In a previous blog I introduced the book Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortland. My favourite chapter was on the emotional life of Christ. He has fascinating things to say about emotions generally and the emotions of Christ. He focuses on the relationship between Christ’s compassion and his anger.
Our emotions are diseased by the fall, of course, just as every part of fallen humanity is affected by the fall. But emotions are not themselves a result of the fall.
Sin is restrained my emotions of compassion; what would unrestrained emotions of compassion be like?
It is an inner life of perfect balance, proportion, and control, on the one hand; but also of extensive depth of feeling, on the other hand.
Perhaps we feel that to the degree we emphasize Christ’s compassion, we neglect his anger; and to the degree we emphasize his anger, we neglect his compassion. But what we must see is that the two rise and fall together.
What we are saying is that, yes, Christ got angry and still gets angry, for he is the perfect human, who loves too much to remain indifferent. And this righteous anger reflects his heart, his tender compassion. But because his deepest heart is tender compassion, he is the quickest to get angry and feels anger most furiously—and all without a hint of sin tainting that anger.
Are you angry today? Let us not be too quick to assume our anger is sinful. After all, the Bible positively orders us to be angry when occasion calls for it (Ps. 4:4; Eph. 4:26). Perhaps you have reason to be angry.
In that knowledge, release your debtor and breathe again. Let Christ’s heart for you not only wash you in his compassion but also assure you of his solidarity in rage against all that distresses you, most centrally death and hell.