Then there was the cursing of the fig tree for having no fruit at breakfast time and the whole pile-it-on rant against the scribes and Pharisees. Again, Jesus got angry because there are Just Some Things in This World that justifiably rile us for the love of God. Jesus was often angry about injustice and hypocrisy and spiritual laziness.
But Jesus was never angry about loud music as far as we can tell. He was never angry about people whose skin color was lighter or darker than his own. He was never angry about strangers in the neighborhood. Actually, he was often that stranger.
I can’t say whether or not Jesus had a temper in terms of general disposition towards angry outbursts and impatience. I can say that Jesus was one to temper justice with mercy, to temper heated moments with grace.
What we need are fewer tempers and more tempering.
Most of us can’t get our heads around a person who would fire a gun at teenagers whose “rap crap” was too loud. It turns out that the teenagers didn’t have weapons in their Dodge Durango, although Michael Dunn explains that he shot at Jordan Davis and his friends in the Durango because he saw a gun. He stood his ground and shot Jordan Davis and then continued to shoot at the car as they drove away.
Mr. Dunn seems to have a bad temper. He lost control. He had just left his son’s wedding before the shooting, so you’d think he would have been in a good mood.
On the other hand, tempering their understandable rage are Jordan Davis’ parents. Nobody could blame them for cursing the heavens – and Michael Dunn. But they are grateful now for a glimpse of justice. Jordan’s father said that “his calmness through anger and grief honored the memory of his son.”
The world needs cooler tempers and more passionate tempering. There is nothing we can say to Jordan’s parents except that many of us worship a God who knows what it’s like to lose a son to violence. Honestly, we have got to get a grip on our anger and fear.
Image of Jordan Davis who would have been 19 last weekend.