Where does such a powerful emotion as anger come from? It may surprise you to know it’s a gift from God. In his excellent book, The Other Side of Love, Gary Chapman notes that, while anger is not an essential part of God’s nature—it flows “from two aspects of God’s divine nature: God’s holiness and God’s love.” The word anger is used 455 times in the Old Testament and in 375 of those instances God is angry person. Whenever God observes the destructive results of man’s sin, he gets mad. Why? Chapman puts it this way: “It is God’s concern for justice and righteousness (both of which grow out of his holiness and love) that stimulates his anger.” Thus when God sees evil, he gets angry. It’s his response to unrighteous and injustice.”
The Big Picture
Now here’s how we fit into the picture. Because God created us in his image we too have a concern for justice and rightness. Anger, then, is the emotion that often arises when we encounter what we view as wrong.
When Jesus ushered in his public ministry by cleansing the temple in Jerusalem he expressed anger at the injustice of the money-changers ripping off people by charging unfair fees. Because the only “clean” money was Jewish money, people who had foreign currency had to exchange it in order to present an offering to God. Since they had cornered the exchange market, the money-changers could charge whatever they wanted. And they did.
And then there were the animals. Again, those selling them took advantage of the buyers with excessively high prices. But what may have most angered Jesus was the fact that all of this happened in the Court of the Gentiles—the only place where non-Jews could come to pray and worship God. Instead of creating a quiet place of prayer, the Jews had turned it into a smelly, noisy, marketplace.
Align Your Anger With God’s
Suffice it to say when Jesus saw the injustices committed against the buyers and the defilement of his Father’s house, he got angry and let everyone know it. But never forget, his expression of anger was both justified and addressed an injustice, not a personal irritation or offense. While God gave us the gift of anger, It’s our responsibility to align our anger with his.