The difference between anger and anguish

Rev Mark Pexton of Leven Baptist Church
Rev Mark Pexton of Leven Baptist Church

Bob was one of the leaders in a church I used to attend.

He was one of these larger-than-life characters … always with a smile, a light-hearted quip and a joke.

If ever you had something burdening you, five minutes with Bob and he’d have you laughing and feeling better about things.

Bob knew how to laugh and it was infectious. He was fun to be with.

He also practised what he preached.

He used to sacrificially give of himself in service to others.

One day, someone came to the church with many needs, looking for support.

Bob, as was his way, made himself available for this person.

Over a period, Bob gave of his time and gave considerable financial support to him in order to try and help him make a fresh start.

However, it then started coming to light that this person was not as genuine as Bob had at first thought.

It turned out that his motive was more about trying to get money than genuinely wanting support.

When I heard about this, I went round to see Bob.

When I arrived, I expected to find him extremely angry at this person for deceiving him and for the embarrassment he had caused.

But, instead of meeting with anger, I was met with anguish.

Bob spent the evening weeping for and praying for this other person.

Bob was far more concerned for this other person, who had missed an opportunity for a fresh start in life, than he was for his own reputation or financial loss.

What the church needs to demonstrate today is more people like Bob (and believe me, there are many ‘Bobs’ in the church).

What we need today is not anger but anguish; the kind of anguish that Moses displayed when he broke the two tablets of the law and then climbed the mountain to intercede for his people.

The kind of anguish that Jesus displayed when He cleansed the temple and then wept over the city.

The difference between anger and anguish is a broken heart.

It’s easy to get angry, especially at somebody else’s sins; but it’s not easy to look at sin, our own included, and weep over it.