Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Is Righteous Anger A Sin?

For those who dislike my occasional zealousness in reprimanding those who openly attack me and go against the clear teaching of Scriptures that I have shared and interpreted, I want you to know that I am not purposely being “unkind” or “unloving”. Rather, I sometimes feel righteous anger toward these people for being so stubborn or mulish, just as Yahshua and Paul occasionally did when they had to deal with similarly-minded people - even those in positions of authority within the Church.

There are four instances in the New Testament where righteous anger is expressed. Three of the instances where something was said in anger against one’s brethren came from Yahshua our Messiah, and one came from the writings of the Apostle Paul. I have listed these instances below for your edification and instruction: 
Matthew 12:33-34 (NKJV) - “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”   
Matthew 21:12-13 (NKJV) - “Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’”  
Matthew 23:32-33 (NKJV) - “Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. 33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?”  
Galatians 5:11-12 (Complete Jewish Bible) - “And as for me, brothers, if I am still preaching that circumcision is necessary, why am I still being persecuted? If that were the case, my preaching about the execution-stake would cause no offense whatever. 12 I wish the people who are bothering you would go the whole way and castrate themselves!”

These harsh statements were given in rebuke in the hopes that the recipients might wake up and realize how wrong they were in their faulty interpretations of God’s Will, and in hopes that they would repent and turn away from sin. Sometimes I occasionally feel led to do the same thing using civil language. Does that make it sin? No, clearly it does not - so long as the objective is to steer wayward believers or cultists back to the truth. 

In the above listed Scriptures, the one taken from Matthew Chapter 23 is actually the closing statement of a much longer reprimand directed against the Scribes (or Sadducees) and Pharisees, whom Yahshua found wanting in many respects, and whom He strongly condemned. Here is the complete section filled with Yahshua’s scorching words of reproval: 
Matthew 23:13-31 (NKJV) - “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 
14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation. 15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. 
16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’ 17 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? 18 And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.’ 
19 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? 20 Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it. 21 He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in it. 22 And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it.  
23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! 
25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. 
27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. 
29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’ 31 “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. 33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?”

As Matthew 23:13-31 clearly shows, Yahshua our Messiah was not always a loving, gentle Servant of God. There were times when He was downright mean and nasty, as the searing, angry words of criticism that He chose to use above convey. This was especially true when Yahshua was reprimanding those who professed to know God’s Will better than anyone, but still continually led the people that they were entrusted to shepherd astray. Though Yahshua’s angry words are often overlooked in favor of His more gentle discourses, His harshest words should serve as a stern warning toward anyone who chooses to be a spiritual leader among God’s people.

As the Scriptures quoted here convey, sometimes the hypocritical nature of the sinner does not allow us to be kind, but calls for us to be firm and bold - even in the case of the Rabbis, Pastors, and other Leaders of the Church. But each situation is different, and we always need to rely on the Holy Spirit to direct us on what to say, and how to say it. 

So always remember to seek God’s Will in every situation where strong language may be called for, and temper your words by not screaming, yelling, waving your arms, or using profanity. Though we may change the pitch of our voices when speaking, or our choice of words when we write to express our anger or angst, we should always do so in a manner befitting one of God’s true servants, with self-control and temperance. 

Your Sister in Yahshua,
Helena Lehman of the
Pillar of Enoch Ministry
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