Is There Time for Anger?
By Paul Leavens
Jesus was furious at the greedy merchants in the temple. They had exploited the poor by charging exorbitant prices for sacrificial animals. They had taken advantage of people’s genuine desire to worship God and turned it into an opportunity for personal profit. They had transformed a “house of prayer” into a “den of thieves.”
In his book, A Time for Anger, Frankie Schaeffer suggests that passive Christians have paved the way for injustice in America. He rightly states that our lack of anger is not an indication of tolerance but a sign of indifference. A mother who loves her child will naturally be- furious at anyone who threatens to harm the child. A Christian who loves the church gets angry at those who would divide it.
Jesus got angry at the right things: He got angry when the Pharisees objected to his healing a disabled man on the Sabbath (Mark 3:5), when the disciples tried to prevent little children from coming to him (Mark 10: 14), and when religious hucksters prevented people from worshiping God (Mark 11:15-17). Most of us get angry when we’re the victims of injustice, but Jesus got angry when others were treated unfairly.
Jesus got angry in the right way: He marched in and cleansed the temple himself. He didn’t demand that someone else do something. He drew attention to the problem and was willing to accept the consequences of his actions-which happened to be a death sentence. When we get angry, we’re tempted to criticize others for not taking action or even to resort to physical violence. But when Jesus expressed his anger, no one was maimed or hospitalized.
Jesus got angry at the right time: He carefully calculated his actions. Mark 11:11 says that Jesus went to the temple the night before and “looked around at everything.” He knew exactly what was going on in the temple. He didn’t walk in, see the exploitation, and impulsively lose his temper. He determined his course in advance.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.) was started in May 1980, because a mother, Candy Lightner, got angry and decided to do something about the needless slaughter of people on America’s highways by drunk drivers. M.A.D.D. has been very effective in preventing automobile accidents and promoting sobriety.
The psalmist wrote, “Indignation grips me because of the wicked, who have forsaken your law” (Psalm 119:53). Christians should be indignant when the unborn are killed, children are abused, the poor are exploited, the spiritually ignorant are misled, minorities are mistreated, the lost are ignored, and the innocent are falsely accused. God’s love produces holy anger against sin-especially the sin in our own lives (2 Corinthians 7:11).
Think of the difference we could make if we’d just get angry at the right things, in the right way, at the right time.
Think About it:
- What makes you angry?
- Most of the time, are you angry “at the right things, in the right way, at the right time?
- How can your anger result in constructive actions that please the Lord?
Dr. Paul Leavens is minister of the Christian Church in Lindsay, 120 N. Frazier Ave. To contact him, call 559-562-3743 or visit www.lindsaychristianchurch.org.
This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Foothills Sun-Gazette newspaper.