Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Fairest Lord Jesus"1 (Lyrics)
Psalm 119:139 – I am overwhelmed with indignation, for my enemies have disregarded your words. (NLT)
Listening to the evening news is enough to make me mad: a police officer who intentionally shoots and kills a man; a man who shoots his parents and then goes to a local business to kill his ex-girlfriend too; the woman who doesn't want her child and discards her in the trash dumpster; tons of pollution ascending into the air or descending into fresh water sources that people drink; radical religious sects beheading people just because they're from another religious tradition; a local animal shelter displaying pictures of cats and dogs that have been severely abused by their owners, especially the kittens and puppies that can't fend for themselves.
In biblical times, the nation of Israel had any number of enemies who wanted to subdue her, rule over her, and steal her treasures: Egyptians, Babylonians, Syrians, Assyrians, Edomites, Philistines. They surrounded her with a web of evil and couldn't wait to draw her in, roll her up, and administer the death sting. Like Goliath with David, they wanted to feed her flesh to the birds of the air.
Sin causes me anguish because it infringes on my rights, the rights of others, and on the good plan that God has for His earth. While the earth itself has been affected by sin, it is the sinful people who live here that infest it with sinful practices. But sin, rather than the sinner, is what must be the source of my anger. Jesus didn't get mad at people per se; He became angry over the sinful deeds that they committed. He loved criminals, prostitutes, thieves, the religious left, and the religious right. He extended to all the privilege of becoming God's children and having their sinful actions and attitudes transformed into godly ones. He still does.
Sin should anger me, but I should never get angry at the one sinning. Except for the grace of God, I might be walking in their shoes. Do you hate sin but love the sinner?
Prayer: Father, enable us to become angry over sin but at the same time to love the sinner. Amen.