immediately made me think of Sean Smith
‘s message at our men’s retreat last month.
Be ye angry, and sin not.” There can hardly be goodness in a man if he be not angry at sin; he who loves truth must hate every false way.
It was the first sermon I’d heard that focused entirely on the positive
aspect of anger. While in theory that might make it unbalanced, in context it made perfect sense: we knew Sean’s person and heart, so we understood that he was not glorifying anger, he was affirming a true aspect of God’s character in order to accomplish His purpose.
As late as the 1980s, I remember mainstream evangelical authors — writing to men! — attempting to create an airtight biblical case to prove human anger was sinful. Bull****. Anger is fallen, but so is love — and both can be equally devastating if not submitted to our Father above. This urge to demonize human anger and idealize human love are part of the feminization/intellectualization of evangelical Christianity which I’ve devoted my life to undoing.
Ironically, Spurgeon’s main point is precisely the one the Jedi Council failed to grasp: that sin and evil should make us angry. If we deny that anger, we become less than men, and become ashamed of who we are. No wonder Anakin turned to the dark side: Palpatine offered him freedom from that shame and power to be a man. Of course, it was all a lie: Palpatine himself shamed the boy into unhealthy submission which ultimately destroyed his love (well, almost).
What Jesus models for us instead is the healthy way to process legitimate hate and anger:
none the less fervently because He showed His hate oftener in tears of pity than in words of rebuke
But, more than a model, Christ is the source of our power and victory over both evil and hatred itself:
He hated wickedness, so much that He bled to wound it to the heart; He died that it might die; He was buried that He might bury it in His tomb; and He rose that He might for ever trample it beneath His feet.
The Jedi destroyed themselves by trying to build society on an unemotional love that denied anger, which left them vulnerable to the power of evil. Christ saves us — and destroys evil — by loving us with a love strong enough to contain anger:
As warm as is His love to sinners, so hot is His hatred of sin; as perfect as is His righteousness, so complete shall be the destruction of every form of wickedness.
Amen! Come Lord Jesus.
[Read More] for the full text of Spurgeon’s devotional for May 30th.
“Thou hatest wickedness.”*–Psalm 45:7
“Be ye angry, and sin not.” There can hardly be goodness in a man if he be not angry at sin; he who loves truth must hate every false way. How our Lord Jesus hated it when the temptation came! Thrice it assailed Him in different forms, but ever He met it with, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” He hated it in others; none the less fervently because He showed His hate oftener in tears of pity than in words of rebuke; yet what language could be more stern, more Elijah-like, than the words, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer.” He hated wickedness, so much that He bled to wound it to the heart; He died that it might die; He was buried that He might bury it in His tomb; and He rose that He might for ever trample it beneath His feet. Christ is in the Gospel, and that Gospel is opposed to wickedness in every shape.
Wickedness arrays itself in fair garments, and imitates the language of holiness; but the precepts of Jesus, like His famous scourge of small cords, chase it out of the temple, and will not tolerate it in the Church. So, too, in the heart where Jesus reigns, what war there is between Christ and Belial! And when our Redeemer shall come to be our Judge, those thundering words, “Depart, ye cursed” which are, indeed, but a prolongation of His life-teaching concerning sin, shall manifest His abhorrence of iniquity. As warm as is His love to sinners, so hot is His hatred of sin; as perfect as is His righteousness, so complete shall be the destruction of every form of wickedness. O thou glorious champion of right, and destroyer of wrong, for this cause hath God, even Thy God, anointed thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.