On your Mark
Never a time not to do good
He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at
their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched
it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and
began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill
Jesus. (Mark 3:5,6, NIV)
Anger is like gunpowder. Whether it is good or bad depends
on how you use it. It can blast away at injustice, or it can kill and maim the
Clearly, both forms of anger are present in the synagogue
when Jesus healed the man with the shriveled hand. Jesus is angry, and His
opponents are mad enough to kill.
The teachers of the Law (that is, the Pharisees) had
criticized Jesus for forgiving a paralytic’s sins (2:6,7), for eating with
sinners and tax collectors at Levi’s house (2:15,16), and for His disciples
plucking grain on the Sabbath (2:23). Now, they dared Him to heal on the Sabbath.
Jesus has had it with their insensitivity to those in
spiritual and physical need, for their callous indifference and judgmental
Is it ever right to be angry? Yes! We have the Lord’s own
example! He looked around with anger and was deeply distressed!
What can the right kind of anger do for you?
It will stir you from apathy so that you fight injustice.
William Wilberforce of England lived in a day when slave
trading was an accepted practice. His lifetime of effort succeeded in banishing
this evil from Great Britain. His righteous anger moved a whole nation to no
longer ignore this terrible treatment of human beings. Surely, you likewise can
find a cause that remedies an injustice!
What makes you angry? Do you remain apathetic when someone
is mistreated? Are you angry at the human trafficking that takes place all over
the world? At the pornographic industry that wrecks multiplied millions of
lives? At the unprincipled greedy who exploit the poor and
the defenseless? At abusers who prey upon and damage children? The list
is almost endless when it comes to injustice.
The human emotion of anger is meant to stir us to take
action. Individually, you cannot tackle all the ills and wrongs in society, but
you can do at least one thing. Get angry in the right way about something that
God wants corrected.
Then, release your anger in a way that heals rather than
destroys. That’s what Jesus did. He didn’t become an angry person. He used
anger rather than letting anger use Him.
Anger fills you with energy to do the right thing. Let it be
your servant and not your master.
On the other hand, destructive anger kills. You see that
with the Pharisees and Herodians. They were not
natural allies. They spanned opposite ends of the religious and political
spectrum. The Pharisees loathed the government of Herod. The Herodians broke the rules of religious tradition left and
right. However, the Pharisees and Herodians found
common ground against Jesus. Their anger overrode all other passions.
The wrong kind of anger leads to destructive alliances. Its
goal is not to remedy, not to help, not to heal; its aim is to destroy, to get
even, and to punish.
The apostle Paul tells us, “In your anger, do not sin”
(Ephesians 4:26). Constructive anger never sins. It always does the right thing
in the right way with the right spirit.
A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, help me to also “look around” and see what You would have me be angry at. Deliver me from apathy and
looking the other way when I see injustice. Rid me of anger that destroys, and
fill me with anger that brings good.
GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies
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