A Theology of Anger


Fire of anger can hurt or heal

There are so many angry people in the world today. It is so prolific that it weaves itself into the fabric of our lives. Sometimes we don't know it's there but it informs our interactions with people and can be very destructive, or, it can be a catalyst for change.

Hudson (2018) describes two kinds of anger which throw some light on the good and the bad of this emotion. He speaks of 'conscious and necessary' anger and 'unconscious and unnecessary' anger. The former relates to what we might consider righteous anger. This is an anger that is activated by moral outrage or injustice and is aimed at bringing healing to an unfavourable event or situation. The latter type of anger comes from unresolved issues within us and is nearly always destructive to self and to others around us. The scriptures warn us about this kind of anger (e.g. Matthew Chapter 5). Hudson says that in his work in prisons he has often found criminals associated with violent acts as being people who suppressed significant internal anger. Mahatma Gandhi (in Homes, 2018) says the following :


"We should not be ashamed of anger. It's a very good and very powerful thing that motivates us. But what we need to be ashamed of is how we abuse it."


What of a theology of anger? Holmes (2018) goes on to say that a theology of anger is one that results in, or contributes to spiritual restoration. She offers three grounds for a theology of anger to work in this way. "Firstly, a theology of anger invites us to wake up from the hypnotic influences of unrelenting oppression (this can be seen in the uprising against apartheid which released moral and righteous anger against a despotic regime - author's brackets) ...... secondly, a theology of anger can help us set healthy boundaries, and finally a theology of anger can help translate communal despair into compassionate action and justice-seeking." (adapted by the author).


In closing I leave you with this quote which forms the conclusion of the chapter written by Holmes. I believe that this process would change the fabric of our South African society from one of suspicion and at times downright hatred, to a unified society where anger can be replaced with peace and love. I would appreciate your comments on this. Here is the quote :


"If we take a theology of anger seriously, first we come together, then we grieve together, then we consider where we are and where we are going, If there is opportunity, we engage in deep considerations of cause and effect , and we listen for the whispers of the Holy Spirit. Forgiveness is a process, not a quick antidote to hatred's slow acting poison. Our health and wholeness require that we take off our masks of Christian piety and do the difficult work of acknowledging our anger, our vulnerability and our pain. It is this contemplative work that moves us toward forgiveness, for when we recognize our own human frailty, we can more easily forgive the fragility and feelings of others."


In conclusion I say to my readers, particularly those in the church, how can we take up the challenge and implement this process of healing. Using a theology of anger we work through Christ and the Holy Spirit to bring about change - peace and unity in our society. Even if we start small, with one region, diocese, church - we will make a difference that will cause ripples into the far reaches of society. Let us take up this challenge and make a difference. I would really like to hear what you say about this. Please use the comment section at the bottom of my blog to share.


#sociahealing #constructiveanger #theologyofanger #socialjustice #typesofanger #healingpowerofanger


Reference :

Various Authors. 2018. Oneing - An alternative orthodoxy- Anger. Center for Action and Contemplation. (6), 1.

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