"for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God requires."
I totally get that anger doesn't produce anything positive. I've been in enough angry conversations with people over the years to know that for sure. Ephesians tells us "be angry, but do not sin." It is when my anger is expressed in over-the-top ways that I am in trouble. That is the kind of unbridled anger I think James is talking about here. It is an unproductive anger. There is a productive anger too: when we look at a social injustice and it makes us angry. Certainly Jesus was angry when he turned over the money-changers' tables in the Temple or when he called the pharisees a "brood of vipers". This was productive anger because it addressed a serious problem. Certainly husbands and wives need at times to do creative argument.
The part that I don't get is what the righteousness IS that God requires. Are we returning to the law? Is there a list somewhere I can follow so I can check off what I MUST do in order to achieve the righteousness God requires? I certainly don't want to get this wrong. But isn't that just the problem living under the covenant of grace? If my anger is an individual thing, then so is my righteousness. There IS no "one size fits all" and I simply have to be in such intimate contact with God and with my own inner emotions that I begin to know when I'm off base. It is just like breathing. If I sit and listen carefully I can hear myself breathing. I can be conscious of what my body is doing. Just so, if I listen carefully I can hear what God is doing. Not totally and not at all times, but I can tell you this... when I'm angry the noise of my own emotional state blocks out the righteousness God is trying to establish.
Pastoral Relief and Retreat
- Wethersfield, CT, United States
- I am Pastor at Poquonock Community Church, Congregational (CCCC) in Windsor, CT. My wife Jama and I live in Wetherfield, CT. We'd like to invite you to Terre Haute -- High Ground -- That's what Jama and I call the retreat space on our property. We offer free intentional get-away retreats. We'll feed you and house you and give you space to be with the Lord. All are welcome; no questions asked. This blog is my daily devotional journal. I write it because it is so easy to go for weeks without ever taking the time to be alone with God. Writing helps me develop a discipline I need.