Tuesday, January 18, 2011

January 18, 2011 … Righteous Anger

Passage of the Day: Ephesians 4: a … [See underlined and bold as highlighted verse] – As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

My Journal for Today: If you followed my journal entry yesterday about “meekness,” you may have asked, “Does this mean that a Christian can never have, nor express anger? … To this you might say, “What about Jesus when He cleansed the temple (see this link, Matt. 21: 12-13)? He sure seemed angry there.”

And this certainly raises a salient point. Scripture certainly does give some license for a certain type of anger. Paul, in this same chapter of Ephesians (see 4: 26), wrote, “Be angry and yet do not sin.” So, even though we are challenged to hold the same attitudes of humility and meekness as did Christ (again see Phil. 2: 5 and Matt. 11: 29), we, as Christians, are given an outlet for so-called “righteous anger,” … the type of anger we feel when we see ungodly injustices and practices [i.e., “sin”] in our world. And that was modeled by Jesus when He cleansed the Temple of what the religious leaders had sanctioned in Jesus’ Father’s Temple (likely for monetary gain).

You will note that Jesus never got angry at those who expressed anger or hostility to Him, personally. No, Jesus only became angry when He perceived that others were perpetrating injustice or sin in the face of His Heavenly Father. He cleansed the temple because of what the people had done to deface His Father’s House. He struck back verbally at the Pharisees because of their hypocrisy toward God’s Law, His Father’s Law of Love. And likewise the humble and meek Christian can – and should – feel and express righteous anger when ungodliness prevails in our midst. However, there are always things we CAN DO in humility/meekness to express our righteous anger toward sinfulness.

I get absolutely and utterly livid when I see the propagation, promotion, proliferation, and profiteering involving sexual sin in our culture, especially since it had such a negative impact on my life, through my sinful choices in the past. Most certainly that anger, which emanates from my discernment of unrighteousness, motivates me to action. But my action is not to strike out at those who are the victims of the cultural scourge of hypersexuality, blaming them for their sin. No, my anger drives me to surrender to God and use the power of God’s Spirit, first in my own life to be pure and sober of heart, and then to use my testimony of victory and my God-given gifts to minister to those who seek to be free of the tarpits of sexual sin that surround us today in our world.

As John MacArthur points out in Strength for Today, God’s people must submit their (our) emotions to God’s Spirit, allowing HIM to control our energies and/or strengths, which may involve becoming angry and then taking action … but only at things which anger God and not our own egos. Remember, meekness is strength under control; and when we yield our righteous anger to the LORD, surrendered in humility to God’s grace, He can use HIS strength under HIS control, through our actions, to glorify Himself. As MacArthur puts it, “Under God’s control, anger reacts when it ought to react, for the right reasons, and for the right amount of time.” And this type of righteous anger will never hold grudges because it will always be under the control of God’s perfect love (see 1st Corinthians, Chapter 13).

My Prayer Today: Lord, help me to have only anger directed and focused under Your conviction and direction, allowing me to be an agent of righteousness and Your love. Amen

No comments: