The following is an edited transcript of the audio.
Is anger more dangerous than lust?
I believe anger is more dangerous, because over time, for example, in a marriage lust can raise its head like a dragon on your shoulder—as C. S. Lewis pictured it—and do sudden and immediate hurt. But anger can seethe day after day, week after week, year after year, and come out in so many oblique expressions of demeaning behavior, neglect, and lack of attention that I think it can undermine a relationship more subtly and with more long term damage than the dragon of lust can.
Most men and women understand the battles that rage in the male mind and heart with regard to lust; but I don't think most couples understand the way anger works and how relentless disappointment in a marriage or in a friendship or in a job causes a kind of low grade anger that yields a death to all the positive emotions that make relationships worth living.
So if we can't get a grip on or a relief from and a solution to the anger issue, it will probably undermine relationships—especially marriages—more deeply and more long-term than lust does.
How do we root out our anger?
I think the key is probably, ironically, discovering the exceeding sinfulness of our sin, owning it, being broken by it, and then tasting as never before the sweetness of the cross of Christ, the blood of Christ, and the forgiveness of Christ.
Because once you taste the sweetness of forgiveness—knowing the magnitude of your own sin—two things happen.
- A future is opened to you, because Christ forgives all your sins and takes away the condemnation that should justly come to you.
- You realize that whoever is making you mad hasn't done anything towards you of the magnitude anywhere closely approximating what you've done to God. Nevertheless God has treated you with mercy and broken your heart, and now in your brokenhearted hopefulness about the future you just can't get mad as easily. You can't hold a grudge against a person for the way they've treated you if you've really tasted how big your faults are against God and how great the forgiveness is and how huge the price was in the cross.
So I think the solution lies right at the center of the Christian faith: namely, Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, taking away all our sins. But you won't ever taste that as anger-relieving sweetness until you know how great your own sins are.