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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Monday, February 22

Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.
—Ephesians 4:26

Anger is the appropriate emotional reaction whenever someone or something we love is threatened. Anger stimulates action. But underneath the anger, still there is love.

Gerald May writes:

Searching beneath anxiety, one will find fear. And beneath fear hurt will be discovered. Beneath the hurt will be guilt. Beneath the guilt lie rage and hatred. But do not stop with this, for beneath the rage lies frustrated desire. Finally beneath and beyond desire, is love. In every feeling, look deeply. Explore without ceasing. At bottom, love is.

What do we do with all that love? If love is the energizing cauldron of emotion, how do we channel that energy into constructive rather than destructive directions?

Paul says,

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love may be the underlying motivation for one's speech and powers and sacrifices, but if that love is exercised through anger and violence, it can become destructive nevertheless.

The model for us is Jesus, who stood up to violence and injustice, exposing it and soaking in its evil without giving it back in some violent counter-reaction. Instead, he trusted God's deliverance, unmasking wrong by forgiving perpetrators and liberating victims alike. Love expressed through love is the transfiguring way of the Light. All other expressions of love must beg God's mercy.

Inspire us with your powerful love, O Jesus, that we may be energized to protect whatever we love which may be threatened, but may do so by love, in love. Amen.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2007.