Scripture Reading — Mark 3:1-6
He looked around at them in anger ... deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts ... Mark 3:5 —
If you tell some people that Christians can get angry, they'll find that hard to believe. They think that if people are "good Christians," they just shouldn't get angry. I wonder, then, how they'd explain the Bible stories that mention times when Jesus was angry. In the passage we read today, we're told he was angry at the stubborn hearts and foolish arguments he was hearing. It says his spirit was deeply distressed, like a bottle of water that has been shaken. At another time he was "indignant" because his disciples were trying to keep children away from him (Mark 10:14). Some anger is wrong. It breeds harsh words, strong accusations, broken relationships, and even violence. But there is another side to the matter. This is a world in which hard-heartedness stands in the way of God's work, where foolish arguments twist the message of Christ, where people take advantage of each other, where promises are broken and blood is spilled. Deep down in our hearts we should feel distress and anger at such evil. True, we leave the exercise of judgment to God (Romans 12:19), but there are times when we should be angry, as Jesus showed us. Spiritual growth does not involve learning how not to be angry. It involves learning what ought to legitimately stir our anger and how to channel it.
Lord, you know when anger is righteous and when it is not. Help me to discern that too. Help me to love what you love and become distressed at what distresses you. In Jesus, Amen.