The Double Wound

Martin Luther King Jr. was on stage speaking when suddenly a white member of the Nazi party attacked him. As the guards rushed to pull away the wrath-filled youth, King responded calmly: “I am not interested in pressing charges. I'm interested in changing the kind of system that produces this kind of man.” Here we see the stark contrast between wrath and gentleness. Wrath is what our desire for justice and fairness looks like perverted. This vice warps our love because it doesn’t defend the good, it defends the inflated ego. This habit is especially vicious because it strikes both the victim and the attacker, creating a double wound. Like a wedge driven between two objects, wrath always creates greater separation. If we are to make a start at living as just and fair human beings, we must recognize the difference between wrath and anger. Wrath is unrestrained anger. It’s an irate river, flooded by a rainstorm. Anger, however, is beneficial. It’s designed to urge and spur us to defend the good, to act, to move, to rectify injustice. Wrath is always wrong. It doesn’t want to rectify anything, it wants revenge.