My Pastor preaching about forgiveness a few week ago said something that I’ve heard before, but never get tired of hearing. He said that is isn’t sinful to be angry. When anger turns to bitterness that’s when the problems begin. This is always good for me to hear because I get angry…a lot. I get mad, and usually when I get mad it’s not too hard for me to express that anger to the people around me. Now keeping that anger from going into sin is where I get into trouble, but it’s always nice to be reminded that the act of anger itself is not wrong. Jesus got angry. That’s what happened the Monday of his last week. He got angry. Not just angry. He was furious.
Lucado talks about how Jesus actually went into the temple on Sunday when he rode into the city on a donkey. What he saw when he went in made him come back on Monday and shout, “My temple will be called a house for prayer. But you are changing it into a ‘den of thieves!'” Matthew 21:13. Here we have direct proof that anger is not a sin. What I do love is that Jesus did not react in the moment he first saw the temple (On Sunday), but rather went home and came back the next day to express it. I think this is how he kept his anger from turning into sin. His anger wasn’t dulled. In fact the Bible says he flipped over the money lender’s tables. Waiting a day did not cool his anger, but it did help him express it in ways that remained not sinful.
What was he so angry about? The religious leaders were taxing the people to enter the temple, and taxing them for the animals they would need to use in their sacrifices. Taxing them unfairly I might add. No, I don’t believe this was Jesus’ indictment against taxes so yes you still have to pay them, but rather it’s his condemnation of religious hypocrisy. Jesus throughout his ministry was confronted with murderers, prostitutes, thieves, and yet we never hear the kind language used towards those people that was used towards the temple leaders. As Lucado puts it, “Want to anger God? Get in the way of people who want to see him. Want to feel his fury? Exploit people in the name of God.”
Lucado spends the rest of the chapter the above quote comes from talking about how we cannot tolerate religious hypocrites anymore and then he gives 2 ways to recognize such people.
1) They emphasize their profit more than The Prophet (pretty self explanatory.)
2) They build more fences than they build faith: how often do I see this in the Christian Community around me. “We’ll accept you if…” “You receive forgiveness if…” “you get our love if…” We have to stop. Jesus got more angry at religious hypocrisy than he ever got angry at “run of the mill” sin
So, today I’m reminding myself that it’s ok to get angry. But I’m also trying to remember that not everything is worth the energy anger requires. I’m take a page from my Savior’s book and getting angry about the things that make him angry.
People being exploited
People who are victimized by those who claim to love Christ
People victimized by our sinful world
If I’m going to flip any tables (Look it up Theresa from The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Jesus did it first and for a much better reason) it’s going to be over those things.
And to end this on a light note. One of the funniest interpretations of the temple scene EVER. The Jesus videos rock my world. “There’s that, there’s that!”