What Is Anger?: Righteous Anger
"Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. He said to them, 'The Scriptures declare, 'My Temple will be called a house of prayer,' but you have turned it into a den of thieves!'" (Matthew 21:12-13 NLT)
Thoughts for Today
We can use anger for good. Anger can be used to honor God and motivate people to do God's will and purpose. Today's scripture describes Jesus doing just that.
Jesus walked into the Temple and once again saw the money changers and merchants. Not only were they dishonoring God by using the Temple area for business instead of worship, but many of the vendors there were taking advantage of people who had traveled long distances to worship God and offer sacrifices. A righteous anger swept through Jesus. He was outraged to see the way God was being dishonored . . . and He let His anger out with words and actions. Can't you just see him knocking the tables down?
This was righteous anger. Jesus' only motivation was to honor God and undo the wrong being done. His outburst demonstrated the zeal described by David hundreds of years earlier:
Passion for your house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me. (Psalm 69:9 NLT)
There are many examples of righteous anger throughout the scriptures. Moses came down the mountain from an encounter with God, carrying the tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments. When he saw the people worshipping a golden calf, he was furious. So angry he hurled the tablets of stone to the ground, burned the golden calf, and restored order and control in the Hebrew camp.
And then there was David. When he was still a young shepherd, he visited his brothers, who were serving in Israel's army. There he found the troops camped out, living in fear of a Philistine giant, Goliath. This huge man was taunting the Israelites. Daring anyone to take him on.
David's response? Anger. Righteous anger.
David asked the soldiers standing nearby, “What will a man get for killing this Philistine and ending his defiance of Israel? Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26 NLT)
And David stepped up to do something about it. God empowered him . . . and he killed the giant.
Consider this …
There are many other incidents of righteous anger described in the Bible. How about today? As we look around the world we see sin abound. God is being dishonored in so many ways. It's okay to get angry about that. And our anger should spur us on to make a difference. To confront the sin in some way. Not recklessly striking out, but asking God what to do. And doing it in his way . . . and in his time.
Lord, I thank you for all the people who have shown righteous anger . . . and have followed your guidance in doing something about the problem. Lord, help me to have this kind of anger and to express it wisely. In Jesus' name . .
These thoughts were drawn from …
Anger: Our Master or Our Servant by Larry Heath. This study offers a clear explanation of anger, what causes it, and how to recognize when you are sinning with anger. It not only ministers to church members, but serves as a powerful evangelistic tool. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.
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