MATTHEW 21:12 (NIV) | “Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.”
What makes you angry?
The answer to that question says a lot about the type of people we are. I would love to be able to say that I only get angry when I perceive an injustice towards God or his people. The unfortunate truth is that my anger often manifests over the minor inconveniences of life. I suspect that the same is true for most of us (at least I hope I am not the only one).
I remember years ago being on the phone with my internet service provider, trying to figure out why my internet was not working. I had been on the phone for two hours, and I had been transferred to different representatives about half a dozen times. I pride myself on being a very patient person, and I would say I was fairly calm and collected for those two hours. But by the time I had been transferred for the last time, I had lost all patience.
The representative said, “Hello, my name is Tom. How can I help you?” and I proceeded to lay into him about how terrible his company and their customer service were. Poor Tom. God bless anybody who works in customer service and has to deal with customers like me on that day. Tom ended up being one of the nicest customer service representatives I have ever spoken to. (Ironically, he’s also the only one I have ever yelled at.) By the end of the call, he had fixed my problem, and I was feeling terrible for my behavior. All I could do was give him my thanks and apologize.
It is sobering when you read a passage like Matthew 21:12 and realize what made Jesus angry. So often, our human anger is derived from selfishness. We act as if we believe that the world owes us something or that we deserve to be treated a certain way. When we feel as if we have been slighted, our anger manifests.
In my situation, I believed that I was owed internet access, and I yelled at Tom when I could not get it. It is such an insignificant thing to be angry about when you stop to think about it. In contrast, when Jesus cleared the temple that day, he had zero selfish intentions. He was not angry because of anything the people buying and selling in the temple had done to him. He was angry because of what they had done to his Father’s temple. Jesus was angry because God deserves pure and holy worship, and the people were denying him that.
Jesus had so many opportunities and legitimate reasons to be angry during his public ministry. He was constantly harassed, falsely accused, and spoken ill of. Jesus chose to save his anger for those who opposed his Father and his Kingdom. He was not drawn into the trap of selfish anger as most of us are. With Jesus as my example, I challenge myself to never get angry out of selfishness again.
QUESTIONS FOR APPLICATION
- How often do you get angry?
- Does your anger usually manifest out of injustices to God and his people or out of selfishness?
- What change, if any, do you feel you need to make with regards to anger? What one thing can you do differently today?
This reading is a part of our "Small Feet Big Shoes" devotional series. You can also sign up to receive these meditations by email.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Troy Lozano has been with CRM since 2013. He serves on our Global Support Team as the Finance Manager. Troy serves CRM field staff with courtesy, promptness, and better financial solutions for all. He currently lives in Anaheim Hills, California.