Anger or Righteousness?

posted in: An Expression of Grace | 0

Is it okay to get angry?

For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
James 1:20

I came across this verse when we were doing homework for the Bible study on Wednesday nights and saved it to write about later. The reason I saved it was because I know a lot of Christians who think it’s okay to be angry as long as they are angry for the right reasons. More specifically, they feel it is okay to be angry about politics as long as they are angry on the right side of he political line.

The problem is, just as the verse quoted above says, anger does not lead to righteousness.

In our Bible study from a few weeks ago, we explored anger in the Bible and learned that there are different kinds of anger. We even learned that some anger is okay. When someone is angry because they recognize an abuse being committed to another person, that is justifiable anger. But I feel what makes it justifiable is when it is selfless instead of selfish. Unfortunately, when we are angry, I don’t think we ever stop to think, “am I being selfish right now in my anger?” No one does that. So yeah, in retrospect, I think you can say that one angry fit was justifiable and another was not. But in practice, in the here and now, we cannot know for certain what our motivations are at the time. That is the nature of anger. When we are overwhelmed with emotions, we disengage our minds.

Even when our anger is justifiable, the Bible says clearly to not allow that anger to cause you to sin. Not an easy task I don’t think. When we are angry, we do things we would normally never do when we are being calm and rational.

So no, I don’t think it’s okay to be angry about our nation’s politics. What I see in the faces of the people who say they are angry is just a mirror image of the people they are angry at. When you really get down to it, there is no difference between the angry Christian right-wingers and their opposition. Both have stepped outside of God’s will in the way they behave.

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

James 1:19 – 25

I guess I should end this post by clarifying that not all of the people on the Christian right are overcome by anger. I am not making a blanket statement that applies to all Christians and all conservatives. What I am saying is that, if you are a Christian conservative, then you defeat the entire point of being a Christian conservative when you allow yourself to become angry.

On facebook, the way that anger manifests itself most is in the propagation of evil lies and misrepresentations that people share on their walls. When you become angry and click share for something that degrades another person, when you share slanderous gossip, you are doing what James said in the quote above, you listen to the word, but you don’t do what it says.

It breaks my heart every time I see this for many different reasons. I don’t like to see Christians falling from grace that way. I don’t like to see them become entrapped by the snares of the devil. It also breaks my heart because these virtual angry outbursts not only give Christians a bad reputation (we should be above reproach) but hardens their heart even more against Christianity.

You know, that’s the part that really confuses me. As Christians, we are supposed to be spreading the good news. It is our great commission, right? And sure, individual people send hundreds or thousands of dollars anually to missions to spread the word to the four corners of the earth. And yet, their behavior here at home actually repels people away from Christ. This travesty makes a mockery of their missions giving. It’s inexcusable. No Christian who takes the great commission seriously should ever share some of the filth I see them sharing on facebook. Instead of reaching out to the people who need Christ in their lives most, they are virtually spitting in those people’s faces. It’s wrong and I will have no part of it!

Tame your anger. Take the love that God has placed in your hearts and begin sharing it with the people in your life. Share THAT on facebook instead of the anger.

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