The Wrath of Man

I’ve been considering what I’d do if faced with a BLM mob harassing a vulnerable person, an old man or a pregnant mother.

Honestly, my first instinct is to fly into a rage and tear into them, doing as much damage as humanly possible. Yet, clearly, something doesn’t feel right about this; it’s not what Father’s doing in me. There’s something ugly, intrinsically unholy about judgmental rage, especially when it’s hasty. (Ec 7:9)

The Word affirms the same: “the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” (Ja 1:20) We’re to put away all wrath and malice; it should find no place in us (Eph 4:31) since it’s triggered by a lie. (2Ti 2:25)

For me, the lie appears to be pride-related: when I esteem others better (Php 2:3), and recall that all bullies will be dealt with justly (Ro 2:5-6), the rage dissipates in my avatar immediately, telling me the intensity is rooted both in self-righteous indignation, and in unbelief in the justice of God: not good. This is my old man. (Ro 7:25)

The proper emotion in cases of injustice appears to be sorrow, for both victim and offenders (Ps 119:136); perhaps more for the offenders (53); they’ll be trodden down of God. (18) Knowing no one ever gets away with anything is at the root of this (Ro 2:2), and that I’d likely deserve worse if left to myself. (1Ti 1:15)

And what does my instinctive, judgmental rage reveal? That I’m guilty of the same thing (Ro 2:1): if I were deceived about white, capitalist America being racist enemy no. 1, I’d be on the front lines of BLM, doubtless among the worst of them. I’m reacting this way to cover for myself; the carnal mind loves to project its own sin onto others.

So, rage is out – but the law of love forbids hiding from injustice and doing nothing; if my well-being were threatened by such a mob I’d certainly want others to intervene. Passivity here is cowardly weakness and fear. This isn’t Christ (Php 1:21); we’re to be strong (1Co 16:13), bold as a lion. (Pr 28:1) Minimal necessary force to protect myself and others is required as I have opportunity.

The challenge here is that Marxist activists are intent on goading others into aggression so they can both play the victim and counter-attack with public justification. They’re trained in provocation, almost as an art form, knowing precisely where their legal boundaries are and how to violate them with minimal risk to themselves. (Pr 25:8) Over-reacting is a mistake, especially in such a trap (Ps 119:110), and I’m evidently as likely as any to fall into it, unless God gives me repentance here. (2Ti 2:26)

We can be angry without sinning (Ep 4:26) if we love our enemies. (Mt 5:44) The servant of God has compassion both on the ignorant and deceived as well as on the rebellious, knowing he himself is also prone to sin. (He 5:2) It takes wisdom and grace to attack someone in love, in self-defense or in defense of another. We’re called to this at times, (Lk 22:36), but disarming and deescalating is always preferred. God help us prepare, as we train ourselves in holiness, and be up to the task as and when it falls to us.

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