Righteous Indignation or Angry Man?

15 Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back. 16 The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.

17 When Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting, he said to Moses, “There is the sound of war in the camp.”

18 Moses replied:

“It is not the sound of victory,
it is not the sound of defeat;
it is the sound of singing that I hear.”

19 When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. 20 And he took the calf the people had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it. Exodus 32:15-20

Moses was about to find out for himself why the Lord was so angry at the Israelites. It was the very definition of righteous anger. Of course it certainly didn’t help that he had nothing to eat for 40 days!

You can just picture this 80-year-old going on a wild rampage, breaking their calf idol, burning it up, grinding it, and then tossing it into the water. To seal the deal, he made the Israelite drink the water.

What did they think would happen? That’s the problem, they didn’t believe he was coming back. It wouldn’t have made any difference if he hadn’t returned because they were still breaking God’s laws – in fact, several of them.

The Bible tells us to “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath.” Ephesians 4:26. It’s not the anger of road rage, a politician’s terrible law, or a son staying out too late. Those call for measured and controlled emotions.

There are situations, however, that warrant righteous indignation. Any time a gross injustice is perpetrated on innocent children is cause for righteous indignation. Taking the innocent unborn is another similar cause.

GotAnswers.org authors tell us that “Good examples would be anger toward child abuse, pornography, racism, homosexual activity, abortion, and the like.” Jesus’ anger “was directed at sinful behaviors and unmistakable injustice.”

Like Moses, it’s okay to get angry, but it must be as that text said, “at sinful behaviors and unmistakable injustices.”

When someone upsets us, it’s easy to let our emotions get the best of us. That’s why we need to decide beforehand what those injustices are that would rise to the level of righteous indignation.

Being able to make the right choice in this day and age will take a lot of stress out of your emotions.

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