Righteous Indignation

“Anyone can get angry, but to do this to the right person,
to the right extent, at the right time, with the right motive,
and in the right way, that is not for everyone, nor is it easy.”


(a favorite image I’ve used before—Glendalough National Park, Co Wicklow, Ireland / 2015)

“Let anger be guarded against.
But if it cannot be averted, let it be kept within bounds.
For indignation is a terrible incentive to sin.
It disorders the mind to such an extent as to leave no room for reason.
The first thing, therefore, to aim at, if possible,
is to make tranquility of character our natural disposition by constant practice,
by desire for better things, by fixed determination.”

St. Ambrose

Righteous indignation—according to Wikipedia “is typically a reactive emotion of anger over mistreatment, insult, or malice of another. It is akin to what is called the sense of injustice.
In some Christian doctrines, righteous anger is considered the only form of anger which
is not sinful, e.g.,
when Jesus drove the money lenders out of the temple (Gospel of Matthew 21).”

As we find ourselves living in an age of growing and ever-increasing anger and angst…
anger over everything from road rage to cultural collisions,

It would, therefore, behoove all of us to stop and consider from whence comes our
wrath and rage… and to the reasons as to why it is and to where we send it…

Reactionary or purposeful??…
Or even actually necessary…

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander,
along with every form of malice.

Ephesians 4:31

21 comments on “Righteous Indignation

  1. Great insight. Thanks.

    James also said “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”

    Be blessed! God is in a good mood.

  2. “In some Christian doctrines, righteous anger is considered the only form of anger which
    is not sinful, e.g., when Jesus drove the money lenders out of the temple (Gospel of Matthew 21).” We know that Jesus anger is always righteous because He is always righteous. BUT us…we always need Him to shine His righteousness light on our hearts before we land on righteous. 🙂

  3. claire says:

    I love the criteria Gayle Urwin puts on “righteous anger”. He points out Jesus anger was restricted to those hurting someone else – not Him. This is a good question to ask, am I angry because I am hurt or offended or because someone else is being hurt?

  4. Citizen Tom says:

    Fascinating image. See why you like it.

    It is a puzzle to me that some people refuse to see that there is such a thing as righteous anger. Yet there it is. You just cited an example.

  5. Yes… important to examine our hearts always since “the heart is deceitful above all things…” We need always to be led by the Holy Spirit. Excellent post as always, dearest Julie! ❤

  6. Sarah says:

    I’ve just been out campaigning against abortion. That makes people very angry. I had two different women inches from my face, shouting at me. I’m afraid to say I shouted back. I shouldn’t have done: I don’t think it helped anybody.

    • No but sometimes the loud only hear loud— or most likely nothing at all

      • Sarah says:

        You might be right. I don’t know how to deal with it effectively. The seasoned campaigners tell us not to engage with the angry ones but I feel we’ve got to try even if it’s useless.
        To be fair, I accused one of the women of not listening but she recited back some of the things I’d said to her so I had to apologise.

      • Nor would I Sarah as you feel so passionately about this, as do I…it’s as if these “protesters” can’t see and don’t understand the spritual implications..of which you do…so yes, you get upset and you yell back…and yet many of the these protesters are trained, even paid to do this angry hatefilled protesting…
        And sometimes we feel compelled to the Christian soldiers…it’s the same reason I often go on and on here about things I feel are so far away from God’s word…it’s as if I want to shake those who are so hateful to life, to the Christian Faith, to morality, to decency, to God Himself….
        it’s frustrating…then we say, ‘well, we can’t save the world’…yet were we charged not to try…?! I would have gotten mad too

      • Sarah says:

        It is indeed very frustrating. It’s very hard to argue with people who have very different world views. How does one tackle abortion without tackling secularist morality? And how can you do that if they only let you speak for five seconds at a time and they walk away as soon as they think they’ve scored their points? But, as you say, we have to try.

      • just don’t get into a fight so I don’t have to come bail you out of jail cause they’ll scream assault 🙂

      • Sarah says:

        LOL 😀 Okay, I’ll try not to!

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