So some of you may have noticed that I had a post earlier today called “The Simple Life.” Funny story…I spent about an hour describing my plans for the summer, what I wanted to do, how I was going to do it, etc. Which isn’t at all why I originally started this blog. So, when I clicked publish, it said that it had published, but when I went to view it….it was blank. And when I refreshed the page, it was like I had never typed it at all. So, naturally, I got mad. Borderline angry in fact. Part of it was that I had spent an hour of my life typing all this out, and it was gone, but I think the deeper anger was seeded in my pride. That post had been all about me. You might think, “well ya it was about you, it’s your blog.” Which is true, but when I was typing it I was purposely not mentioning God. I thought my last few posts had been too “preachy” and started worrying about what you, the readers, would think. I realize now that my whole purpose for even starting this blog was to proclaim Christ and His work in my life. So I think the “error” was God’s way of saying, “I’m sorry, who is this blog about again?”
After praying about it and coming to this realization, I started thinking about how angry we (myself included) get when things don’t go our way. When we are little and things don’t go how we want them to, we cry, throw tantrums, scream, and act like our whole world has crashed down. When we are adults and something doesn’t go our way, we become bitter, distant, and try to think of ways that we can get back at whoever or whatever prevented our wishes from coming true. How childlike is that? If it weren’t for our ability as adults to keep our facial expression composed, we would look like children pouting in the corner! I’m totally guilty of this. When that post didn’t work, I found myself sitting with my brow furrowed and my arms crossed like a 2 year old who got a toy taken away!
Proverbs 16:32 says, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.” But wait, I thought Paul said in Ephesians 4:26, “Be angry, and yet do not sin…” And many many times in the Old Testament you find the phrase “The anger of the Lord burned”. So how can the Bible, which doesn’t contradict itself, say that we shouldn’t be angry when God Himself gets angry?
The answer is really another question: what are you angry at? and why? When God gets angry, He is angry because of the sin that His people are committing, or because someone (Moses specifically comes to mind) was doubting Him and basically saying, “I know what You said, but I think I’ll do it this way instead, it seems better.” Psalm 145:8-9 reads, “The Lord is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. The Lord is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works.” When God got angry, it was out of His righteous and love. He could see that what the Israelites, or whoever, were doing, and was angered by their sin and disbelief. Most of the time when we get angry, is it for the benefit of others? Probably not. It’s a selfish anger that stems from our pride. Now when Paul says to be angry but don’t sin, he means that we should imitate God in His righteous anger. Be angry at slavery, be angry at sex-trafficking, be angry at poverty. Be angry at the things that make God angry: sin and injustice.
In Matthew 5:21-22 Jesus said, “You have heard is said, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be subject to judgement.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be subject to judgment.” WOAH! Let’s see, by my count, I’ve committed murder at least 5 times today. How about you? How on earth are we expected to live up to that standard? The truth is, we can’t live up to it, but Christ did, and can through us.
There are countless teachings like this one, that we often view as harsh or unreasonable, but are part of Christ’s teaching. I view these teachings as reinforcement for the fact that there is NOTHING I can do to save myself. There are no deeds I can do to make myself righteous before God. But the amazing thing is that since Christ is living in me and through me, when God looks at me, He sees perfection. Christ died once and for all so that all of our anger and hatred would be paid for. When Christ was hanging on the cross, the last thing He said before He died was “It is finished.” The Greek word for this phrase was the same word that merchants would stamp on receipts when the person had completed their payments. It literally translates to “The debt has been paid in full!” How sweet is that?! When Christ died, He paid every sin that I have committed, and all of the sins that I will commit in the future.
I was writing that other post out of fear of what others might think, but now I realize that I would be doing everyone a disservice by hiding the LIFE that Christ offers. So what are you waiting for? This is the best gift that anyone could receive, and it’s available to everyone! All you have to do is ask for it!!!
I’d love to talk with you about any questions you may have regarding any of my posts. Feel free to email me at Isaac.Shoman@comcast.net or send me a facebook message. Can’t wait to hear from you.