21 February, 2006

Righteous Anger

Christians are to be angry people. We are to be angry at many things:

We are to be first, angry at our own sin. Our sin is that which nailed Christ to the tree of the cross. We are to be angry that after we have been redeemed, we still have difficulties living lives of gratitude and thankfulness. We continue to sin and to struggle with sin all of our days.
Christians are also to be angry at the sin of others. When we see that God is being blasphemed we should not take this lightly. We are not to act in ungodly ways towards others, but this should spur us on to confrontation and to evangelism. Anger should motivate us to defend the rights of Christ.
When we see that the Church remains in a miserable state, refusing God's commands, refusing to walk the way Christ walked, and refusing to be a submissive bride- we are to be angry and we are to call out to God to right these wrongs. We are to encourage teachers in the Church to defend the bride and we are to diligently pray that she is reformed to what Scripture requires of the Church.

The Apostle Paul said to be angry and sin not. This tells us that the Christian is entitled to this emotion. This emotion, when harnessed and used for the glory of God, can be a great tool in the quiver of God. Anger should not make us desire our way or our rights; but it should make us cry out for the rights and ways of God. Righteous anger should make us herald proclaiming that which is godliness.

Friends, when is the last time that you were angry at your sin? Angry at a backslidden church? Angry at a world that despises God and Christ? Be angry and sin not.

"I never work better than when I am inspired by anger; for when I am angry, I can write, pray, and preach well, for then my whole temperament is quickened, my understanding sharpened, and all mundane vexations and temptations depart." -Martin Luther

18 comments:

Careless said...

The fact is that Christians today do not care about their sin. They do not care about the Church. They DO care about lost souls, but not so much about their own sin or the church. Most do not even see that the bible gives much direction about the organized church to begin with!

Even in Reformed churches- nobody cares.

edwardseanist said...

Thanks Nate. I needed that.

Mark said...

Good post, Nate. Too many of us shy away from righteous anger, though Christ Himself displayed anger on several occasions. Of course, we have to be constantly checking with Scripture to make sure our anger is indeed holy and that we're not simply deceiving ourselves. Pits on either side of the road, after all.

On a less serious note, that guy in the picture looks an awful lot like Justin. Except the head looks way to big - it almost looks Photoshopped. Maybe he's angry about having a big head?

Nate said...

Good point Mark.

We need to be in constant introspection concerning our emotions to see if they are being conformed to the image of Christ or not. An angry person cannot claim that they are righteously angry just like a super-duper-nice person cannot claim that they are super-duper-nice for Christ.

We are to take one look in and ten looks to Christ as we discern whether our thoughts, words, or deeds are being used in a rightous manner.

Thanks.

Penumbra said...

Anger can be a double edged sword. While it can motivate us to take action, its energy can fizzle out quickly. Persistance in adversity can be extremely difficult if it is motivated by anger toward the evil we have no ability to correct. It is also difficult when we get angry at the evil we see in our own lives. It can be a sign of a lack of patience with ourselves, and it can cause a knee-jerk response hoping for an instantaneous resolution. Bad habits rarely break cleanly. Christ did not say "blessed are the angry," but blessed are the poor in spirit, mournful, meek, and those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. These attitudes, which we should never stop cultivating, should guide our thinking and actions toward sanctification and the glory of God. I think Martin Luther defined his source of inspiration too narrowly. All emotions can inspire (not just anger), because in back of emotions are convictions and strong beliefs. Consider this: it's easier to memorize scripture or a song if you can attach an emotion to it. Consider that a marriage is truly dead when neither party "feels" anything toward the other or the commitment they made. May our thoughts of Christ and the church always evoke the strongest emotions!

Nate said...

Penumbra

I agree that all emotions can do this. I was focusing on one(that is why I mentioned the super-duper-nice guy in the comment).

All emotions need to be seized for the Lord Jesus Christ and to be used for the advancement of his kingdom!

I also agree with "careless" that there is a general lack of concern for purity of self and church that is plaguing today's church.

Ellie said...

I'm working with my personal anger and I have a number of issues right now I'm talking with God about.I have to ask God to open my heart to see if my anger is justified. Then I have to ask him how he would have me handle it. If it is an anger that he is using to help me move forward I get a calm spirit about the matter and in prayer can proceed in forward movement. My best life experiences have been when I can respond in LOVE to the matter that caused me the original rage.I believe we can get and experience anger but we are most effective as Christians when we help correct each other in love and leave the vengence for God.
Christians have been murdered around the world as muslims react to some cartoons that mock their pagan god. How weak is that? Their need for vengence discredits their gods power.
God has promised that he will have his day and that vengence is his. Yes, our God is the only one who can display prefect, righteous anger.

Droll Flood said...

Are love and anger mutually exclusive of one another?

Nate said...

Ellie

We are never to act out of vengence; as you have said that belongs to the Lord.

We are to be angry about these things mentioned though and act out of holy anger and love! This is the beauty of the Word of God. God says that these two emotions can live harmoniously within us as we reflect those beauties of God. God is angry with the wicked everyday, the bible says, yet he loves them as his creation.

The Word of God boggles the mind!

Anyone have thoughts on this?

Ellie said...

Righteous anger is a complicated concept. It can mean many things to different persons based on their knowledge in general, their temperament, their cognitive processing abilities,their problem solving skills, motivation, the level of their personal walk with God, etc.

I'm totally comfortable with the format on this blog, given the gifted minds that create and bless with input. However, the world at large is deep in sin and darkness. Everyone gets the concept of anger, but few have a clue about righteousness.We are a lost, me focused, I want it now culture.

As we grow in knowledge and spirit I'm passionate about reminding you all about the many lost persons out their who are not blessed with gifted minds and are more simplist in their thinking. You are the teachers and leaders of the present and furture. I believe that is why Jesus primary focus was about love. It is only through Gods love that our anger can be used for good.

Reading Gods work is vital. I have faith that Gods spitit works through all who read irreguardless of their intellectual gifts.

That is why, I have beed so excited about the NLT. Because it flows like a story book and is written at the same level as the Grand Rapids Press. I know many intellectuals who are very negative about this version. I believe their intentions may be good but I'm thinking it is not the version of the word but the work of the Spirit of Almighty God working through the word. God is so huge!!! His Spirit knows just what to do!!!

My prayer is for all of your knowledge and learning to be met with equal or greater portions of Gods Holy Spirit!!!!

Mark said...

I think, (and this is really a very shaky theory) that the interaction between love and anger is this - when we're angry at a friend who is sinning, we are angry for their good and not because they're offending us. We know they can do better, and it angers us to see them fall. The anger, just like the love, must be selfless.

But then, God was angry at Israel for going after idols. But God cannot be selfish, either. So I'm not entirely certain how that fits in, but like I said the theory is shaky at best.

Droll Flood said...

"But God cannot be selfish, either."
What shall we say then of God making all things unto His glory?
Ought we posit a rival to God in our attention?
What is meant by selfish?
He throws people headlong into hell for not answering their chief end in praising and thanking Him.
God purely is reserved for His all-good ends only.

Droll Flood said...

"God purely is reserved for His all-good ends only."
And all things are only made to His all-good ends.
So...what about God and selfishness?

Nate said...

God is not selfish as we understand it. God is jealous for his glory and will fight for his glory.
We can only understand these emotions as far as scripture reveals. Many of these things in God are beyond our comprehension- although revealed to some degree in the bible.
God can be angry and love at the same time without sin. we sin in our anger as well as our "love".

lloyd said...

When we are selfish, aren't we taking something that doesn't rightfully belong to us? What does not rightfully belong to God? Nothing. Therefore, God cannot act in a selfish manner??

Mark said...

Working definition of selfish - doing an act out of love of self. God is a jealous God, but it should be noted that each member of the Godhead loves the others. So it's not as though God the Father acts out of selfish ambition, but rather to glorify the Son and Spirit. At least that's how I've come to understand it.

Nate said...

Very good theology Mark...for a tech guy!

Leah and Adam said...

I don't think I have ever had righteous anger...it has always been mixed with pride