Righteous rage - Hope 103.2

Righteous rage

By David ReayTuesday 5 May 2015LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Psalm 139:21-24

21        O Lord,shouldn’t I hate those who hate you?
                Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you?
22        Yes,I hate them with total hatred,
                for your enemies are my enemies.
23        Search me,O God,and know my heart;
                test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24        Point out anything in me that offends you,
                and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (NLT)

This is the uncomfortable bit of the famous Psalm. After waxing lyrical about the value and dignity of human beings,the psalmist goes on to express sheer rage at what is wrong with the world. His praise of God is accompanied by hatred of those who oppose him.

We might be embarrassed about showing such feelings,but the psalmist doesn’t hold back. We might try to minimise our embarrassment by saying the writer is hating the sin rather than the sinner,but this text doesn’t allow this option. We have to face the fact that he actually expressed personal rage and hatred.

Granted that we,as fallen human beings,are liable to this sort of thing; expressing it before God is a healthy thing to do. Note the words of Miroslav Volf,”…by placing unattended rage before God we place both our unjust enemy and our own vengeful self face to face with a God who loves and does justice. Hidden in the dark chambers of our hearts and nourished by the system of darkness,hate grows and seeks to infest everything with its hellish will to exclusion. In the light of the justice and love of God,however,hate recedes and the seed is planted for the miracle of forgiveness.”

In other words,give our rage to God and allow him to examine it rather than let it fester deep within. This is how the psalmist ends his Psalm. Having poured out his heart to God he calls on God to examine his heart. Perhaps he knows,as we may not,that each is necessary.

David Reay