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Godly Anger

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Godly Anger

Godly anger motivates us to change the things that must be changed.

Jesus simply couldn’t stand it anymore, so He felt compelled to something radical. I’m sure it seemed like a good idea at the time!

He made a whip from small ropes and threw everyone with their sheep and cattle out of the temple courtyard. He dumped the moneychangers’ coins and knocked over their tables. He told those who sold pigeons, “Pick up this stuff, and get it out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!”[1]

In His fury, Jesus quoted Jeremiah 7. He wasn’t misquoting scripture. He wasn’t misapplying scripture. “This is truly wrong! This has to stop!”

  • What heats you up?
  • What causes your mind to race?
  • Is it a small, personal pet peeve that gets under skin?
  • Is it an inconvenience?
  • Or is it a greater cause?
  • Does it affect others who cannot help themselves?

That’s when then Godly anger must move us into action.

This is one of the reasons we engage in world missions. Two months ago today I walked down the crowded streets of Tunis. We walked in groups of four. We couldn’t walk in groups any larger for fear we’d stir up suspicion. We attended a church, a small gather of believers who deal every day with fear. It was very eye opening.

We can’t go in and build a church building. That’s a Western world’s way of doing church. But we can build a community center, a gathering place where relationships are built, friendships are forged, and Muslims experience Jesus love!That’s what motivates us, what moves us into action and calls us to sacrifice our pleasure for the good of others, for the Kingdom of God.

Yes it’s true. Anger is an emotion that can be dangerous and can cause damage.

James 1:19-20 says, “Remember this, everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and should not get angry easily. An angry person doesn’t do what God approves of.”

But I want to challenge the last part of that verse. An angry person actually can do what God approves when they are angry for the right reason, show it in the right way, at just the right time.

Even at this first Passover, Jesus was preparing Himself mentally to lay down His life for the cause, for the good of all mankind.

Jesus came to do for us what we could not do for ourselves. It was our brokenness and our sinfulness that led Him to the cross. The Jews said to Jesus, why did you do this? Who gave you the right?

In John 2:18 the Jews reacted by asking Jesus, “What miracle can you show us to justify what you’re doing?”

I love His answer. Jesus replied, “Tear down this temple, and I’ll rebuild it in three days.” The Jews said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple. Do you really think you’re going to rebuild it in three days?” But the temple Jesus spoke about was his own body. After he came back to life, his disciples remembered that he had said this. So they believed the Scripture and this statement that Jesus had made.[2]

For Jesus, His anger that led to action was always about other people. He left us an example to follow.


[1] John 2:15-16 GW

[2] John 2:19-22 GW


About Ron Bontrager

Lead Pastor of Lakeview Church in Indianapolis.

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