Good and Angry

I go through life analyzing situations to understand the good and the bad of things. With the bad, my first (and often my driving response) is anger… Is this good? Last night I reflected on the actions of an unjust principal…
With the anger (usually at a person), I mull on the situation while losing sleep through the night. I identify with King David… "Lord smite my enemies!" I try to shape arguments to trap them in their evil or bring the hand of authority down on them (where I can't).

As I pray, I don't think this is good, at least to be driven by anger. Alone, it neglects love.

Perhaps, after I have learned to "do good to those who hate you" and "pray for those who despitefully use you", then a "righteous anger" might remain to guide loving actions. Love comes first.

Many claim that the New Testament endorses slavery because it doesn't directly condemn it. However, I think there is a lot to learn about Christian priorities. Where Paul talks about slavery, his priorities are that the slave have a heart of love toward his "master", and that the master also have a heart of love - even to treat his slaves like brothers! His priorities undermine slavery at its foundations.

Merely to "righteously" fight against it does little to change hearts (worth reflecting on the American Civil War, which some claim hasn't ended).

The world is FULL of evil. Surely some must be resisted in anger, but that anger cannot shape our interactions with the people we pass on the street, work with (or under), and go to church(!) with… even though we may be right and our anger may be justified. Plain old anger merely lubricates the gears that keep worldly ways running smoothly. A loving response in a worldly situation may not change everything immediately, but it is the only hope with the potential to change hearts and undermine worldly systems.

Though surely Jesus was angry at the selfishness, neglect, pride, callousness, and even sickness around him, yet he was driven by love, compassion, and mercy. He understood that sinners act like sinners and that merely correcting the sins would be a hopeless undertaking. He radically set about to change hearts, which not only led to some deep bonds of friendship, but greatly reduced sin and ungodly systems.

"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use use, and persecute you: that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven," Jesus (Matt. 5,44).
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