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The Right Kind of Anger

January 23, 2010

Late in Christ’s ministry, He entered the temple and was confronted with thieves and charlatans bilking worshipers bringing their offerings to the Lord.  Though He had seen them many times before, this time Christ was filled with anger.  In His fury, He made whip of small cords and chased the moneychangers out of the temple.  In His rage He tossed over all their tables, dumped out their money and drove away the animals for sale.  Jesus was mad.

We typically think of anger as an emotional reaction that results in furious outbursts, violent responses or long term resentment.  Even though the vast majority of anger we see is sinful, it does not all have to be.  As Christians, we should not give in to sinful anger.  We can, and must, utilize the intense emotions of anger to address sin.  Christ’s actions when He was angry show us the two essential parts of  righteous anger acted out perfectly.  In the previous article, we considered the first essential of righteous anger: be about the right things.  Anger is only right if we are angry about the things God is angry about.  Christ’s anger meets that standard, since He was angry at the perpetual swindle that was occurring in the house of God.  The second essential is to use the anger to address the problem.  When Christ was angry, He did not vent it on the temple walls or tirade to His disciples about what the moneychangers were doing.  Christ’s anger was focused on dealing with the problem.  He used that intensity to drive out the cheats and cleanse the temple.  For our anger to be righteous, it must not be vented pointlessly.  The anger must be directed to a resolution of the problem.  For example, if you are angry about the murder of unborn babies, for that anger to be righteous it must not be vented by hollering at the politician on the TV screen.  The anger should be used to address (appropriately) representatives or senators, or maybe to start a pro life chapter in the community or in some other means that appropriately pursues a solution to the problem.   Use the intense feelings generated by the anger to address a real solution.  If you cannot do so, then don’t be angry.

In times of conflict or confrontation, when anger often rises to the surface, don’t let it go unleashed.  Check the emotion.  Check it through the Word.  Look very carefully to make sure you are not angry for selfish or petty reasons.  Check your anger so those emotions are directed to solving the problem and not just spewed out arbitrarily.

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