Dear Student: It’s Okay to Be Angry at Injustice, But . . .

Edrei Canda

June 12, 2020

Dear Student,

Let me say this at the onset: You are free to be angry. Anger is a valid human emotion, and this emotion is part of God’s original design for us.

Actually, with all the infuriating news circulating on social media nowadays, believe me when I say that I share a lot of your sentiments, and my wife knows how I rant to her about how I feel. 

But as Christians, the Bible gives us guidelines on how we must express anger. So, how do we do this right? How do we properly express or manage our anger? 

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,

and give no opportunity to the devil.

Ephesians 4:26,27

 

You see, even the Bible acknowledges that anger is a valid human emotion. But there is a line not to be crossed: In your anger, do not sin. 

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.”

Matthew 5:21,22

Jesus said we’re guilty of murder when, in our anger, we degrade someone and call that person a fool. “You fool” came from the original word moros, which literally means “dull, stupid, or empty-headed.” (You probably already know the Tagalog equivalent for this.)

Meaning, when we degrade someone because of anger, we have crossed the line and have allowed our anger to cause us to sin. Jesus said we will be guilty of murder when we do this.

Wait, what?

This seems trivial! In fact, I used that word in a fight with my brother when we were kids. I may have blurted out that word when I saw someone driving foolishly. I may also have uttered that same word about someone I thought wasn’t so smart.

So you see, this verse cuts me deep, because what this is saying is that I have murder in my heart. This is something I have to constantly ask other people to check in me and ask Jesus to clean.

When I degrade someone for any reason—whether because of his ignorance or because of his political views—I have committed sin. When I use words that undermine the value of someone just because I am angry, I have crossed the line.

First of all, the value of human life is the same—from the baby inside the womb to the oldest baby boomer; from that homeless person on the street to the wealthiest official.

Our value is defined by the blood of Jesus, which He shed on the cross for our redemption. 

Let’s not allow our anger to turn us into the kind of person that we hate. Let’s not allow our anger to drag us into the evil system that we are fighting against.

Is this such a high call? It’s not. It’s an impossible call—especially if we are left to ourselves.

That is why we have to be grounded in the gospel of Jesus, which gives us the grace to live this out. In this gospel we receive grace and forgiveness, so that whenever we catch ourselves sinning because of anger, we can return to Him, ask for His help, and repent of our sin.

As we repent, we can ask Him to renew our minds and keep us from conforming to the patterns of this world (Romans 12:2).

Now, with everything that’s happening, am I not angry?

I am—very angry.

I am angry towards injustice.

I get angry seeing how the lives of our poverty-stricken countrymen are not given the same value as the privileged.

I am angry about the abuses committed against the “weak” in our society just because they have no means to fight back.

I am angry that someone can steal millions and live freely, yet someone who steals bread is punished severely.

In fact, on a personal note, I was angry recently when a guard, who answered my question with respect and dignity just because I spoke in English, dismissed somebody who could not speak the language. 

I am angry at injustice.

The great thing is, I am not alone in this. The Bible clearly mentions that God is a God of justice.

My shield is with God,

    who saves the upright in heart.

God is a righteous judge,

    and a God who feels indignation every day.

Psalm 7:10,11

Your desire to see justice happen is a God-given desire because He is the God of justice. We can trust completely that justice will be served, whether here or in the life to come.

Does that mean I will keep silent and not call people to account for their wrongdoings? No, not at all. What I am saying is I can do that without degrading the value and dignity of anyone as human beings. 

About the injustices in government, I will let my vote speak for me in the 2022 elections. I will not just be silent either, but I will be in conversations with people to share my thoughts on pressing matters.

If anything, it pushes me to trust in His grace to do more.

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

2 Corinthians 5:14,15

The gospel of Jesus should compel us to go to the least of society so that His message will show them their true value as human beings.

We must do what we can to feed them, clothe them, or give them access to education. The only way for them to see their value according to the gospel is for them to experience it from us, Christians.

The gospel of Jesus should compel us to fight corruption, which starts on the campuses.

The gospel should compel us to treat that rich classmate not as a source of free milk tea, but to treat them the way we treat everyone else, because their value is not in their money and because we are not people that can be bought.

The gospel of Jesus should compel us to be patient with people who have different views from us, and to engage them in open conversations to know where they are coming from.

The gospel should compel us to disciple others by pointing them to Jesus and walking with them because we see their real value in Christ.

Even in anger, do not sin. We can have peace knowing our God is a God of justice, and His gospel reveals to us the true value of our fellow men and how we can respond to injustice.

 

 

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The Author

Edrei Canda

Edrei is one of the lead pastors for Victory Alabang. He regularly visits the campuses and reaches out to international students. One of Edrei’s favorite things to do is watch movies with the students, and uses it as at avenue to incorporate the gospel message to the movies they see together.

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