cru·ci·fy ˈkro͞osəˌfī/ verb past tense: crucified; past participle: crucified 1. – to put (someone) to death by nailing or binding them to a cross, especially as an ancient punishment. For as…
Proverbs 16:32 ¶ He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
There is a legitimate time and place for anger. One day when Jesus walked into the temple and saw that men had turned God’s house into a crooked mall he got angry.
Mark 11:5 So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.
16 And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. 17 Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.'”
Why was Jesus angry? Let me suggest that one aspect of his anger was his seeing how the poor and needy were being treated in God’s house. Take a look at the parallel passage found in Matthew 21:12-14, and observe that after Jesus kicked the religious merchants out of the temple, the Bible says, “Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.” It seems from this text that the blind and the lame (a generic description of the poor and needy in Jesus’ day) who could not afford to buy the stuff that was being sold in God’s house were not welcomed inside. Jesus hated seeing people treated poorly, and we should too. We should hate the things that God hates, and when we see the weak being hurt or discriminated against, we should be moved to passionately do something about it. This kind of anger is OK with God. Being angry when we see God’s truth being distorted, or Christianity being prostituted and merchandised is also OK with God.
- Psalm 119:104 Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.
- Psalm 119:113 ¶ SAMEK. I hate the double-minded, But I love Your law.
- Psalm 119:163 ¶ I hate and abhor lying, But I love Your law.
- Proverbs 8:13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate.
- Proverbs 31:8 Open your mouth for the speechless, In the cause of all who are appointed to die. 9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, And plead the cause of the poor and needy.
- Isaiah 61:8 “For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery for burnt offering; I will direct their work in truth, And will make with them an everlasting covenant.
However, let’s be honest and confess that most of the things that make us angry have nothing to do with God, righteousness, truth, or standing up for others. Most of the things that make us angry are the (real or imagined) intrusions on our sense of personal entitlement. Here is a list of a few suggested entitlements:
- I am entitled not to wait behind people in the check-out line that try to save money by using coupons.
- I entitled to cut a line to ask the customer service person a question that the person I have cut off had to wait in line to ask.
- I am entitled not to be skipped in line.
- I am entitled to leave for an appointment five minutes later than I should have, therefore:
- I am entitled to drive 15 miles an hour faster than everyone else on the road so I won’t be late for the above appointment.
- I am entitled to come home to a clean house, have my dinner waiting, have the kids homework already done, sit on the couch and watch football (Monday, Thursday, Saturday Afternoon, and Sunday … but only during the regular season, then I an entitled to watch the playoffs too.).
- I am entitled to having a great night with my wife after cashing in on all of my entitlements listed in number 4.
- I am entitled to my wife taking aspirin for her headache at least two hours before I get home.
- I am entitled to everyone knowing that my opinion is the only one that is right and valid.
- I am entitled to criticize others and pointing out their mistakes.
- I am entitled not to be criticized.
- I am entitled to be listened to at all times.
- I am not entitled not to listen to others.
- I am entitled to more entitlements.
The point is: When our personal list of entitlements is threatened or violated by others we get angry. However, the scripture says to those that are followers of Jesus, “you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus” (Ephesians 4:20-21). Therefore, the LORD instructs his followers to:
- put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, (Ephesians 4:22)
- be renewed in the spirit of your mind, (Ephesians 4:23)
- put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:24)
- put away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,”(Ephesians 4:25)
- “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. (Ephesians 4:26,27)
One aspect of self control is the ability to check our attitude and emotions before reacting. Thus, the hot buttons that trigger anger inside of us are either removed completely or insulated under a deep layer of what the Bible calls “Long-suffering.” From whence does self-control come, and where may we find the covering of longsuffering?
Let me suggest that as followers of Jesus fellowship with the LORD, and walk with Him by faith, God transforms them through the power of the Word (The Bible) and by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Our faith in Christ is what makes it possible for the, “old things [to] “pass away, [and] all things [to] become new”. Yes, the “old things” that have passed away includes our list of personal entitlements, and with them the triggers that cause us to exhibit ungodly anger.
God wants followers of Jesus, not just to become better individuals, but expressions of the life of His Son in the world. When Jesus’ life is being expressed through his followers, it looks like:
people genuinely loving others …
folk filled with joy …
people at peace …
with their hot buttons insulated by layers of longsuffering ,,,
a spiritual community where random acts of kindness are the norm …
enjoying an atmosphere goodness, …
gentleness, and …
self-control. (see Galatians 5:22-24)
Furthermore, when the life of Jesus is being expressed through his followers, “those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires”:
they live in the Spirit, …
they walk in the Spirit …
they are not conceited …
they do they provoke one another ..,
nor do they envy one another. (See Galatians 5:24-26)
When the life of Jesus is being expressed through His followers, their anger is not under management, it is managed.
Yes, “Wisdom is the principal thing”, and true wisdom is not found in books, discussion and focus groups, gossip columns, Google searches, or Wikipedia. Furthermore, wisdom cannot be found in religion.
True wisdom can be found in the person of Jesus Christ; as it is written:
1 Corinthians 1:30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God–and righteousness and sanctification and redemption– 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.”
With this said, read the biography of Dr. Robert Dick Wilson below. Dr. Wilson was a brilliant man, who found true wisdom, not in academics, but in Christ. Enjoy.
Robert Dick Wilson (1856-1930) was fluent in 45 languages and dialects, including all of the Biblical and cognate languages, such as Hebrew, Greek, Babylonian, Phoenician, Coptic, various Aramaic dialects, French, German, and so forth. 45 languages and dialects in all.
Wilson could already read at the early age of four, and by the age of five he had read, among other books, Rawlinson’s Ancient Monarchies. Wilson graduated from Princeton University at the age of 20, and he read the New Testament fluently in nine languages by the time he got to seminary. He had memorized the entire New Testament in Hebrew, along with portions of the Old Testament, and it is said the he could recite the New Testament in Hebrew without missing so much as a syllable.
Dick Wilson demolished the critics of his day, especially the likes of the heretic S. R. Driver and the Graf-Wellhausen School. Wilson’s major publications, in which he not only annihilated the liberal critics, but also fortified the foundations of the study of the Old Testament with brilliant elucidations and conclusions, like nobody before or since, were, The Scientific Investigation Of The Old Testament, Is Higher Criticism Scholarly, Studies In the Book Of Daniel (a two-volume masterpiece, and THE classic defense of the book of Daniel), and a host of papers and treatises in various publications. An example of Wilson’s genius and scholarship can be seen in this short paper — The Veracity Of The Old Testament — which delivers conclusive evidence for the accuracy of the foundation and transmission of the Hebrew Text.
Wilson became the leading professor at Princeton Theological Seminary where he spent many years defending the Bible against all comers, as well as turning out students with a sound foundation of rare learning. Nearing the age of seventy, Wilson nevertheless produced a stirring moment for his students when, after a dissertation on the complete trustworthiness of Scripture, the renowned scholar said with tears streaming down his face —
“Young men, there are many mysteries in this life I do not pretend to understand,many things hard to explain. But I can tell you this morning with the fullest assurance that:
Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so!”
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
I love Michael Card’s thoughts RE: the imperative of living the Truth. Michael writes,
Telling the truth can be a serious and costly business. It cost Jesus His life, but at the same time, it purchased a new life for us. To be condemned means to forfeit all your freedom, but Jesus says that the truth means freedom (John 8:32)
And so the paradox remains: In this world the only true freedom comes from the truth of Jesus, and the inevitable consequence of testifying to the Truth is judgment by the world. To be free indeed, we must become slaves to the truth of Jesus. The condemnation that we will experience at all levels in the world is the truest freedom. (A Violent Grace, p. 82)
Jeremiah 9:23 ¶ Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; 24 But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the LORD.
2 Corinthians 12:9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
For many years I have lived with the conviction that if I think that I have found a hidden truth in the Bible that no one before me could see or figure out, or if I think I have gained a new insight or revelation from God about a particular Bible truth that has been lost for ages, or if I think that I possess a deeper understanding of the gospel than all of the other saints who have walked the faith road before me, then it is more than likely (99.999% sure) that my newly discovered truth, revelation, or understanding of the Bible is heresy. For this reason I like reading the words of the saints of old; Godly men that God has wonderfully used in the past to feed and shepherd his people. I truly believe that better minds than mine have been at this thing for a long time, and if I humble myself, and suppress the inward inclination within me to think more of myself than I ought, then I can learn many things from the elders of the church that will help me navigate my own spiritual journey. With this said, I love Martin Luther’s words below concerning the wonderfully humbling grace of Jesus. Luther said:
God wants to regard and does regard us as completely righteous and holy, for the sake of Christ our mediator. Although sin in the flesh is still not completely gone or dead, God will still not count it or consider it.
….. Therefore we cannot boast about the great merit of our works, where they are viewed without grace and mercy. Rather, as it is written, “Let the one who boast, boast in the Lord.” If one has a gracious God, then everything is good. Furthermore, we say also that if good works do not follow, then the faith (the faith we say we have in Christ) is false and not true.” (Martin Luther, The Schmalkald Articles – translated by Wm. R. Russell)