I am reading Rid of My Disgrace right now, which is a solid (albeit emotionally exhausting) read. I’m in the chapter on anger. They are helpfully illuminating the differences between righteous anger (Is. 9:17, John 3:36, Rom 1:18, 2:5, 8, 3:5, 9:22, Eph. 5:6, Col. 3:6, 1 Thess. 2:16, “Be angry and do not sin.” -Eph. 4:26) and ungodly anger. In reading the description, it struck me that I’ve seen this anger many times, not contained to sexual assault (as is context of this particular book), but also in many other injustices; social, economic, political, and personal.
“God’s anger is part of executing final judgment, which is his exclusive domain. Those harboring bitterness and hatred don’t act as if God is concerned about their plight. Out of that false belief they often take matters into their own hands to seek justice. When one actively believes the distortion that anger is a catalyst simply for the self-satisfaction of seeing their perpetrator punished, God is displeased. Ungodly anger attempts to rectify the wrong done to us by empowering us to act instead of waiting vulnerably for God to do something. It is not only a protection against harm; it is a taunt against God for apparently refusing to act on our behalf.” (ch. 8, pg 131)
It seems that we forget God’s hand is upon each injustice and instead of looking to Him for wisdom on how to respond, process and cope with these painful experiences, we take matters into our own hands, choosing to believe that God abandoned us in our time of need rather than face the reality that He orchestrated them. We get angry at corporations, at politicians, at doctors and nurses, at nations, at our pastors, our parents, our neighbors. We forget that God ultimately hardens and softens the hearts of man. We get angry at the person and let it fester in our hearts instead of getting angry at the sin and relying on God’s promises. We take matters into our own hands instead of letting God be glorified. When we take the weight of vengeance upon ourselves, it results in a consumed and crushed spirit.