Anger: Who's Your Master?


"When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly." 1 Peter 2:23

To be human on this side of the fall of Genesis 3 is, among many other things, to fight against the inclination to take revenge upon those who offend you, whether in thought, in word, or in deed. Jesus, as Peter reminds us, exemplified for us the true meaning of humility, and trust in the faithfulness and purposes of the Father in the midst of being wronged by another.

Commenting on Peter's writing, John Calvin observed, "For such is our disposition, that when we receive injuries, our minds immediately boil over with revengeful feelings; but Christ abstained from every kind of retaliation. Our minds, therefore, ought to be bridled, lest we should seek to render evil for evil."

Ed Welch, author of "A Small Book About a Big Problem: Meditations on Anger, Patience, and Peace," challenges our reading and application of Peter's reminder concerning how Jesus carried out his ministry in the face of persecution:

"Does this [Jesus' example] leave you deaf, blind, and mute in the face of of personal injustices? No, it leaves you so that you are not mastered by the injustices of others. Anger might feel powerful but it is not. It renders you a servant of the one who hurt you."

In the face of harm, wrongdoing, and injustice, who's your master?

One of the most uncomfortable truths for the modern mind is this: Even when we legitimately occupy the position of victim, we who claim the name of Christ must not sin in response, but walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called (Eph. 4:1).

Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles (p. 90). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.