A StubbornThings Symposium 10/20/15
Introduction • We are now on to our fifth of the Seven Deadly Sins. Dictionary.com defines wrath as “strong, stern, or fierce anger; deeply resentful indignation; ire . . . vengeance or punishment as the consequence of anger.” The word “wrath” implies something more than just due justice.
After all, the second Star Trek movie (starring the villain who noted the fine Corinthian leather) was titled “The Wrath of Khan,” not “The Justice of Khan” or even “The Vengeance of Khan.” Wrath implies a dollop of unhingedness wherein a Pyrrhic victory may be the result, at best. Wrath is certainly not a constructive anger.
What more is there to say about the subject? Well, I suspect this will test the mettle of the symposium writers as they eek out the meaning.
— The Editor
Seven Deadly Sins: Wrath
We are on the downhill side of these seven sins. My definition of wrath is an over-the-top anger driven by lust for retribution or vengeance (for a wrong or perceived wrong done to someone). So how does this sin become deadly?
Just like all the rest, it becomes dangerous when it consumes you, when every waking minute is all about serious vengeance, balancing the scales with extreme prejudice, or getting even at all cost. But what is it that drives wrath? Simple, right? ANGER, drives wrath. So can anger be a good thing?
We were just having a discussion about anger and a comment that was made about God was that God is Love. I had to add that I thought that was a poor representation of God (in my mind he is so much more than that). This brought about the question: Why did God give us the attribute of anger? We could have lived in the garden quite well after all, no need for anger there at all. Well, after a moment, I concluded that if we were formed in the image of God, and that God did get angry with mankind, why else would he have sent the flood or destroyed Sodom, or any of the other acts of God’s wraths brought down on us? Then we must also have that same attribute; we get angry.
Now, how do we deal with our anger? When does it rise to the level of wrath, or why do we get angry in the first place? When God does or did get mad, I think maybe it was anger caused by the damage we were doing to ourselves or to our brothers.
For those of you that are parents or have raised children, maybe you can relate to this. One of the times we, as parents, would lose it more than others is when one of our kids would seriously and intentionally hurt one of their siblings. We would get over it because the offense never lasted very long. But what if it had? What if, as in Biblical times, these offenses went on very for long periods of time? I think (and I hate to quote him, but like Bill Cosby said) we would be tempted to take ‘them’ out and start all over again. Might that be the kind of thing that could bring on God’s wrath? I certainly do not feel in any way qualified to answer that question, so I leave it to you.
I would say like almost every other word in our language we have cheapened the word wrath. We say things such as: Don’t do that or you might incur someone’s wrath. When we really mean is that we will piss them off. I think for wrath to become deadly, it has to go so much further than just getting angry. Tou really have to go over the top for that to happen. Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord. But it is OK to get angry as long as you are under control.
Jesus got angry, he did not turn over the tables of the money changers out of love. He did not make a whip just for something to do; he was upset over what they had done to his father’s house. So he displayed righteous anger…nothing wrong with that. But that anger did not stick with him. He did not carry it with him for long, like some of us tend to do.
I do not know if holding a strong grudge rises to the level of wrath, but it may be the starting point, and I am sure that it is a component. So in the end, we should be angry with evil and evil deeds; fight it whenever we see it. Seek justice.
Just like Micah says: Chapter 6:8. He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? We cannot do justice completely without some anger, but if we do not let wrath or anger consume us, then I think we will be fine.
— Pat Tarzwell was born conservative, runs a successful hi-tech business, and lives a red-state life in a deep blue one. He specializes in middle-class anger, but not wrath.
We’re all guilty of all the Sins to some degree or another, but some of them more so than others. One of those most associated with me — going back to childhood, when a friend compared my temperament to Mt. Vesuvius — is Wrath (anger). My personality when I was in high school could be considered very bilious in the sense of the traditional humors (in other words, a combination of black and yellow bile for a combined melancholy and choleric personality). Fortunately, I’ve mellowed since then, partly due to my involvement in SF fandom, partly because of the change in the composition of my music collection that began a little over 30 years ago. It probably helps that I also have gotten the opportunity to express myself in various forms (such as blog posts) — freedom of expression has many benefits.
There are two primary negative effects of a wrathful nature. One of them is physical. Even a short but severe moment of anger can send one’s heart racing and one’s blood pressure soaring. Those who are angry all the time will have such effects as a norm (though they may also become somewhat accustomed to it). It can also lead to ulcers (emotional agitation in general can affect digestion, at least in the stomach, as in fact was discovered by observation in the case of Alexis St. Martin nearly 200 years ago). There are probably other negative physical effects as well.
A wrathful personality can also have a negative influence on personal relations — especially when not dealing with close friends, who can be forgiving. My angry reaction to a computer with a hyper-sensitive mouse in a course on Windows or some such cost me a job – and they wanted me out immediately, so I couldn’t do some vengeful act on the computers at work. (This was in the late 1990s.) Oddly enough, they later found they needed work from me on a free-lance basis. But it doesn’t always end so well (and the free-lance work only lasted about a year).
There’s also the matter of where a wrathful personality can lead. Many years ago, I read an article on violence of some sort that included a bit on a man who had to take a sizable walk every day to keep himself from exploding into violence. This was stunning to me, and a good reminder of the dangers of even “ordinary” people. This sort of wrath can have many causes, many of which are linked to others of the 7 Deadly Sins (such as envy). But whatever the cause, an explosive personality can lead to explosions, which can be deadly for whoever is targeted by them — as well as the explosive individual himself. A friend of mine, frustrated by a computer bug in one of his programs (and especially by how he discovered it), kicked a chair — and marked his leg where a rod projected from the chair. (And he isn’t even considered a hothead.) Sometimes the results are far worse.
Anger isn’t always wrong; a certain amount of righteous indignation can be quite reasonable. And certainly there are times when people will do things that anger others (even though a Christian in theory is supposed to turn the other cheek). As with all these sins, moderation is essential, and even more needed than for those sins that reflect excessive desire for something.
— Timothy Lane writes from Louisville, Kentucky and publishes the FOSFAX fanzine. The only wrath he approves of is The Wrath of Khan.
THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS AS SET FORTH IN PROVERBS 6:16-19.
#4. A Heart That Deviseth Wicked Abominations, both KJV and the Peshitta; A Mind That Hatches Evil Plots, The TANAKH.
This is an interesting translation split between the “heart” and the “mind.”The heart “deviseth”, the mind “hatches”. Maybe trouble is automatically doubled when heart and mind are both involved in abominations and plots of evil.
Using the “heart” signifies “wishes” in the context I propose, dreaming of abominations one might “devise” to get gain or power. The “mind” signifies the actual “hatching and planning” of abominations and evil.
Today no one even tries to hide the plots they devise and hatch. Why does it not surprise anyone that the Pope’s blessing of a child of illegal immigrants was a set-up — choreographed and planned for a year before the event? Even a kind act no longer has meaning.
All of life has been conscripted by politics, and the blanket of lies covering all lands is always with us. The purpose of the Theater of Politics is to separate the people and to sow distrust among us about absolutely everything. No one and no act can be uniting, in any sense but what the evil ones plot.
The Peshitta defines abominations as idol worshiping, so all that goes along with idols becomes part of this fourth Deadly Sin. The third Deadly Sin, shedding of the blood of the innocent, leads directly into the fourth.
Some men and women develop no self-control when they get a taste of money and power. You can clearly see why God has warned against starting down the path of these deadly sins.
The Rules of the Deadly Sins:
The Rule of the First Deadly Sin: By their haughty look ye shall know them.
The Rule of the Second Deadly Sin: The Lying Tongues blanket the whole
land in Deceit.
The Rule of the Third Deadly Sin: In all ages the blood of the innocent is
shed by those who want to sow discord among the people.
The Rule of the Fourth Deadly Sin: The Hearts and Minds of the leaders
turn to dreaming of, then planning and promoting evil.
— Anniel is a frequent contributor to StubbornThings.
I confess to having a temper. Oh, I don’t hit people or kick kittens. I don’t berate the drive-thru girl or guy who screws up my order. (Yes, I wanted fries with that, damn it.) But inanimate objects have been known to cringe at my wrath. As a half-joke one time, I took my malfunctioning Epson printer into the parking lot and beat it with a sledgehammer. But it deserved every blow.
But regarding people, I’m more likely to clam up when I’m pissed off. If you prove yourself untrustworthy, it’s not wrath you’ll get but a cold shoulder. This may be in modern parlance “repression” but I like to think of it as British understatement.
But there are wrathful people and causes and they are probably always destructive. The Left is a wrathful cause. They learn to hate everything. Vengeance against the stated enemies becomes a part of who they are. Certainly “radical” Islam is a long-term wrathful cause which wishes to enslave mankind into a socio-political-religious groupthink. (No wonder the Left adores them.)
I can understand vengeance. If someone does you a wrong, sometimes a little payback is needed. But it seems to me that wrath isn’t about any particular act. It’s an orientation toward life. Although conservatives are dishonestly characterized by the dastardly Left as being “angry,” the opposite is the case. Yes, we get momentarily angry, but at specific things, acts, and ideas. But I’d like to think that most conservatives go home at night and love their puppies, play with their children, and don’t abuse the malfunctioning computer too much.
But I’ve seen the deep existential and character wrath wrought by the noxious and nihilistic ideology of the Left. I don’t mind being momentarily angry, but I never want to be the kind of person who makes it their life’s mission to spread their own misery to others. And the Left is very good at this kind of wrath.
I have a passion for certain ideas. And from time to time (as my friends are well aware), I can certainly get ticked off. But I’ll usually turn on a dime and find a way to laugh at the same situation, for if you can’t laugh and simply become a chronic bed-wetting, ball-fisted Liberal type, then what’s the point? I do not want despair, hatred, anger, or grievance to be an orientation. I think many on the Left have even made it their preferred “gender.”
What do you do when you meet a wrathful person? Well, I try to distance myself from them. But at some point wrath, particularly in regards to destructive organized political movements, must be met with equal force. And the day the Republicans grow a set of stones, I may warm to them again. But the only wrath they ever show is towards conservatives.
And I don’t mean to just take the political angle at wrath. But short of being blown up by “radical” Islam, the typical wrath one will run into is from those who have been made unhinged zealots by the Left. And every time I experience that wrath a valve is opened inside myself to let off any pent-up steam lest I ever go down that dark road.
— Brad Nelson is editor and publisher of StubbornThings.org. He is a sinner but assures you that he “did not have sexual relations with that woman…not a single time.”