On Facebook a mom friend of mine brought up an interesting point about anger and weakness.
It seems she is living in a rental apartment complex where many of the tenants do not have the same convictions about respecting something that is not yours. The way her neighbours are treating the property makes her very angry, but she sees it as being weak.
As a spiritual director I have seen this quite often, especially from women/moms, who have been taught that to be angry is to be weak because Jesus was never angry.
Oh now I beg to differ with you.
As Catholic/Christians we often confuse anger with sinfulness. As faith filled women we are taught that being angry is not womanly, nice, the right thing to do. But we must remember that all emotions have no moral weight, it how we use them that gives them that weight; that Jesus himself had and used all emotions that emotions are tools given to us by God to help us navigate the world. And Anger is one of them.
Remember that Jesus is angry in several Gospels. His anger stems from issues of injustice – the cleaning of the temple, he finds the disciples asleep Jn 11:33 – basic need for support is taken away/promises not kept, in Mark 3:5 Jesus basic convictions are challenged when he heals a man with a withered hand. Anger has a purpose: it protects us from being harmed – when our basic convictions are threatened, it gives us the strength to stand up for ourselves. The sin comes when we use anger to be destructive instead of constructive. The sin comes when we use anger to attack others out of our own pain within being willing to work on the problem with ourselves or them. Anger is most destructive when we use it to enhance our own self esteem, become judge and jury over others, or use it to control others.
These Jesus never did and the Church would call these anger reactions as sinful.
Note: A word about sin. For centuries when we heard the word sin we would become spiritually paralyzed unable to receive forgiveness; we would go to Reconciliation and come away still berating ourselves. For many the word sin is/was seen as a label that marks you as unchangeable.
The Church recognizes sin as a separation of ourselves from God AND neighbour. Often sin is a result of deep hurt that makes us want to hurt not only God but also ourselves. We can no longer see ourselves as the daughters of God that we are, that is sin.
Think of sin as it TRULY is deep woundedness that must be healed. Reconciliation is going to God to discuss what has hurt you, and for God to listen with love and give you that healing hug you so desperately need.