Lent 2013 – day 35

19 Mar

Psalm 139:19-22
If only you would slay the wicked, O God! Away from me, you bloodthirsty men! They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord, and abhor those who rise up against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.

“Sometimes Christians are just not angry enough!” This was the conclusion I made when recently chatting with a friend. They have had a recent experience in Africa and they have come back with a change in the way that they see the world, which includes getting angry about matters of injustice that sometimes people in the wealthy West just don’t see. And there are many reasons for Christians to get angry in this world, but often the response is more like “Annoyed of Tunbridge Wells” (e.g. More words than actions) than anything else.

The first question to ask in this is “Is it ok to get properly angry?” Verse 22 in the Amplified Bible says this:
I hate them with perfect hatred; they have become my enemies.

Other translations say pure hatred, but I think the use of perfect makes the point best. We can hate for the wrong reasons and in the wrong way, and that is bad. But if we hate purely because something is wrong on principle, rather than anything personal, then we are on the right track. But this hatred of something can’t just remain a thought, it must inform our own actions in our lives and also bring about deliberate action aimed at the cause of our hatred.

Not too long ago, a woman got angry about Page 3 in The Sun and started an organisation called “No More Page 3”. The following comes from the organisation’s website:
“The campaign started in the summer when Lucy Holmes found she couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that the largest female image in The Sun was of a young woman showing her breasts for men, even though Jessica Ennis had just won her gold Olympic medal.”

Lucy Holmes got angry and did something positive.

William Wilberforce, along with others, got angry about the slave trade and they did something positive.

Jesus saw people had turned the use of the Temple from worship to thievery, he got angry and so he did something positive about it.

If our anger is left at just anger and righteous hatred it is worthless and does nothing but fester inside us. But let it inspire you to do something about what is causing your reaction and it becomes a driving force that could change the world!

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

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Archbishop Cranmer

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