Is anger an appropriate response when sharing God’s Word with others?
Nobody likes to hear that they are going to hell. When anger is used to pronounce this eternal reality, I don’t believe it is an appropriate response.
God’s wrath falls down on souls who reject the invitation to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior. Out of perfect love, it’s a final judgment against sin, but accompanied with profound sadness for the soul. During a time of grace on earth, God’s anger is typically reserved for his chosen people, not towards people who do not yet know Him.
Prophets of the Old Testament did pronounce angry judgment against the Israelite people. They had forgotten and abandoned God — the same God who had faithfully loved, cared, and provided for them. Like an abandoned spouse, the Israelites chose to divorce themselves from the one true God and fall for more appealing gods that satisfied their temporal and lustful needs. And God was having none of it.
God used these prophets to deliver messages, but they are not necessarily role models on how to share God’s Word with others.
When Jesus entered the temple courts, he certainly expressed anger. It was directed towards the outwardly religious who confessed a faith in God, but were disgracing His name and His house. Jesus even used some very colorful, unflattering names to describe their spiritual condition.
Sometimes Christians need a kick in the pants to let them know that God is aware of their actions and He is not impressed.
The reason is that God takes sin seriously. The light of the gospel is needed in a dark world. Salt is needed to express it. However, when salt loses it’s saltiness, it is to be thrown away. It’s good for nothing. Christians can easily get entangled in the weeds of life causing their fruit to dry up. The branch can eventually die causing it to be cut off and thrown into the fire. For those who confess a faith and not live it, anger is appropriate means to deliver a loving message of warning.
Note that we don’t see harshness when Jesus confronts people who don’t know or are ignorant of the truth. He tells Zacheas to get down from the tree and invites himself over to his house. He gently rebukes the Samaritan woman at the well and tells the woman caught in adultery to leave her life of sin. Jesus is more prone to engage sinners in need of the gospel versus saints who think they are spiritually healthy.
Anger doesn’t engage, but love draws people out.
When sharing God’s Word with others who do not know Christ, it’s important to build a bridge of trust and understanding. Loving and sincere words of concern can effectively share the consequences of sin to those who may be ignorant of the true message of salvation. For those who stubbornly persist in rejecting God’s message of grace, they already pronounce judgment on themselves. With a measure of sadness, we walk away shaking the dust off our feet.
Anger really doesn’t have a place to those who don’t know Christ. It seems that anger is only appropriate for those who confess Christ, but make life choices that gives evidence that they have turned their back on Him.