Last week I talked with a friend of mine who has an adult daughter with special needs. Some unsavory people took advantage of her daughter, who has been hospitalized. My friend is a Christian, and she was struggling with the ferocity of her rage. “I feel like a Mother Bear: ‘Don’t get near my cubs!’” she said. “I want to go and beat up people. I just want to get revenge on the people who have hurt my daughter. Is it wrong to be so angry?”
I told her that I believe it is right to be angry at the things that make God angry.
Our culture is offended at the idea of a God of wrath and judgment, especially a God who would become enraged at us. Yet at the same time, we all long for a God who will right the wrongs that upset us. That’s why we like Superman so much. He has power. He gets mad at injustice, and he does something about it. We really want God to get angry and do something about people who rape children. We want God to get mad and swoop in to rescue vulnerable people like my friend’s daughter. And the Bible says that the real God does this – in His own way, in His own time, and with incredible power. God gets angry.
This blog post could proceed at this point, I suppose, to discuss free will and original sin and why God doesn’t always swoop in like Superman, in the way and with the speed that we think He should. But I just want to talk about a mother’s pain and anger. Or anybody’s pain and anger. People do things that deeply hurt us or those we love. Things that may not necessarily be illegal, but things that are cruel and unfair. And we get angry. We want revenge. We want to get back. A lot of Christians think we’re not supposed to want those things – or feel that way. After all, “Vengeance is mine,” says the Lord. “I will repay.” And didn’t Jesus say we are supposed to turn the other cheek?
So what does that mean? Pretend it didn’t happen? Swallow your rage? (more…)