The Myth of “Righteous Anger”

Search “righteous anger” on Bible Gateway

Since I know you didn’t actually do that, let me tell you what it says. Nothing shows up.

Those two words don’t appear side by side in the Bible. 

In fact, James 1:20 says quite the opposite

{for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God}

So where did this term come from?

Who came up with the idea of “righteous anger”?

Who decided that as Christians it would be righteous of us to be angry, even if our anger is directed towards sin? 

God doesn’t need our anger or want our anger. He didn’t call us to anger. He called us to love. That’s what Jesus emphasized over and over during His earthly ministry. 

If anyone were going to be angered by sin, it should have been Jesus. He was the one they were sinning against. He was the one who was going to have to bleed and die for it. And He is the only one to ever walk this earth and not be just like them — sinners. And yet there are very few times when the Bible mentions Jesus getting angry or acting in anger. 

Jesus didn’t ignore the injustices all around Him, but rather than letting His actions be fueled by anger, He let them be fueled by compassion and love. 

Love is what God commands in the Great Commandment. Love is what Paul describes as bearing, believing, hoping, and enduring all things (1 Corinthians 13:8). Love is what Jesus showed on the cross to a broken and dying world, devoid of any reason to be loved. Love is what no one deserves, by what Christ calls us to show. 

Anger won’t draw anyone to the Father, but love will

“Jesus will not accept the common distinction between righteous indignation and unjustifiable anger. The disciple must be entirely innocent of anger, because anger is an offence against both God and his neighbour.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

There are surely injustices in this world. There are surely things we must fight against in this world. But rather than convincing ourselves that our anger towards these things is righteous and is what should be going on, why don’t we focus on letting love drive us to do great things. To share hope and comfort with this broken world. And to point every person that we see back to Jesus. 

I’m not here to tell you you’re an awful human for getting angry. I’m here to tell you that unless we do something with that anger, unless we allow Christ to take it from us and replace it with love and passion to do something about the injustice in our world, then it’s meaningless. And worse than that, it’s stealing our joy. 

When you really think about it, why would we want to be angry in the first place? I sure don’t want to be. I don’t like how it makes me feel and I certainly don’t like the person that I am when I’m angry. So, as much as possible, I’m going to choose not to be angry. Even if it seems like I’m in the right, or that my anger may be “righteous”. I don’t want to choose anger anymore, I want to choose love. 

Taryn

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White as Snow

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Y’all! It’s snowing in Texas!!!
Needless to say, I’m giddy like a little kid! It hasn’t actually snowed in Texas in at least two years, and even though it’s just flurries, it put me in a great mood and I’ve decided to shelve the post I had planned for today and write a new one instead:)
The snow is so gorgeous. I love watching fall and then swirl together in piles across the road, it looks so pure and perfect and clean.
And that’s what God makes us to be like as His redeemed sons and daughters.
After David committed adultery with Bathsheba he cried out to the LORD, “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7)
And later God proclaims through the prophet Isaiah, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow,” (Isaiah 1:18)
That absolutely floods me with joy. Most days, I don’t feel clean or worthy whatsoever. I feel dirty and shameful and dark. But to be compared to this beautiful clean snow, that just reinvigorates my passion and thankfulness for what Jesus did for me on the cross.
I don’t ever want to cease being in awestruck wonder of the amazing God I serve. Of His cleansing, redemptive power and of His marvelous, unconditional love. I hope you all have a wonderful day and that your new year is starting off amazing!!

— Taryn

Will It Ever Be Enough??

I’m really good at playing the Thanksgiving game.

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“What are you thankful for?”
God, family, friends, health, education…
*10 minutes later*
Making my Christmas list, complaining that the wifi is slow, asking if we seriously ran out of milk. 

—-
Wow. We laugh it off by calling them “first world problems” and attempting to justify our lack of thankfulness. But changing how we label it doesn’t change what it is.
Discontentment.

Selfishness.

Entitlement.

I like the idea and thought behind Thanksgiving. I’ve written posts in the past about thankfulness and choosing to have joy which I still completely agree with. But a fault I’ve started recognizing in myself is that I tend to convince myself I’m “being thankful” when in actuality, my heart is far from it.

“In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content. Whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need.” — Philippians 4:12 (HCSB)

Contentment. Joyful contentment. I think that’s the key. Not just being thankful for what we have, but letting that be enough. Not pining after or basing our happiness on what is next, on what will satisfy our earthly longings for one more day. But rather digging wholeheartedly into our Savior who is more than enough for us.

This world will never be enough.

All things are wearisome; man is unable to speak. The eye is not satisfied by seeing or the ear filled with hearing.” — Ecclesiastes 1:8 (HCSB)

I like to convince myself that I am being thankful, I can make my list of things I’m thankful for a mile long, and there isn’t anything wrong with that. Honestly, it helps my attitude a lot to think about things I am grateful for. But I have let it become a ritual an routine and the true joy and contentment that I am supposed to have in Christ has faded into extinction. I am often “thankful” because I am supposed to be, all the while taking for granted all that I have and all that God has blessed me with.

What kind of message is that sending to God and to this world?

God, You aren’t enough. You sent Your Son to be brutally killed for my sake even though I could never deserve it. You have gifted me with life and loving family and friends around me. BUT that’s not enough. I want more. I think I deserve more. Can’t you just make my life easy?

Wow. I would never verbalize it in that fashion, but is that not what I’m saying? I wouldn’t ever want to be that way. I wouldn’t ever want to be that selfish and shallow. And yet I am and I’m not even noticing it because I am still “being thankful”.

“And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful.” — Colossians 3:15 (HCSB)

As long as I keep living with fake gratitude, I will never think anything is enough. I will always feel entitlement and contempt. But God has already provided so much more than enough. His gifts, are more than I could ever need. His faithfulness is everlasting. I want to start living in recognition of that. I want to live in recognition of the fact that I do have enough, and I want to live consciously in awe and amazement of what my Savior did for me. Because that… is so much more than enough. And that’s what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving.

 

— Taryn

I Want to be Guilty

The word “guilty” holds a very negative connotation… and generally, I would agree that it is a negative word, and one that you would never want to be described by. But it was only very recently that I began to consider under what circumstances should the verdict of “guilty”  be one that I wear proudly.

If serving You’s against the law of man, if living out my faith in You was banned — then I’d stand right before the jury

If saying, “I believe,” is out of line. If I’m judged because I’m gonna give my life to show the world the love that fills me…

Then I want to be guilty.

These song lyrics are by the Newsboys, and brought tears to my eyes the first time I heard them. They poignantly paint a picture of a Christian standing “guilty” before the jury for their faith. The song reminds me of Christian martyrs in the early church, like Stephen who was stoned for preaching the gospel. It reminds me of missionaries like Nate Saint who were brutally murdered on the mission field… but who does it not remind me of? It doesn’t remind me of me. Of my safe, sheltered life here in the United States. Of my lack of fervor for the gospel. And that breaks my heart.

Why have I let the idea of my life being persecuted become so foreign to me? I have no idea. This should be something that we as Christians expect and are prepared for. Or even more, according to the apostles example in Acts chapter 5, this should be something that we rejoice in!

“The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus.” — Acts 5:41

As I have thought and prayed about this over the past few months, an entirely different perspective has come to me regarding persecution, sharing my faith, and how the world views me for doing so. It comes as a sharp awakening and challenge to myself, and it’s not something I want to downplay anymore.

Honestly, I am not persecuted in any way shape or form for living the Christian life that I live. I go to church without having to hide it, I can speak the name of Jesus without being stoned, and yet I still back away from boldly declaring my faith for petty reasons such as it being uncomfortable, or that I am scared to offend anyone. I haven’t the slightest thing holding me back from sharing Jesus’ name constantly, there are no laws threatening my safety or life for doing so, and yet I can’t remember the last time I actually did just that. I can’t remember the last time I shared the gospel of hope to someone who needed to hear it.

American Christians can talk all day long about being “persecuted” even though we aren’t. But here is what scares me the most.. if a law were to be enacted that punished Christians for sharing their faith, would I be punished? If persecution were real in this country, would I be experiencing it? In all truthfulness, I would have to say no. Sure, if someone asks me if I am a Christian, I will answer yes. But do I go out and make disciples? Do I initiate conversations about my Savior? Not really. And I don’t want to be okay with that anymore.

“You will be hated by everyone on account of My name, but the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.” — Matthew 10:22

I want to be included in that. I want to be hated by this world and if this world starts calling people guilty for their faith, then I want to be one of those on whom the verdict hangs. I don’t want to hide from persecution, I want to embrace it proudly, because that means that this world knows who I’m living and dying for.

“I want to be guilty by association, guilty of being a voice proclaiming Your ways, Your truth, Your life, I’ll pay the price to be Your light. Oh, I want to be guilty.”

Take a second and think about the ways “guilty” can carry a positive connotation and light. The disciples in Acts 5 sure thought that it did! I want to be like them. Fearlessly and joyfully living, suffering, and dying for my Savior, because He lived, suffered, and died for me.

I Love to Tell the Story

“The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.” — 1 Corinthians 1:18

The gospel — or good news — is the story of Jesus. The power of God to those who believe. In the words of one of my favorite childhood hymns…

I love to tell the story of unseen things above,

Of Jesus and His glory

Of Jesus and His love.

I love to tell the story, for some have never heard

The message of salvation from God’s own Holy Word.

I can’t help but have a smile on my face when I sing these words, but are they true of me? Do I really love to tell the story of my Savior? Or far too often am I ashamed of it, or neglect to really tell it? Do I really spread “the message of salvation from God’s own Holy Word”?

I believe that many Christians, myself included, have fallen into the trap of centering the “gospel” around ourselves, not Jesus. Of telling our story, not His. 

It’s easier, more comfortable, most of the time to talk about our own lives than to boldly proclaim His story. But which one has the power to save?

I could tell people about my life all day long. But no matter how great my life is, or how much God has been working in my life, that story will never save them. Only the power of God will save them. Only the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Only the story of His taking our place on the cross. Only the story of God making a way for us to be in a right relationship with Him again. 

That story is powerful. That story gives me chills. So why am I afraid to tell it?

I don’t know. 

I make some pretty lame excuses every day of my life. I worry that people won’t listen or will think I am strange. It’s easier to convince myself that I’m doing all I need to do by talking about myself and bringing up Jesus name once in a while. 

But that can’t cut it anymore. 

I want to tell Jesus’ story. The story that saved me and transformed my life. The message that government officials claimed had “upset the world” (Acts 17:6) when the disciples shared it in the first century. The story that has lasted thousands of years and never stopped being faithful. 

What is the story of Jesus? 

He loved us so much, even though we rejected Him, that He wanted to make a way for our sins to be forgotten, for us to live in a perfect relationship with Him again. But since we are far from perfect, and our sin requires death to atone for it, He took that death for us. God’s own Son in the human form of Jesus came down to this earth, lived here as a man and never sinned. He was despised by His own people and they ultimately put Him to death in a gruesome and horrible way. He gave Himself over to them and died completely innocent. But He didn’t stay dead long. Three days later, He rose victoriously from the dead. Proving that He has ultimate power over death. And with that power, He chooses to rescue us from the inevitable death we all deserve. We only have to ask Him to do so. To believe that He alone has the power to save us. To save us from death. To save us from a life marred by sin. To save us from separation from our loving Father. 

As Paul told his jailer who asked how to be saved,

“Believe in the LORD Jesus and you will be saved.” — Acts 16:31

And as he writes in a letter to the Romans…

“Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” — Romans 10:13

That’s good news!! That’s powerful. That’s the gospel. And that’s the story I want to tell from now on. The story that has the power to change hearts and lives. I want to fall in love with telling that story,  Jesus’ story.