Archive for August 22nd, 2018

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1a violent and uncontrolled anger

b a fit of violent wrath

The etymology of “rage” is rooted in the word “rabies” which is contracted from a dog or animal with the disease.  It causes madness.  We see much spoken rage these days in the media, protests ( for instance, in the ‘60s, see “Days of Rage” which was  violent wrath against war!), internet and conversation.  Rage is not good as it is a cause of violence.  I was thinking about the expression, “it’s all the rage”:

4: a fad pursued with intense enthusiasm, as in “it was all the rage”

Rage’s first definition should cause us pause.   This reminds me of another common word, “fan” which is short for fanatic.  Fanatics engage in all the rage. This is all spoken of as a good thing.

Anger so easily morphs into rage, even in ordinary settings.  A local  grocery store owner told me that on several occasions, when the customer was told that the store did not carry a desired item, the customer(s) has thrown down what they were  about to buy in disgust and left.  It seems so many have such short fuses. In these days we tend to define ourselves by what we are angry at and what we are raging against.  Please understand there is much to be angry at, so contrary to God and His Law  and Gospel, and so perverted that it invites anger and rage.  If something upsets us, then we are not indifferent to the evils we deplore and might do something about it.  As it is written in Ephesians 5: 

11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.

Indifference to the evils we deplore is the greatest enemy to let evil have it’s way.

Yet  as Christians, we can not let this be an excuse for even more rage and be defined by it.  Our self definition can not come from our self.  Our self is the Old Adam.  Our self is enmeshed in original sin and the Lord has freed us from that driver.  When we feed our self, even our soul, with anger and rage it only and always wants more. The motivation for the first overt and horrendous sin was anger:

 So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”

This admonition from Ephesians 4 concerns an evil which is just as widely distributed:

26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.  

The apostle makes use of Ps. 4, 4, according to the Greek translation. It is a warning against the sin of anger. The emphasis being on the second part of the command, the meaning can best be given by the rendering: When you become angry, do not sin. Do not your anger rule over you.  The apostle is considering the fact that even Christians, being obliged still to contend with their old Adam, are harassed with angry thoughts and do not let the Old Adam define you as you  are gracefully defined by the Lord in your identity as a baptized child of God.

There are two things which the Christian will keep in mind:

First, that he does not permit angry desires to break forth in words and deeds;

Second:  that he does not cherish anger in his heart.

Should your heart be agitated by anger, Paul means to say, do not permit the desire to be realized, flee from the sin of anger in terror; and do not permit anger to take root in your heart overnight, let the provocation be what it may, lest the irritation become a steady feeling of resentment and hatred. To this the warning is attached: Neither give place to the devil. The Christians should always remember that, in letting anger control them, take possession of their heart and mind, they are giving opportunity to the devil to sow dissension and many other forms of mischief in the Church.  It can even result in murder in both thought and deed. (modified from Pr. Paul Kretzmann’s Commentary on the Bible) 

These days rage is all the rage.  We will be angry and sometimes justifiably and understandably so at evil. We become angry with our children when they do wrong.  Don’t let this be an opportunity for the devil but for prayer to the Lord that He might rule us in truth and love as we are admonished also in Ephesians 4:

31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

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