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  • Writer's pictureSara

On Anger and Injustice and God's Goodness

Updated: 1 day ago




“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil…” (Isaiah 5:20 NIV)


I don’t generally think of myself as an angry person, but there’s nothing that gets me riled up like injustice. When a parent treats her children harshly. When a teacher gives his student a bad grade for disagreeing with him in a paper. When citizens accuse every member of the “other” political party of being a criminal. When a church passes judgment rather than reflecting the love of Jesus. When Christians lie and slander others in order to save face. And sometimes, it seems like injustice is all I can see.


Well, Jesus flipped tables, so why can’t I?


It feels good to be angry about injustice. I am obviously a good person to be so angry about injustice, at least, a better person than everyone doing those horrible things. I am smarter and kinder and more generous and more loving. Except I’m not. I am now treating the “other” harshly for disagreeing with me. I am judging them as the criminals. And unrestrained, my anger becomes hatred, when God commanded us to love even our enemies (Luke 6:27).


But it’s so hard.


I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately as I struggle to discern what it looks like to follow Jesus. Do I speak truth even when it sounds harsh? Is it okay to be angry at injustice? How do I love people I don’t respect and don’t like? How do I call people to account for their relationship with God and others? How do I call myself to account? It’s obviously a juggling act, otherwise, we would all be passively watching the world burn as those who most need to be held accountable are left unchecked. But still…how do I live and love like Jesus?


I think a conversation Jesus had with a certain man might give us a clue. The man came to Jesus and asked, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17 NIV). And Jesus, of course, asked him a different question in response. “Why do you call me good? Only God is good” (Sara’s paraphrase of Mark 10:18).


Only God is good.


This statement changes everything. A simple replacement will give an example of what I mean. “Woe to those who call evil ‘God’ and ‘God’ evil.” Are you terrified yet? I am. Because this is what’s at stake. If we call anything else good when only God is good, we are calling evil good. When we condemn the “other,” claiming that we are right and righteous and…good… Aren’t we then holding ourselves up as equivalent to God, assuming Jesus was telling the truth and only God is good?


This complicates things a lot. How dare we participate in activism or political causes or humanitarian aid as though we somehow have the right and good solution for the world’s problems? And yet, we must dare because God has invited us to act alongside him, to enact justice, to offer mercy, and to forgive those who have harmed us. This requires an insane amount of humility. We have to declare that despite our best intentions and solutions and suggestions that only God is good and we are not. Which means what we are offering also risks not being good.


But this also simplifies things. Because God is good. Since God is good, I can trust him and everything he does in the world. I can trust that when I see injustice, that is not from God. That when I put forth my feeble table flipping attempts, God’s goodness can stay my hand. That when I am angry and beginning to hate the “other,” God reminds me who he is. That not only is he good, he is also just. And while his patience can sometimes be frustrating, it’s been extended to me more times than I can count when I was infinitely less than good.


So while the temptation is still strong, I think I’ll take a day off from flipping tables and consider instead what it means that God is good. And maybe, spending time with him instead of my anger will bring me a little bit closer to goodness too.

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