Anger?

Psalm 137     By the rivers of Babylon— there we sat down and there we wept when we remembered Zion.   On the willows there we hung up our harps. For there our captors asked us for songs, and our tormentors asked for mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How could we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?    If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither! Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy. Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites the day of Jerusalem’s fall, how they said, “Tear it down! Tear it down! Down to its foundations!” O daughter Babylon, you devastator! Happy shall they be who pay you back what you have done to us! Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock!        Anger?  Of course. At loss and injustice and the evil done to us. Righteous anger at bigots and racists and oppressors and those who rob children of their innocence. All bursting into flames.  So satisfactory.    Philosopher Martha Nussbaum says anger essentially is always wrong, a mental error we do well to eliminate in ourselves and our children because it's really about retaliation.  The Psalmist may agree, unapologetically.  And so do I until I read a little more of what Nussbaum has to say:    "Mohandas Gandhi, utterly repudiating anger, and apparently successful in not feeling it, showed the world that non-anger was a posture not of weakness and servility by of strength and dignity."    She places Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela as living from the same stance.  I'd like to add Jesus to the list.    

Psalm 137

By the rivers of Babylon— there we sat down and there we wept when we remembered Zion. On the willows there we hung up our harps. For there our captors asked us for songs, and our tormentors asked for mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How could we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?

If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither! Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy. Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites the day of Jerusalem’s fall, how they said, “Tear it down! Tear it down! Down to its foundations!” O daughter Babylon, you devastator! Happy shall they be who pay you back what you have done to us! Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock!

 

Anger?  Of course. At loss and injustice and the evil done to us. Righteous anger at bigots and racists and oppressors and those who rob children of their innocence. All bursting into flames.  So satisfactory.

Philosopher Martha Nussbaum says anger essentially is always wrong, a mental error we do well to eliminate in ourselves and our children because it's really about retaliation.  The Psalmist may agree, unapologetically.  And so do I until I read a little more of what Nussbaum has to say:

"Mohandas Gandhi, utterly repudiating anger, and apparently successful in not feeling it, showed the world that non-anger was a posture not of weakness and servility by of strength and dignity."

She places Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela as living from the same stance.  I'd like to add Jesus to the list.