The truth is, in the hectic pace of life in twenty-first-century America, many of us are simply in survival mode, trying to make it from one day to the next. Under these circumstances, it’s all too easy to get mad about the wrong things. If we did an honest evaluation about our lives, we might just find the things that make us mad are self-centered issues instead of others-centered issues. We get mad when we are cut off in traffic, don’t get a raise, or receive an unexpected bill. I get mad at things like this just as most people do. But as imitators of Jesus, we should find ourselves getting angry at much larger, much more significant issues.
So what really makes you mad? I encourage you to take an honest inventory of the things you notice making you mad, because what causes our heart to pound, our fists to clinch, and our voice to raise is an indication of our spiritual condition. Jesus was mad at the oppression that took place in the temple, so can you imagine how He must feel when He observes our world today? Men, women, and children are exploited and abused every day—not just in some faraway country, but also in your community. As followers of Jesus, we have the responsibility to do what we can to release the oppressed people of this world. Maybe that means adopting an orphaned child, mentoring underprivileged teens, assisting a widow in practical ways, or volunteering with a relief organization.
As imitators of Jesus, our emotions should mirror His. This emotional mirroring is not mechanical, but a natural result of relationship with Him. We should laugh when He would laugh, cry when He would cry, celebrate when He would celebrate, and express joy when He would express joy. All of these emotions are appropriate, but I cannot help but wonder if we are lacking a strong dose of holy anger. I believe more Christians need get fired up and let that passion prompt action in our churches, small groups, and families. I am not suggesting we stand on city street corners with signs declaring whom God hates. Nor I am suggesting we shout, stomp our feet, and make a spectacle of ourselves. And I’m certainly not suggesting we carry out violence under the guise of following Jesus.
Holy anger is driven not by a desire to judge or get revenge, but to love people and to set them free. Holy anger does not involve screaming about your rights, but advocating for the rights of others. Holy anger is not about proving a point, but proving that everyone has value. Holy anger is not about personal gain, but about restoring personal dignity to others.