 16:38 stir up their hearts to a.
2 Ne. 4:13 a. with me because of the admonitions
2 Ne. 4:29 not a. again because of mine enemies
2 Ne. 28:20 stir them up to a. against ... good
2 Ne. 28:28 a. because of the truth
2 Ne. 33:5 no man will be a.
3 Ne. 11:30 to stir up ... men with a.
Moro. 9:3 continually to a. one with another
D&C 5:8 mine a. is kindled
D&C 10:24 he stirreth up their hearts to a
See also Ex. 4:14; Deut. 1:37; 4:25; 9:18; Judg. 2:12; 1 Kgs. 15:30; Neh. 9:17; Ps. 85:4; 103:8; Isa. 1:4; 48:9; 65:3; Jer. 8:19; 32:30; Jonah 4:9; D&C 1:13; 60:2; 63:11, 32; 84:24; Moses 8:15.
These passages suggest that anger is a bad thing. But we also have these scriptures:
Ex. 4:14 anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses
Num. 14:23 (Ps. 95:11; Heb. 3:11; D&C 84:24) sware in my wrath, they shall not enter
Deut. 1:37 (3:26; 4:21) Lord was angry with me for your sakes
Deut. 4:25 (9:18) do evil ... provoke him to anger
Deut. 6:15 (7:4; 2 Kgs. 13:3) lest the anger of the Lord thy God be kindled
Deut. 29:28 Lord rooted them out ... in anger
Judg. 2:12 followed other gods ... and provoked the Lord to anger
Judg. 2:14 anger of the Lord was hot against Israel
1 Kgs. 15:30 provoked the Lord God of Israel to anger
2 Kgs. 17:20 Lord rejected all the seed of Israel
2 Kgs. 22:13 wrath of the Lord ... because our fathers have not hearkened
Ps. 7:11 God is angry with the wicked every day
Ps. 85:4 cause thine anger toward us to cease
Ps. 103:9 neither will he keep his anger for ever
Isa. 1:4 provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger
Isa. 30:27 Lord cometh ... burning with his anger
Isa. 48:9 For my name's sake will I defer mine anger
Isa. 51:17 hast drunk ... the cup of his fury
Isa. 65:3 provoketh me to anger continually
Isa. 66:14 his i. toward his enemies
Jer. 7:20 mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place
Jer. 10:10 nations shall not be able to abide his i.
Jer. 32:30 provoked me to anger with the work of their hands
Ezek. 21:31 pour out mine i. upon thee
Ezek. 22:24 nor rained upon in the day of i.
Nahum 1:6 who can stand before his i.
Mark 3:5 looked round about on them with anger
John 3:36 believeth not ... the wrath of God abideth on him
Rom. 1:18 wrath of God ... against all ungodliness
Rom. 2:8 unto them that are contentious ... i. and wrath
Eph. 5:6 because of these things cometh the wrath of God
Col. 3:6 for which things' sake the wrath of God cometh
Heb. 10:27 fearful looking for of judgment and fiery i.
Rev. 14:10 wrath of God ... poured ... into the cup of his i.
Rev. 16:19 great Babylon ... the fierceness of his wrath
2 Ne. 1:17 God should come out in the fulness of his wrath
Alma 12:36 iniquity provoketh him that he sendeth down his wrath
Alma 40:14 fearful looking for the fiery i. of the wrath
Ether 2:9 his wrath shall come upon them
Ether 14:25 Lord did visit them in the fulness of his wrath
D&C 1:13 anger of the Lord is kindled
D&C 5:8 stiffnecked generation—mine anger is kindled against them
D&C 19:20 repent, lest I humble you with my almighty power
D&C 29:17 because of the wickedness ... mine i. is full
D&C 59:21 his wrath kindled ... who confess not his hand
D&C 60:2 hide the talent ... mine anger is kindled against them
D&C 63:11 with whom God is angry he is not well pleased
D&C 63:32 I, the Lord, am angry with the wicked
D&C 93:47 must needs stand rebuked before the Lord
D&C 97:24 i. of the Lord is kindled against their abominations
D&C 109:52 may thine anger be kindled, and thine i. fall.
These passages of scripture suggest that the Lord Himself gets angry from time to time. Why is that? A careful study of the passages involved will show that when God is angry, it is because we are doing things that will ultimately damn our souls. It is His intent and desire that we do those things that will bring us joy and happiness. As we sin through our bad choices we are acting against our own best interest. We are doing something sinful because we expect it to give us short term pleasure without realizing the long term consequences of our actions. Those actions are usually motivated by pride and selfishness. As we sin, we distance ourselves from our Savior; we are rejecting the atoning sacrifice that He made for us. In effect, we are telling the Savior that we don’t care that He suffered for our sins. We don’t care that He bled from every pore, so great was His agony for our sins.
The Lord’s anger is intended to bring us back to Him. Think of how you parent a child. Typically, I have a carrot (incentive to do good) in one hand, and a stick (disincentive to do bad), in the other. I always hope that the carrot will work, but if a child is going down the wrong path, and the carrot can’t motivate the child to do what is right, then my love for the child necessitates using the stick from time to time, to get the child headed back in the direction that will ultimately lead to his/her best interests.
The challenge with us is that so often our anger isn’t motivated by love for another, rather it is usually motivated by selfishness, i.e. I’m, not getting what I want out of any given situation and it’s making me angry. When I’m angry it’s all too frequently because I’m not getting what I want, and not so much because I’m concerned that you’re doing something that will harm you. Understanding the underlying factors of anger should help us learn to control it better. As I am less focused on what I want, and more on what does the Lord want, my feelings of anger, resentment, jealousy, and pride diminish and are replaced by the fruits of the spirit which are:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
(New Testament | Galatians 5:22 - 26)
What are your thoughts?