Righteous Indignation

Read: Mark 11

Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace. (Mark 11:15-16, NLT)

Jesus was no pushover, was he?

For sure, he was a man of love and peace, but he had a huge capacity for anger—righteous indignation—never for what was done to him, but for what was done to others.  He knew how to get angry and stay good—the perfect blend of “good and angry”.

In this case, he exploded with anger at people who were disgracing the temple! They had turned it from a place of prayer into a place of commerce—and even at that, they were ripping off vulnerable worshipers. But this wasn’t the only time Jesus blew a gasket: His anger flashed at the Pharisees who didn’t want him to heal a crippled man just because it was the Sabbath. He castigated his disciples for shooing the children away from him. He publicly chewed out Peter when he tried to substitute a cross-free plan for salvation.

Jesus knew how to be angry at the right time for the right reasons and never angry at the wrong time for the wrong reasons. He didn’t go around picking fights, but when he saw injustice, or man-made barriers to the abundance of God or spiritual strongholds that got between people and salvation, it really ticked him off.

So what ticks you off? David Seamands writes, “Anger is a divinely implanted emotion … If you cannot hate wrong, it’s very questionable whether you really love righteousness.” The person who is not angry at things that thwart God’s love and purposes for people is therefore incapable of experiencing or advancing God’s kingdom. As a general rule it is never right to be angry for any insult or injury done to ourselves. Christians should never be resentful or reactionary, but it is appropriate to be angry at injuries and injustices done to other people.  Selfish anger is always a sin; selfless anger can be one of the great change-dynamics in this world.

Where is God’s kingdom being deliberately prevented in the world around you—by Satan, or worldly systems or manipulative people?  Be very prayerful, and be very careful, but consider the possibility that a little righteous indignation may be in order.

“A man who cannot be angry, cannot be merciful.” ~B.B. Warfield

What If God Took Over?

If God truly rules your life, then you will learn to get angry in the right way for the right reasons at the right time.  If your anger does not meet that standard, then at best, you are expressing unproductive anger, and at worst, destructive anger—and for that you ought to repent.  But if there is no anger at the things that anger God, then you ought to repent of excessive angerlessness and ask God to give you the mind of Christ so you can begin to see things as Jesus did.

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