I Thought God Was Loving, Not Wrathful?
What many people often struggle with is marrying the idea that God can be love, and at the same time God can exact wrath. After all can these two co-exist together?
From the very beginning God established a principle. He told Adam the day you eat from that tree you will surely die. When God judges sin or responds in wrath to sin he is doing so to uphold the principles or laws he has established. Without them, instead of any semblance of order we would have chaos.
The beauty of God’s principles are they don’t just apply to judgement. Because of his principles, God honors his promises. His principles are why he responds when we put our trust in Jesus for salvation. His principles are why we experience grace, mercy, favor, and answers to prayer.
Yet it is also the same reason a person can potentially experience his wrath. He is just, loving, and fair. From the exact same throne flows the love of God and the justice of God. We get to decide which one we will experience.
Isn't Anger a Sin?
The best way to look at this is to consider Jesus’ response to the money changers in the temple:
“Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. ‘It is written,’ he said to them, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it ‘a den of robbers’” (Matthew 21:12-13).
When Jesus saw the abuses that were happening in the temple, he got angry. The people were being taken advantage of and the money changers had turned the house of God into a place of business. Greed and profit were the sole motivation of the day. His anger was justified and warranted a response.
The reason he wasn’t sinning is because he was responding to the desecration of the house of God and the mistreatment of the people. These are proper triggers to anger and are often referred to as righteous anger. Anger that results because people are mistreated. Anger that happens because the most vulnerable are harmed. Anger that arises when those who are defenseless or weak get run over or stepped on by those more powerful are all examples of righteous anger.
However, as right you are to be angry, it does not give you a license to sin. Being angry because of a justifiable reason is ok. Sinning because of that anger is not. I encourage you to heed the words of the Apostle Paul,
“In your anger, do not sin…” (Ephesians 4:26).
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