Is it wrong to be angry? No, it’s not. Anger is neutral, it’s neither right nor wrong. Jesus got angry. And, we can learn a lot by paying attention to what made Jesus angrier than anything else.
It’s hard to imagine that Jesus wasn’t at least a little angry when he called some Pharisees snakes, hypocrites, and white washed tombs (Matthew 23). He seemed frustrated when he asked about his disciples, “How long do I have to put up with you” (Mark 9:19)?
But, there’s one instance that rises to the surface for me. The time when Jesus clears the temple. The way John tells the story, Jesus sees what’s going on and leaves to make a whip! He comes back and starts crackin’ it.
Jesus — literally — starts throwing tables. Can you imagine that? Jesus fashions a weapon and starts wrecking shop. You might think this seems like a vey un-Jesus-like thing to do. But, here’s what he said…
And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’” Mark 11:17
All this happened in the court of the Gentiles, the place in the temple meant for any person to come to pray and worship, regardless of background. Not to mention the fact that the people are being overcharged like it’s a movie theater. Jesus isn’t happy about it.
But, what makes Jesus so angry?
This was supposed to be a place where any person could come to connect with God and, yet, the people of God are making it harder than it should be. They’re putting unnecessary barriers between God and people.
This is important: God’s desire has always been for all people to have a relationship with him.
And, here’s the bottom line: Jesus is angry when his people put unnecessary barriers between people coming to know him.
God’s desire is still for all people to have a relationship with him. As his people, we should pay close attention to what made Jesus angry. We have to do everything within our power to make sure we aren’t putting barriers between God and people.
A Word About Politics
As I see it, there’s one thing that has more potential to put unnecessary barriers between God and people than almost anything else: politics. Before you write me off, hear me out.
I’m not saying we should avoid politics. I vote. I participate in the political process. I often follow it closely. I’m really intrigued by the current presidential election.
I also know that there have been great men and women of faith who have been pacifists, people like David Lipscomb. They didn’t/don’t participate in the political process at all. I respect that stance even though it’s not the one I take.
This is all I’m saying…
I’m afraid the way some Christians talk about politics is so off-putting that it erects barriers between us and people coming to God. My fear is that some people will never follow Jesus because of the hateful tone some of us use when expressing our political beliefs.
If my concern is a reality — I’m not saying it is, I’m saying if — it makes Jesus angry! We need to think seriously about that.
That’s all I’m saying.
Is there anything you’ve seen that puts up unnecessary barriers between God and people? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below!