Many in our leadership are walking through a wonderful book by Robert D Jones entitled Uprooting Anger. I am also highlighting this book in our Bible study time on Wednesday night, as well as leading my family through it at home. Here is what I know…everyone gets angry, we display it in a variety of ways and many hide it better than others, but nevertheless all of us, in our fallen nature get angry. I find it perplexing however, how many times we allow our hearts to be our greatest deceiver by convincing us that our anger is “righteous” when in truth seldom, if ever, is our anger really “righteous.” In his book, Jones gives three criteria of righteous anger: as you read these criteria below, allow it to be used as a spotlight to search your heart.
· Righteous Anger Reacts Against Actual Sin: This means when looking at the Word of God in passages like Rm. 3:23 and 1st Jn. 3:4 what is happening is a violation of God’s Word. There is a tendency to get anger over being inconvenienced, ignored or even your preferences being violated. But an angry reaction to any the aforementioned things is sinful.
· Righteous Anger Focuses On God and His Kingdom, Rights and Concerns, Not on Me and My Kingdom, Rights and Concerns: The emotions is coming because of God centered motives not self centered motives. Often times what we see as actual sin, is not what causes us to get angry. For instance if your boss is self-centered and mean spirited. Many times our heart wants to convince us that we are angry at his sin, but in truth, we are angry that his self-centeredness or his arrogance impacted us. Did the boss sin? Yes. Was your anger righteous? No. It was self centered and in fact arrogant because what made you angry is that you believe you deserve better. Sound familiar? It did to me.
· Righteous Anger Is Accompanied By Other Godly Qualities and Expresses Itself In Godly Ways: Does the anger you have show self control? Does it cause you to gossip? Does it cause you to have bitterness? Does it cause you to call, write, whisper, meet to “share your heart” with someone? If so we can put lipstick on the pig all day long, it is still a pig. We can tell ourselves how pure our motives are and how we are taking up our armor for the Lord, but in truth what we feel is leading us to sin, therefore righteous anger is not a reality to us.
When I went through this short little list in my mind I realized that seldom do I have righteous anger. Even when my boys need correction because of sin and I take them to the Word of God, many times I am convicted of my anger in the situation. Many times my first response is that angry feeling, not because of their sin, but because it inconvenienced my life. It is such a blessing and so refreshing for the Lord to reveal sin in our life that leads us to repentance; yep—it is sanctification! Thank the Lord for that!