Do you ever have those times when you think of a blog idea and then that wise voice inside your heads say, “Uh, bad idea…better not.”? But the idea nags and nags and eventually you find yourself at your laptop typing it out in spite of the wise voice? That would be this post.
I’ve been hearing a lot lately about righteous anger. And I’m a little tired of it to be honest. I understand where Christians get this from. Ephesians 4:25 says (quoting Ps.4), “Be angry and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your anger.” And so you hear often about how you can be angry and not sin and I even heard today how sometimes we are commanded to be angry. People will use Christ as an example and talk about how he cleansed the temple and how God gets angry.
ENOUGH. I looked through the Bible and as far as I can tell this is the only verse that even comes close to “commanding” anger. I can quote several for the opposite. I also can’t think of a single time in my own life that my anger didn’t lead to sin, whether that was actually an action or just thoughts. I think for humans it is very hard to be angry and not sin. So let’s look at this verse in its context (the whole chapter would be best but for space…):
“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Eph. 4:25-32, emphasis mine
I find it really interesting that immediately after saying, “Be angry and do not sin” the Bible warns us that anger gives the devil an opportunity in our lives. It further tells us to put anger and bitterness away from us and to be tenderhearted (not an American trait for sure) to each other.
That being said, I really do understand what believers mean by righteous anger. Being angry at the things that anger and grieve Christ. But I think we use it as an excuse WAY too often. Anger can easily lead to sin and bitterness which is why Ephesians says that all anger should be put to rest at night.
Why all the angry talk? Most of my good friends have been really angry recently. New York’s decision to allow abortions up to birth has blown fuses in believers around the country. And they haven’t been shy about expressing it.
Before I continue, let me outright declare that I am pro-life. I despise abortion and it kills me to no end. I volunteer with my local pregnancy center. I believe all life is God-given, is precious, and worth fighting for.
But I DO NOT believe in hating those that believe otherwise. I have been utterly shocked by my friends’ responses to New York. The sarcasm, bitterness, and rage has been rampant on social media. A good friend of mine commented on Facebook about a New York senator, “There will be a place in HELL for you!” and I sat there in shame as I read it.
This is not righteous anger. This is rage leading to sin. This is hatred and bitterness, all of which the Bible clearly condemn. How we have responded to this event tells unbelievers whether there is hope in the church (and in Christ!) for them or not.
Hello, New York. Hello, abortion-minded women. Hello, post-abortive women. Hello, men that have been hurt by abortion. My name is Kimmy. I am a believer in Christ and I stand on the truth of his Word. I am pro-life and therefore I believe every. single. life. is precious. You might not agree. You might be hurting from a decision made in your past or you might be contemplating a big one right now. Whatever the case is, YOU need Christ as much as I need him. He gives the hope and life that you are so desperately missing. And I am sorry if Christians have ever made you feel unwelcome. You are welcome here, with me. Let’s talk.
February 18, 2019 at 12:35 AM
…kindness maybe would be a better word for how Christians should be righteously angry at a sin. Maybe, just maybe we could spend less time hating, and more time acting with the fruits of the spirit with those we disagree on? Just a thought…
February 18, 2019 at 7:26 AM
I like that Andy. The more time we spend discussing the fruits of the Spirit, I see how opposite they are to anger. I was also thinking about when the Lord gets angered and how slow a process that is. How slow to anger he is but we are often quick to anger and quick to call it righteous. We get angry faster than God does! I just think our anger is fundamentally different than God’s and you are correct- we should focus on the fruits of the Spirit instead.