I used to be a very angry guy! This is what I have often said to folks I am working with. I share my story about being so angry, carrying around rage a low boil wherever I went. I share to let folks know that I am not perfect, though they don’t have to spend much time with me to realize that! I also have shared my story to say that there is a path to freedom, and to recommend Jesus to people.
The other day I came at this anger business from another angle. I remember looking for good examples of ‘being angry and yet not sinning’. I have an exceedingly short list of role models for this, in fact it is a list of one! Jesus was in the synagogue on the Sabbath and met a man with a withered arm. The religious leaders were looking on wanting to catch Jesus in breaking their codes. This made Jesus perfectly angry! His anger though was a passing thing rather than my slow boil and he immediately turned his anger into a positive. These men were not concerned for the welfare of this disabled man and their indifference ticked Him off. He then moved by compassion turns his anger at the situation into a healing act. As I said earlier (maybe you missed it) He was perfectly angry.
In thinking about this I realize that I am still an angry guy. I am angry about the indifference much of society has to my friends, “the least of these”. I am angry at the broken world system that devalues people. I am angry at the ravages of addiction. I am still an angry guy but God is working at me to be more perfectly angry. To become like him in my anger!
Now as a follower of Jesus being angry is not enough. Merely having these feelings is not enough to be like Him. To actually be like Him in his anger is to work for a positive result.
Over the years I have met a lot of people in the social justice world, many are motivated by a dewy eyed love and compassion which I do not exactly mirror. I have felt odd and a bit out of step at times. My best explanation for my compassion was an obedience to Jesus. While I do not want to denigrate obedience I have come to see that anger is at least a strong secondary motivator. I am ticked and I want to see things righted. I long to see His Kingdom come.
The idea of being perfectly angry might be old hat to you but it is a novel and surprisingly refreshing concept for me.
On a personal note, I had my review for the Community Chaplaincy ministry. We agreed that because of my sickness and other exigent circumstances that it was too early to properly evaluate the ministry here. I will continue here in a part time basis and we will have a fuller review next February. In the meantime I have a number of clear objectives for this next 6 months. I feel positive going forward.
Tonight is the official launch of Street Hope Saint John. This is the ministry which will occupy the other half of my time. I am excited beyond belief for this opportunity. I hope to report next week about the glorious time we will have tonight. If you can please come and if you can’t please pray! (In fact even if you do come please pray!)