The Oasis - January 17, 2024

Author: Rev. Eric Dupee
January 17, 2024

     In worship on Sunday, we will look at the story of Jonah and the Whale. We might think of it as a children’s story, but a prominent theme in the book of Jonah is anger. Jonah, who had been thrown overboard during a storm, was swallowed by a whale. After three days, he was vomited onto dry land. 
     God called him to go to the city of Nineveh and preach a message of repentance. When he did, the city responded. The whole city, including the King, repented of their evil ways and God was pleased. However, we read, “But this was very displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry” (Jonah 4:1).
     Anger is counted among the 7 deadly sins.  Anger is, of course, a normal emotion.  It’s a great motivator.  Often, it's not until a person gets mad about something that he or she will fix a problem or correct an injustice.  Apparently, anger plays an important role in human survival.  It's often the impetus to stand and fight.  
Years and years ago, I remember hearing a sermon in which the preacher suggested that that if you're not angry, there's something wrong with you.  There is so much needless suffering and waste and injustice going on around us, if you're not angry, you're not paying attention.
     I’m of the belief anger is counted among the 7 deadly sins, not because anger itself is bad, but because it can lead to some pretty bad things.  The author of Ephesians wrote, “Be angry, but do not sin.”  In the words, go ahead and get mad.  Don't try to deny your feelings.  Just don't let them lead you to sinful behavior. I believe there are primarily two sins to which anger can lead.  First, anger can lead to violence.  The second thing to which anger can lead is depression.  It's often said that depression is anger turned inward. 
     In the end, Jonah’s anger does not get resolved. However, we have instruction from the book of Ephesians. The author writes, “Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.” 


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