We live in a culture full of rage. Spend time on Twitter and most other social media platforms, and you will see anger on full display and coming from every direction. Spend any significant amount of time there, and you too will read something that will move you to anger.
If we are not angry about something today, then it seems we must lack virtue. How could the cultural dialogue surrounding gender, sexuality, abortion, racism, and countless other issues not lead to anger? You would almost have to be dead inside or extremely apathetic not to be triggered by these things.
The problem is that the majority of our anger is not godly. It is contrary to the righteousness of God. James tells us, “The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God (James 1: 20).” Think of our response to many of these issues. We are a people who are quick to speak and slow to hear; most significantly, we are quick to anger.
All three of these traits are contrary to the righteousness of God. There is a place for righteous anger with every one of these issues, but what most of us exhibit in our anger is not righteous.
Our primary concern is not the glory of God. Twitter rarely makes us angry for God’s honor. It makes us mad because someone’s pride rubs our pride the wrong way, or someone espouses a policy or idea that impacts us negatively. We do not like others to impose upon us.
Christ expressed anger on occasion. Much less frequently, it seems, than many of us on social media. All sin stirs up his wrath, but he is still meek. The source of his anger is also instructive. No sin caused him to declare more “woes” than the sin of hypocrisy. His righteous anger seemed to be leveled most at people who claimed to be concerned about the glory of God but lived lives contrary to his word.
The word of God tells us to be slow to speak, quick to hear, and slow to anger. It also tells us to be doers of the word and not hearers only. Maybe waking up every morning to see what everyone else on Twitter is upset about and then joining the throng of angry voices is counterproductive to our hunger for righteousness.
If anger caused Moses, one of the humblest men, to sin by striking the rock and be kept out of the promised land, how much more is anger a threat to us? It is flawed to think that God needs our passion and fury to fight his battles. He is much better served when we are meek and mild like Christ himself. It may be time for us to put away the anger and wickedness that besets much of our online existence and instead spend more time receiving the word of God with meekness, which can save our souls.