The Gospel for the Angry

I need to repent.

I need to repent of the way I have viewed the world. I knew that just underneath the surface of society there was a seething anger, but I did not understand its extent. More than that I need to repent of how I have viewed people, of how I have viewed the angry, the malcontent, and those who feel betrayed. I have feared instead of loved. I have often thought about what the gospel says about the angry but I have failed to think through what it says to them. I have judged unfairly.

Just as the gospel is good news for the broken and the wounded, it is also the good news for those who are frustrated and angry. It is good news for angry liberals and angry conservatives. It is good news for protestors. It is good news for those who comment on news articles. It is good news for those who are loud in their anger and good news for those who remain silent. It is good news for those who are angry because of some personal slight and good news for those who are angry because of what is happening in society. The good news of the gospel is good news for all – for all who will accept it.

What is the Gospel for the Angry?

Perhaps you are like me. I have nothing really to be angry about. Life is good. I need to be reminded that the good news is good for all, even for those with whom I find it hard to relate.

But perhaps you are angry because of your own personal circumstances or because of some injustice. I address the rest of this post to you.

First, I want to affirm that much of your anger might be justified. There is a righteous anger which is the response to injustice in the world. And there is plenty of injustice to be angry about. This is a broken and sinful world and we are all victims, to some degree or another, of that sin. You may say, “I have a right to be angry” and you are probably correct. I want to affirm that. God becomes angry at sin. Jesus overturned the tables in the temple. Anger is often justified.

Second, though, I am obliged to tell you that you need to repent. You need to repent because, while it’s true that you are a victim of injustice in the world, you are also a perpetrator. If you are willing to be honest you will see this is true. It’s true for you and it’s true for me. Your anger is not always justified nor is it always rightly directed. Your eyes are not clear when they judge. Your anger is not the same as God’s. He is holy. You are not. You may be justified in your anger but you take it too far. It becomes hatred and contempt. It is turned on the innocent instead of the guilty. It is used to justify all kinds of evil, either public or private. The gospel is only good news to the angry for those who are willing to repent.

Third, Jesus has come to heal the anger in your heart. How does he do it? He entered into the broken and unjust world. He was ridiculed and scorned. He was humiliated. He experienced the greatest single case of injustice the world has ever faced. He was nailed to a cross. And in all this he did not sin. He was filled with zeal when it came to the house of the Lord but when he himself was dying on the cross he exhibited only love, mercy, and deep sadness. He took the brunt of the injustice of the world head on.

But he did more than that. He also took on himself the righteous anger of God. He took our sin, our rage, our hatred, our contempt for God and for our fellow man. In doing so he also took on the wrath of God. Our sin was punished in Jesus and the glorious healing of God became available to us. We lay hold of that healing when we turn to Jesus in faith. When we do so, he promises to forgive our sins, but not only that, but to make for us new and softer hearts.

Fourth, Jesus came to heal the injustice in the world. He is healing the injustice in the world through the people who have come to him. If you are a believer in Jesus this is your ministry, to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. When the church does this we become a people who bring healing to the world.

But the healing we bring as the people of God is simply a foretaste, a tiny picture, of the justice and healing which God will bring when he returns. On that day we will no longer have any reason to be angry because all wrongs, personal or societal, will be done away with.

Are you angry? Maybe you are justifiably so. God offers you hope. Turn to him.

 

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