Angry Justice?

 By Tom Hicks - Posted at Founders Ministries:

I’ve heard people say, “The church needs to get angry about all these social injustices!” Many seem to believe that racism, misogyny, domestic abuse, child abuse, etc., are all worthy of our most intense anger so that we’re stirred to action in support of victims and so that we can bring oppressors to justice. But is that true? Certainly, the Scriptures are clear that we must seek justice. Proverbs 21:15 says, “When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.” On the other hand, James 1:20 says, “The anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God requires.” There is something about human anger, untempered, and fully expressed that does not please God. I suggest we need to make some careful distinctions when it comes to angrily pursuing justice.

1. The Nature of Anger

The Bible does not teach that anger itself is sinful. After all, God is angry. Scripture frequently talks about “the anger of the LORD” (2 Kgs 13:3), His “wrath” (Ezek 7:8), and “indignation” (Hab 3:12). That means anger in itself must not be sinful.

In fact, anger is simply a policy and posture of opposition along with a relentless resolve to achieve some goal. Anger says, “You shall not pass.”

But like all emotions in human beings, anger can be godly, or it can be sinful. Paul says in Ephesians 4:26, “Be angry and do not sin.” Notice the two commands in that verse. First, there is a command to “be angry.” On the one hand, anger is required to oppose sin and ungodliness. But second, Scripture commands, “Do not sin.” There must never be any hint of hatred or murder in our anger. You may not break the 6th commandment, “You shall not murder” in your thoughts, words, or deeds, when you are angry for a good cause.


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