Indigenous Anger vs Righteous Indignation
Is it wrong to be angry? Are parents supposed to teach their children that anger is never okay? Are we supposed to be angry when we have been mistreated? Is it our right? Is it our pride? Is it our ignorance? Is it our prerogative?
Let me give you two lists.
1) I get angry when... people drive under the speed limit, people cut me off on the highway, people call me names, I have to clean up after someone else, I am forced to do something I do not want to do, I don't get what I deserve, I don't feel respected.
2) I get angry when... people lie, children are hurt, people are cheated, people are lied to, truth is misconstrued, the law is broken, bad things happen to good people.
Do you see the differences in the two lists? The more visible difference is that list one is all about "me" what has been done to "me" while list two is about what is "right" and what went wrong.
I split it up into two lists to show a distinction I believe is made in the Bible. The Bible says we should love our enemies, pray for those who do bad to us, and yet we should be wise and not allow others to trample us under foot. We are called away from anger, Jesus said in essence anyone who says to his brother "you fool" in anger is answerable to it. And yet Jesus, we are told, was angry when he found people buying and trading in the temple and ran them out at the end of a whip. Is this a contradiction?
I do not believe so. When you hear the words righteous indignation, what do you think about? I believe most Americans would think about a stuck up person who has an inflated sense of self worth who thinks he/she has been slighted. That is not the idea the definition should bring forth. Righteous indignation is being angry for the right reasons. Being angry for the right reasons has nothing to do with personal rights or cares. In other words, being angry for our own sake is not right, it is pride. Pride is thinking over-highly of oneself. (Self- confidence is something else, so do not hear me wrong.)
Let me put it differently. If we were created to serve God, if God loves us and has a plan for our lives, if He works all things for good for those He loves and promises never to give us more than we can handle, then what should we care of what others think of us? What should we care of what they do to us? If we live here to serve but awhile and what we do here reverberates throughout eternity as we are eternally saved through Jesus, then why become angry over some foreseen grievance that lasts as long as a speck of dust compared to all of eternity?
We fight for what is right. We fight for what is good. We fight for that which is worth it. We fight for something more than ourselves. For we are nothing without Him. So why get angry over petty grievances, over being slighted. One vastly more important cares much more.
So is it our pride, or our prerogative?
Should we get angry or should we not?
There is a time and a place for anger, but human nature has natural inclinations to get angry when it shouldn't. It is not righteous anger, but selfish anger. So most of the time the answer is no because it is our pride. But there are circumstances where it is our prerogative. But what needs to be watched is our pride. Ask the question, will this really matter in eternity? When I stand up for what I have done, will I be vindicated or be shown as vindictive?