Do you have righteous anger?

March 19, 2017

One of my friends at church recently introduced me to the term righteous anger, the idea of being morally justified in your anger, like being angry at racism or sexism. When she mentioned it, I connected with it straight away – my whole life is filled with righteous anger!

Having thought about it more, I started to wonder about where righteous anger fits into my faith. James 1 v 20 says “Human anger does not produce the righteousness that God provides”. The bible literally says that anger isn’t righteous! But looking at the old testament, God gets angry at Israel (Exodus 4:14, Judges 3:8, Numbers 11:1-2), and in the new testament, Jesus gets angry in the temple (Matthew 21:12-13). Therefore, anger cannot be sinful.

So how do we know if we’re righteously angry, or just plain old angry? I think we need to look at what we’re angry about and why we’re angry. The anger of man, as mentioned in James, is a selfish, polluting anger. It’s anger sourced from defensiveness, jealously and superiority. However, righteous anger is formed against sin – anything that would make God angry too. Righteous anger is selfless, often on behalf of someone else. It invokes passion and the desire to bring love and peace into the situation.

Ephesians 4:26 says “Be angry and do not sin”. This week, I’m going to invite God into my anger. I’m hopeful that He will change my perspective on anger to see His ways and know His will, so that I can use my righteous anger to bring His love to places that need it.

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