Wednesday, December 23, 2009

RIghteous Anger: Not an oxymoron.

ANGRY: [ang-gree] (adjective) 1. feeling or showing anger or strong resentment.

Last night at CnC, Theo spoke on Ephesians 4:25-28. He spent quite a chunk of time on verse 26, and that is what I wanted to touch on in this blog post. It reads:

"Be angry and do not sin." [ESV]

Be angry AND do not sin?! When I was newer in my faith, I struggled with this verse because I thought being angry WAS a sin. That was until I realized that we serve a God who has emotion [ie, "grief:" Genesis 6:6 - "joy:" John 15:11 - "moved by pity:" Judges 2:18 - "pleased:" 1st Kings 3:10 - "distress:" Isaiah 63:9 - "sadness:" Luke 19:41, to name a few].

Having been created in the image of God, and because he calls us to be "imitators of Him" [Ephesians 5:1], we are to share the same emotions that God expresses. Sharing the heart of God's nature means feeling the same affections of God.

...and that includes anger.

When you think of being angry, what do you think of? Do you think of human, sinful anger? Or do you think of the righteous anger that God exhibits? Don't make the mistake of thinking that God is never angry. God is VERY angry, as Theo repeated multiple times last night. Yes, He is loving and gracious and good... but He is also very angry and very offended at the sin that is raging without remorse throughout the world.

"The word “righteous” has reference to that which is right, good, and holy. Specifically, it refers to actions performed to or among men. In that regard, God's actions performed among men can always be characterized as righteous in that they are always right, good, and holy ( Revelation 16:5). Man's actions, however, because of the problem of sin, aren't necessarily so. Only when man's actions conform to the Lord's will, are such actions right, good and holy and thus, righteous ( 1 John 3:7)."
[taken from an article by Kevin Cauly]

What is righteous anger? Righteous anger is the quality of being angry or having indignation toward those things with which God Himself gets angry. God cannot sin in his anger; however, for humankind, it is easy to allow our anger to take control so that we are tempted to sin.

Two questions Theo answered in his talk:

Why should we be angry? Simple answer: because we are called to imitate God [Ephesians 5:1].

How can we be [righteously] angry? By drawing close to God and being angry over the sin that runs rampant in this world. Being righteously angry at something means that you are angry at the sin that is directed at or is offensive to our Jesus, not something that is offensive to "you" [ie, "You're stupid"].

What are you righteously angry about? Are you even walking closely enough with Him that you feel that righteous anger? Maybe you can see the sin in this world, but it doesn't bother you, or you are indifferent about it. Why? Maybe it's because you haven't experienced new birth. If you have not been called by Jesus, none of this will make sense or is even applicable to you. But if you have experienced new birth and are a child of God, and are yet not angered by the things that God is angered at... it's time for some serious prayer on your face before your God.

Can't think of anything to be righteously angry about? Here's a list to get you started [some of the statistics are older, but they sure will give you an idea of what's going on today]:

-An estimated 9.5 billion is generated in annual revenue from all human trafficking activities, and each year, an estimated 14,500 to 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked into the United States. The number of U.S. citizens trafficked within the country each year is even higher, with an estimated 200,000 American children at risk for trafficking into the sex industry.

-UNICEF reports that across the world, there are over one million children entering the sex trade every year and that approximately 30 million children have lost their childhood through sexual exploitation over the past 30 years.

-From 1973 through 2005, more than 45 million legal abortions have occurred in the U.S.

-Homosexuality is becoming legal in many states, and the ELCA is now allowing homosexuals to have a leadership position in their churches.

-In 2007, there were 248,300 victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault [and these figures don't even include the victims who are 12 years of age or younger].

-The sexual victimization of children is overwhelming in magnitude yet largely unrecognized and underreported. Research indicates that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 10 boys will be sexually victimized before adulthood.

-In 2003, the adult-film industry was  making some 6,000 movies a year and grossing more than $4 billion - roughly as much as the National Football League.

-In 2000, there were close to 5 million couples living together before marriage.

-Worldwide pornography revenue in 2006 was $97.06 billion. Of that, approximately $13 billion was in the United States. Twelve percent of all websites are pornographic websites. There are 4.2 million pornographic websites, 420 million pornographic web pages, and 68 million daily pornographic search engine requests (or 25% of total search engine requests).

-Of all known child abuse domains, 54 percent are housed in the United States.

...and that's just a few things. Do your own research and see what a corrupt world we live in if you are blatantly ignorant or are blinded to what is is going on.

My heart is broken... and I am angry. Are you?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good thoughts, makes me re-think about what kind of anger im letting by and what im pushing away, and what should stay and what should go. :)