I have been reading Bonhoeffer’s chapter on “The Brother” chapter 9 in The Cost Of Discipleship
Here Bonhoeffer says that “Jesus will not accept the common distinction between righteous indignation and unjustifiable anger.” This is challenging to me personally as I have often spoken to people about the need for Christians to shirk the fear of being angry, the reason being that I saw little use in the false kindness I saw in many Christian’s lives (and that this was often times their only serious ethic). I thought that some honest expression of anger would bring truthfulness to community. Perhaps this is what Bonhoeffer is talking against and perhaps he is right; I am interested to know if we are talking about the same thing. I am wondering if what I have called “righteous anger” should in fact be called something else; we will see.
He goes on to say that, “The disciple must be entirely innocent of anger, because anger is an offence against both God and his neighbor. Every idle word which we think so little of betrays our lack of respect for our neighbor, and shows that we place ourselves on a pinnacle above him and value our own lives higher than his. The angry word is a blow struck at our brother, a stab at his heart: it seeks to hit, to hurt and to destroy. With our hearts burning with hatred, we seek to annihilate his moral and material existence. We are passing judgment on him, and that is murder. And the murderer will himself be judged.”