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Righteous Anger: An Act of Love

When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen, and poured out the changers' money and overturned the tables.

John 215

When we think of Jesus, we often think of the loving, gentle, and compassionate Jesus. That is why today's passage is so unusual for us in that we see Jesus smashing on some people. He came into the Temple of God and found people buying and selling and doing business. He got mad, made a whip of chords, chased people out and threw their money on the ground. What!?

It makes perfect sense. As we have said before, Jesus was all about relationships! The very temple of God was built as a place to work on a relationship with God and others. The problem was not the money being exchanged in the temple. The other accounts of the Gospels (Matthew 21:12–13; Mark 11:15–17; Luke 19:45–46) give a clear picture that there was scandalous activity going on in with the money. Jesus called it a "Den of Thieves". There can be no relationships built with thievery going on. Robbery is an action of violence that hurts and wounds others. And that disgusted Jesus and made him angry. His anger was born out of love for God and for God's people.

This is such a powerful point! It is not wrong to be angry! The Bible says, "Be angry and do not sin" (Ephesians 4:26-27) If anger is used properly, it can be a tool of great power. But righteous anger is born out the heart of love. Only a heart full of love can act with proper anger. All other angers are born out of fear and selfishness. Life is about relationships. First and foremost is a relationship with God and second is our relationship with others. When things get in the way of having loving relationships, that is a time when we need to express anger. The anger that comes from a heart of love is the right type of anger because it empowers people be better. Those are the faithful wounds of a friend. Those are the words of life. That is the righteous anger that brings people into alignment with God and others because it is an act of love.

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