A Righteous Anger

It is not always a sin to be angry. In fact, there are times when it is a sin NOT to be! Nehemiah experienced one of those times when he was told about how the Jewish leaders were taking advantage of their poorer brothers and sisters through unjust mortgages and usury. Nehemiah 5:6 says: “Then I was very angry when I had heard their outcry and these words.”

Nehemiah did not respond stoically to the plight of the Jewish people; in fact it says he was “very angry” about the financial oppression. And indeed, he should have been in the face of such abuse of his brothers. There IS such a thing as “righteous anger.” Jesus displayed it in Matthew 21 when He cleansed the Temple, which had been compromised by ungodly moneychangers. Jesus didn’t sin by becoming angry; it was a righteous expression of holy outrage in the face of evil which harmed people and tarnished the glory of God.

Jesus’ example, and Nehemiah’s response, should be instructive to us. Complacency in the face of blatant evil is no virtue. In fact, NOT being angry over injustice is abominable to God. Nehemiah was righteously angry when he saw it in his day, and it led him to act. When we are confronted with similar injustices done to others, we should do the same today.

About Shawn Thomas

My blog, shawnethomas.com, features the text of my sermons, book reviews, family life experiences -- as well as a brief overview of the Lifeway "Explore the Bible" lesson for Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers.
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