Is anger ever righteous? The place where people usually go to justify their anger is Jesus cleansing the temple. But I have two problems with that. First, He is Jesus. Are we to use the same reasoning to walk on water? Second, and more importantly, I do not find evidence in the bible for Him actually being angry. At least not in the way so many want to use it to justify. It merely states that He drove them out and turned over their tables. Certainly you can infer some sort of anger in that scene if you would like, but does the evidence support it? How would you imagine driving people out in anger and rectify that with “He who knew no sin.”
Here is an example I found telling for myself. I have heard it said that you can righteously be angry at some egregious sin. Let us jump all the way to a child molester as a sort of Godwin’s example. Is it alright to be angry with such a person? Now turn it on its side. If someone were to sin against me, no matter the sin, am I obligated to forgive them? Do I have a right to be angry? It is a false distinction to say it is alright to be angry if you are a third party, yet many make that assumption.
I was reading over some material I wrote down at a men’s conference I went to with my church. I came across something I wrote, “Do we ask (but not seek) for suffering? Why NOT?! We are only protecting ourselves from the change God wants to bring about in our lives. 2 Cor 12:10”
God wants to work on us. He wants to change us. However, our constant fight in the flesh is to completely protect ourselves from the tools with which God uses to affect that change. We have somehow come to the conclusion that it is acceptable to live a comfortable life.
How many great men in the bible led a comfortable life? It is a silly question, one that I laugh at asking. Did you know that in the NKJV, NIV and NASB the word “Comfortable” does not even appear? Yet, we still come to the conclusion that comfort is the goal in life. Our whole lives are designed around the idea that we should get more and more comfortable as we age.
This is a silly example, but bear with me. On an airplane there are exit rows that are often wider than the rest of the rows. I think it is perfectly OK to ask for the row, but if you are turned down, how hard are you willing to fight for it? Now take this out to the rest of your life. How hard are you fighting for comfort? How much energy and resources to you place into “making life better?” And, might I reply, “better for whom?” (Also, beware, even though better is 6 letters, I think it falls in with good.)
How was Paul able to take pleasure in suffering (also Col 1:24)? We are so short sighted when it comes to how we see suffering. I do not like it either, but we need to stay focused. We all understand that sometimes a little suffering is good in the long run. Have you ever had a shot? Did it hurt? Why did you do it? Romans 8:18
I have been throwing an idea in my head lately and I wanted to write it down before it went away. I am not sure how far I can take this analogy, but here goes.
A while back I wrote a couple of posts relating spiritual things to physics. Here is another one. I postulate that free will is like Einstein’s theory of Special Relativity, in that the observation of free will is dependent on the “motion” (if you will) of the observer. What I mean in practice is that free will only applies to the “observer.” In other words, every person has free will to themselves, but outside their own decisions, the world is constant (it is predetermined) to them. Each observer has a completely different perspective on free will. My actions to you are not of free will in your frame of reference. Nor are yours to me in mine.
I know this sounds crazy, but so does Special Relativity, which has been experimentally verified. Of course that in no way makes my postulate true, I merely want you to be open to the possibility.
This can explain some somewhat confusing parts of scripture like Exodus 10:27, or Judges 14:4. It also has a great application in life. You are not responsible for other’s actions. Any action someone else does, was foreordained. However, you are still responsible for all of your own. You are accountable for responding to all the input around you. God knows what it will be, He wants you to react to it. Never look to others for how you will react, look to Jesus.
Way back when I was writing about predestination vs free will, I talkedaboutbroccoli. I have come across another very important lesson that broccoli can teach us. We tell the kids, “Eat whatever is put before you.” I mentioned in Parenting that I am learning so much from being a parent. Well, I too am learning the value of “Eat whatever is put before you.”
At the root of eating what is before you is the fact that there are things much more important than what you want. You can put your silly food preferences aside to be a good guest and please your host. (This is ignoring the bigger fact for much of the world who do not get to choose what they eat.)
These are great lessons for kids, but you see, it goes way beyond food. We are to “eat” what is put before us every day. We are to put aside our silly preferences and please God, no matter what we are given.
When the richyoungruler came to Jesus, and went away sad, Jesus did not chase after him. Nor will He chase after us when we decide we would rather “eat” something else.
And for the curious, I have already told my wife I will eat broccoli if it is put before me. So far, her love for me has been far greater than her need to test my resolve.
The story of the feeding of the five thousand is in every one of the gospels. There was a huge group of people that needed to eat. The disciples wanted to send them away so they could go get hospitality in the surrounding towns and villages. In three of the accounts, Matt 14:16, Mark 6:37, and Luke 9:13, Jesus has a specific thing to say to the disciples. I like the Matthew quote on this one the best, ‘But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”‘ Jesus knew that the disciples had nothing to give to the people, He knew they only had five loaves and two fish. Yet He still commanded them to give them something to eat.
Am I asking Jesus to send the people away? What is Jesus commanding me to do, even though He knows I do not have the “food?” Why am I making excuses?