After seeing Spiderman 3 last night I was struck with how easily anger can creep into the heart of every man -- even Spider-man. I must admit that I often fail to obey the command to be slow to anger, especially as a parent. But what is the source of this sinful anger? James 4:1 says, "What causes (or what is the source) of quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?"
According to James, we have angry conflicts with one another because our passions or pleasures have become so intense that they are at war within us. Some of these desires are not necessarily bad but when we let them "camp out" in our hearts they can become stronger and sinful. Our deceitful hearts are capable of coveting something to the degree that we are willing to sin and wage war in order to get what we want.
Spiderman's anger came from a heart that was filled with hurt over the loss of his grandfather. This hurting heart wasn't dealt with and so it turned to anger and revenge. His good desire for justice waged war within his members and grew to be a sinful desire for vengeance. Likewise, the Sandman experienced pain in his heart over the choices he made that led to him not being able to see his daughter, but this pain quickly turned to a lustful pursuit of money in order to get what he wanted but could not have.
So last night as I finished watching the movie I asked myself this question: "What's going on in my own heart when I feel angry?" I thought of a lot of things, but realized that anger is often a secondary emotion. Most of the time my sinful anger flows from a heart that hurts inside or a heart that wants the approval and acceptance of others. Can you relate? So what do we do with this anger?
Spiderman can actually teach us something here. He finally came to terms with the truth about his grandfather and was willing to forgive. For us as believers we must come to terms with the truth about who we are and what is causing us to be angry. And then as James goes on to say in the same chapter, submit ourselves therefore to God, drawing near with a humble heart remembering that He opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6-8).