What your anger can show you

I am proud to introduce you to a friend of mine, Michelle Van Loon (not the picture displayed…), who writes about spiritual ragamuffins and rebels.  Anyone who uses the word “rebel” is alright by me (not to mention “ragamuffin” is such a cool word!)   Michelle is guest posting on the blog today. You can read more of her writings at http://www.michellevanloon.com.


Michelle writes:

I had lunch on Friday with my friend Pam.   Pam has been an educator for all of her adult life, and I’ve always admired the sandpaper way she would put her hands on her hips and ask her administrators why they were doing what they were doing, and then come up with an innovative, red-tape free way to actually help her kids. She has always been the voice for her students, though her forthright manner hasn’t always endeared her to the powers-that-be. She’s remained remarkably unmotivated by a need for approval by those in authority over her, and at one point, even volunteered to take a pay cut in order to keep an educational program in place for another year because she knew it had life-changing potential for her students.
So you know what happened next, don’t you? After many years teaching at this school, the program was cut. And so was Pam.
“Justice” is a word swirling (at last) through the evangelical community in recent years. When Pam and I first began following Jesus, the word was either shaded with informational images of God sitting behind a judge’s bench, declaring us “not guilty” due to the finished work of Christ, weighing deeds – or of those from more liberal, social action churches participating in C.R.O.P. walks or joining the Peace Corps. Now we evangelical/charismatic members of the Body of Christ are starting to realize that justice isn’t just a descriptor of a theological truth or the domain of them thar lib’rals, but our birthright as members of the kingdom-revolution.
A few years ago, I read (somewhere, can’t remember where) that the anger in us is wired to the beautiful and just character of God. When we encounter unrighteousness, something rises up in us that says, “NO!” That “NO!” is there to direct us toward God in order to cry out for justice, and to drive us to live the Micah mandate: “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (6:8). Anger can scorch everything it touches – or it can fuel a life that loves justice, mercy and humility.
A life like Pam’s.



What does justice look like where you are?  In your work, your school, in your community?  What does loving mercy, acting justly, and walking humbly look like for you?


Do you have a hard time wondering what your passionate about?  Maybe a trigger to help you identify an area of passion would be the question: What makes you angry?   Other than someone stealing your parking spot closest to the door of the supermarket, this very question could help you see a great area of passion in your life.


So, what makes you angry?



One Response to What your anger can show you
  1. TimNo Gravatar Reply

    Justice is “our birthright as members of the kingdom-revolution.” Powerful and true, Michelle!

    And according to Micah, God’s justice and God’s mercy coexist. They are not alternative attributes that appear at different times or events, but are eternally present. What a mind-blowing concept for a world that sees them as opposites to one another.

    Now Connie, asking what justice looks like at my work is kind of a loaded question for me, wouldn’t you agree? 😉 All right, here goes anyway: being just at my job means fairness; everyone who is entitled to a hearing gets one; patience, even when people are behaving in ways that do not elicit patience; making sure everyone in the room can see that I am devoting my attention to the case at hand; and the list can go on.

    What makes me angry? Bullying and oppression in any form. It might be someone berating a store clerk, or a dictator turning tanks on defenseless villagers. It could be hammering someone with racism rather than dealing with them as people bearing the image of God. Even dismissing someone as unimportant just because they don’t advance one’s own agenda is a type of oppression. There’s a lot of cause for prayer in this world when it comes to bullying and oppression. I am so glad Jesus began his first recorded synagogue sermon like this in Luke 4:

    16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

    18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
    He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
    to set the oppressed free,
    19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

    20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

    Jesus came to set the oppressed free. That’s God’s justice.


    P.S. It’s good timing, this post. I’m preaching this Sunday (filling the pulpit for a friend who is on vacation) on Psalm 137 and the need God’s people have for God’s justice.

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