Righteous Anger

I’m convinced that it is right to be angry that people malign the word of God; i.e. know what God’s word says, and say that they believe it and use it as their “holy book” but do not use it honourably- false teachers, I suppose. I justify my attitude to people like this when I think about how God looks at these people- He is angry that his name is profaned among the nations, and it’s a bad witness to non-Christians when different denominations don’t agree on significant issues.
We’re studying Romans at uni, both in our public lunchtime meetings, and in our small groups. We’re up to Romans 1:18-32, which begins with “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness.” It’s not a gentle passage- Paul calls into question every single person’s rejection of God (not just ignorance but deliberate suppressing). I feel like there’s a fair bit of anger in Paul’s writing and rightly so, since, “although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him” (v21), they “exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images” (v23) and “they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God” (v26). “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them” (v32). How can we not be angry? God is.
A couple of people have gently called me up on my attitude, perhaps to keep the peace when I get fired up about the way the bible gets so misused. No one likes conflict. I’ve often stubbornly refused to change my opinion, but usually step down and agree to disagree for the sake of loving them and not starting an unhelpful argument.
But maybe they’re more concerned, not about being angry, but about how I turn my anger toward particular groups (i.e. denominations who add works and sacraments to Jesus’ work of salvation on the cross, and others who allow unrepentant sinners to lead churches- key word being unrepentant: every leader of a church is sinful, but the ones that I know and love are active in their pursuit of holiness and putting off sin). My anger toward people borders on hate sometimes (though I would like to add that I never reveal this attitude to people in those groups or allow it to dictate how I minister to them). I should stop pointing fingers (or planks) and quietly work on my own unrepentant heart and appeal to God for forgiveness. I should then look to people who do malign God’s word, not with anger toward them, but sorrow and prayer, that they would see God as the ruler of his church and seek to please him, even if it means being unpopular with popular belief.
“To the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.” (Romans 16:27)
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