When was the last time you experienced anger? You probably won’t need to rewind the clock very far back to recall your most recent moment.
Was your anger ugly? Did you say or do something that you now regret? Do you wish that you could rewind the clock and erase words and actions from the ears and eyes of your spouse, children, friends, neighbors or co-workers?
Today I want to do something that may sound counterintuitive: I want to encourage your anger.
That is, only if your anger is going to be about something bigger than you.
Anger, just like all things in life, has to begin with God (Genesis 1:1). First, we need to reevaluate how we think about the Lord and his anger. Mostly, we assume that anger is the dark side of God’s character that we need to keep hidden from the world.
Our heavenly Father doesn’t have a dark side! John says, “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). It’s impossible for there to be anything evil in God, which means God is both righteous and angry at the very same time (see Exodus 32:10, 34:6; Deuteronomy 29:28; 2 Kings 22:13; Psalms 2:12, 30:5; Romans 1:18; and more.)
Anger is one of God’s most beautiful characteristics – in fact, his anger is a bright hope for the world. Because he is righteously angry, we can rest assured that everything sin has broken will be restored.
That means we should be angry too.
In a world in which nothing operates as it was intended and where evil often has more immediate influence than good, it would be wrong for us not to be angry.
You simply cannot look at the world with the eyes of truth and with a heart committed to what God says is right and good, and not be angry at the state of things. In a fallen world, anger can be good, constructive, and essential.
Let’s be very clear here, though. The Lord’s anger is “Big Kingdom” anger, always working to right what is wrong, with patience, justice, mercy, and grace.
You and I, on the other hand, will wrestle between “Big Kingdom” anger and “little kingdom” anger. Because sin turns us in on ourselves, we will be angry, demanding, and critical for all the wrong reasons.
So between the already and the not yet, our anger will be a war. This will be a war between God’s will and our will, between God’s plan and our plan, between God’s desire and our desire, and between God’s sovereignty and our quest for self-rule. It is a war fought in every situation, location, and relationship of our life.
You should be angry. The things that make God angry should make you angry, and thereby spur you into righteous action.
But be wary – your heart will be prone towards anger for the wrong reasons.
Will your anger propel you to be a healer, a restorer, a rescuer, and a reconciler? Or will your anger leave a legacy of fear, hurt, disappointment, and division?
God offers you the grace to be righteous and angry at the very same time!
Paul David Tripp
- When was the last time you experienced anger? Identify the situation, location, or relationship.
- What inside of you made you angry in that situation, location, or relationship? Identify the motives of your heart, not external environment.
- Was your anger in that moment healing, restorative, and reconciling? Or was it divisive, hurtful, and damaging?
- What is something that you're experiencing right now that should make you righteously angry? How can you act with "Big Kingdom" anger in a way that is constructive?