Summary: This message focuses on righteous anger.
Anger Part 2
This is part two of my series on Anger. In my message last week, I shared with you the harmful effects that anger, especially repressed anger, can have on us mentally and physically. We have been told that anger is a good thing if channeled correctly. For example, anger can make you more competitive in sports or make you try harder in school in some situations. However, what I want you to remember from last week is whether our anger is righteous (justified) or not, if it is not dealt with, the end impact on us personally is the same. Our body and mind cannot differentiate between righteous and unrighteous anger so we must always be ready to deal with it quickly.
This morning we will take a closer look at righteous anger (those things that would anger God and should anger us.) As we examine this type of anger I hope that you will see that our anger does not always line up with God’s even though we think our anger is righteous (justified.) As you think about God’s anger, remember that God’s character limits Him so that He can only act within His own character. This means that God can only do that which is holy, just, and right. When we accept this fact we must also accept that this means that whatever God does is right. Now, because anger and jealousy are frequently attributed to God in the Bible, we must agree that not all anger and jealousy are evil. Human anger may often be sinful, both in origin and expression, but divine anger is an always righteous anger. Human jealousy is most often a vice, rather than a virtue, but when God is jealous it is a righteous jealousy. As children of God, if we are trying to imitate Him there will be times when we should be angry. So let’s look at a few examples that speak directly to the core of what really angers God.
What Angers God the Father
Romans 1:18: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”
Romans 2:5: “But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.”
Ephesians 5:6: “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”
These verses clearly show that God’s anger is stirred when the actions of men goes against His will and His word, especially as it relates to how we treat one another. As I said earlier, while God is a very loving and forgiving God He still must act according to His character. Therefore, if He has made it possible for man to make his own decisions then God must honor those decisions even if that means that man will suffer His wrath. The things that anger God are those things that go against His expressed word. When we choose of our own free will to violate His word, especially when we know what His word says, that angers God. When we mistreat others, as “children of God’, that angers God. When we want things our way in our selfishness and refuse to walk in love and forgiveness that angers God! These things anger our God because He above all else is a loving, compassionate God. This same mentality exists within Jesus. Consider the following Scriptures:
What Angered Jesus
Mark 3:1-5: “He entered again into a synagogue; and a man was there whose hand was withered. They were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. He said to the man with the withered hand, ‘Get up and come forward!’ And He said to them, ‘Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?’ But they kept silent. After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.”
Jesus was entering the synagogue and He saw a man whose hand was withered. The religious leaders knew that Jesus had a tendency to healing the sick and were watching to see if He would heal this man on the Sabbath day. I believe they were hoping that He would heal him so that they would have legal grounds to accuse Him of breaking the Sabbath (and subsequently the Law of Moses.) After Jesus called the man to Him He asked the Jewish religious leaders if it was lawful to do good on the Sabbath. When they refused to answer Him, Jesus became angry. What angered Him was that those religious leaders, who were supposedly representing His Father to the people, would rather see the crippled man remain crippled versus being healed on the Sabbath day. Jesus’ question to them about doing good on the Sabbath placed them in a bind because if they affirmed with a “yes” then they could not accuse Him of breaking the Sabbath. Likewise they knew that if they said “no” then that would put them at odds with the people who would have chosen for someone to be healed regardless of what day it was. Because it was a no win situation for them, they chose to keep their mouths closed and not say a word. Jesus became angry because of the hardness of their hearts. Compassion ranks high with our Lord and Savior and these leaders who should have had plenty appeared to have had very little if any at all. Let’s look at another example.