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The Rev. Charlie Camlin: “Anger” (Ephesians 4:26-27)

March 23, 2008

This past week the Rev. Charlie Camlin of Holy Trinity REC in Virginia completed his Lenten series on the Seven Deadly Sins with the sermon Anger.  This sermon, using Ephesians 4:26-27 as its base, looks at there being both righteous and sinful types of anger, and this is what Fr. Camlin says about sinful anger:

Now having seen that there is a righteous anger that is not sinful, let us explore the anger that is a deadly sin. The anger that I have in mind here is an anger that is out of control. It is what the Roman poet Horace called “momentary insanity.” When God accepted Abel’s sacrifice and rejected Cain’s, the text says, “Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.” And what did Cain do next? He lured his brother into the field and slew him in cold blood. This is a prime example of the sin that our Lord spoke of in the Sermon on the Mount when He said: [Matt 5:22] “But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.” Cain did not have any cause to be angry with his brother. In fact, we might say that he could have displayed righteous anger toward himself and his own sinfulness. If he had done that, he could have repented of his sinfulness and offered a sacrifice that was pleasing to God. But instead, he nursed his sinful anger until it turned into hatred and then into murder.

The Book of Proverbs reminds us: “An angry man stirs up strife, and a furious man abounds in transgression” (29:22). The deadly sins are “deadly” because they lead to other sins. The reason why this type of anger is one of the 7 deadly sins is because it leads to hatred. Peter Kreeft has noted that hatred is the worst sin of all because it is the opposite of love—which is the greatest good. St. John writes in his first epistle: “He who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes” (2:11). Anger is a deadly sin because it leads to hatred and may lead beyond that to slander or even murder.

For Fr. Camlin’s explanation of the Gospel’s cure for this sin, please read the entire sermon.  Truly this has been a most edifying series.

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