Be Angry

May 25, 2008

The world needs anger.  The world often continues to allow evil because it isn’t angry enough.
Bede Jarrett


Be angry and do not sin.

-David, quoted by Paul of Tarsus

Is there ever an acceptable time, place, or use for anger?  This may seem to beg the question, and I suppose that is the case.  Still, I have known many Christians that seem to believe that anger is always wrong.


Before making a rash decision in this area, perhaps the Christian should remember to look to Christ.  Did Jesus Christ ever display anger?  Why, a look at the gospels reveal that Jesus of Nazareth did indeed become angry.

Do you remember this story?  This is one of my favorites.  While some may think only of quiet pastoral scenes of Jesus, lambs, and blue eyed, blonde headed little children – I often think of Jesus as he once approached the Temple.  He had made a whip (yes, a whip) out of cords.  He shouted at and denounced certain activities in the Temple.  He overturned tables.  He threw the contents upon the ground.  He drove people from the Temple using his whip of cords.


This image is not usually found in children’s Bible story books.


Why did the Son of God display such anger?  The apostles make mention that they remembered a passage from the Scriptures saying, ‘Zeal for your house consumed me.”  Jesus became angry when men treated God’s house in an ungodly way.


So, if anger is always wrong, then Jesus was wrong.  But a true believer cannot agree with this statement, because the Lord was the sinless one.


The apostle Paul referenced a Psalm of David and reminded first century Christians to Be angry, but not to sin.  Therefore, anger can exist apart from sin or else Paul would not have included that provision. 


This line of inquiry then leads me to believe that one can refuse to be angry and therefore be in sin.


*What does he say?*


I say, I believe that refusing to be angry in the right way, at the proper time, for righteous reasons is sinful.  My reasoning is that Christ never sinned.  His actions in the Temple were righteous and just.  Therefore, if he had chosen to not become righteously angry – then and then only would Jesus have sinned.  But he didn’t.


I propose that Bede Jarret is correct.  Perhaps evil is tolerated, condoned, and even encouraged by the lack of righteous anger.  To tolerate, condone and encourage evil is sinful.


So, where does this leave us?


I propose that the Christian needs to develop a personal theology of anger.  We must pore over the Scriptures and discover those things that make God angry.  If these things do not compel us to be angry then perhaps we need to repent of our attitudes.


I am not condoning rage or self-righteousness or any other misuse of anger.  Rather, my challenge to you and to myself is to cultivate a godly attitude and a holy concept of anger.  Perhaps if we follow the Lord Jesus Christ and his example of anger, then the words of Bede Jarret may one day cease to be true.


Let us see the world through eyes conformed to the image of the Son.  Let us be angry with those things that anger God.  Let us be Bereans and search the Scriptures with the intent of developing godly anger.  Let us follow Christ.  Let us live the Scriptures written by David and Paul.  Be angry…and do not sin.

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