Have we always been this angry?
I think we probably have. At least, the capacity for it has always been there, deep in our hearts. As deep as the brokenness of sin itself.
But maybe today we feed the anger more than we used to. We feed it through social media posts, our rants to friends, the media we consume.
And I, for one, am tired of it. I’m exhausted by it.
Everywhere I look, on every side of the coin, I’m told to be angry about something or someone. It’s seems I’m always called to anger by this world.
What Did Jesus Call Us To?
But not by Jesus. Not by the Savior I love.
In the Gospels, He seems to instead spend an awful lot of time telling us in a million different ways that the problem is my own heart. My own self-righteousness.
Even when He is flipping table is the temple, the underlying issue being addressed seems to be the self-righteousness that blinded the minds of the religious from seeing the wrong they were doing.
After all, they upheld the “law” scrupulously. How could they be guilty of wrongdoing?
Am I better than them?
It’s easy — so easy — to read the words Jesus had for the Pharisees and be disgusted by them. Just as we can often be disgusted by some of the religious people we see today.
But I don’t think that was the point of Jesus’s words.
It seems instead He is calling us, as we read the words he said to the Pharisees, to examine our own hearts.
That if I listen closely, most often He seems to be whispering in the Gospels, “You are a Pharisee, too.”
Not condemning. Not in an accusing manner.
But as someone who knows what we are all capable of and the sins we commit every day.
Even those of us who love God.
We’re all weak
Perhaps that’s why Jesus started the Beatitudes lauding people who know they’re poor in spirit. Those people know their own weakness and depravity.
That knowledge puts you directly at the feet of Christ, overwhelmed by His grace, love and forgiveness of your sin.
And when you see the depth of your own depravity, somehow, anger doesn’t seem as fitting.
Because you start to understand the problem isn’t out there with the circumstances or the people in charge or the culture.
The problem is in me. First and foremost.
In my heart’s proclivity for sin and its equal ability to self-righteously judge others.
And when that becomes the greatest danger, well, then there’s a starting place to address all of the anger I encounter in the world.
Humbly, at the feet of Christ, knowing my own incapability to do anything good.
And somehow, that position gives me hope. For me and for all of us.