Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Romans 1:18-32 in the New Living Translation (NLT). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to meet and listen to someone who works with homeless and at-risk young people, providing them with training, employment, and other support to make significant improvements in their lives. Her work had been recognized for its innovation, entrepreneurship, and impact. In a question-and-answer session, she was asked about the motivation for her work—why did she do it?
Her response caught my attention. “Because I am angry that our society is like this,” she said with obvious passion. “I am angry that these young people are treated like this. This is wrong and it makes me angry.”
There is something in us that ought to be revolted by injustice and evil. These should make us angry—and if they don’t, we need to ask ourselves why and how we have been so acclimatized to these things around us. But when we allow ourselves to reflect on the realities of evil and injustice in our communities and our world, it must grate upon us and motivate us to act. Even if the injustice of the thing itself does not affect us, the suffering of those who are exploited and oppressed demands our attention and empathy.
How much more the “God who sees” (see Genesis 16:13) and who so identified Himself with “the least of these” (see Matthew 25:40) in the incarnation of Jesus? While God’s anger might look somewhat different from our anger—righteous or otherwise—we can at least begin to understand God’s response to the wrongdoing, injustices, and evil that are committed in our world in so many different ways, primarily because these hurt people He created, loves, and seeks to restore.
God’s anger always comes with tears. It is sorrow that people He loves are hurting other people He loves (see, for example, Matthew 23:37–39). When God has to choose, He will always be on the side of the oppressed, exploited or victimised. But He will also always love the oppressor, the exploiter, and the attacker—and will work to seek their redemption, as far as this is possible.
We must be careful about creating God in our image, but perhaps the most compassionate among us give us a glimpse of God’s anger and passion in response to the evil and injustice we see and feel in our world.
Recalibrate: What makes you angry when you observe or experience it in the world around you?
Respond: Pray about an issue of injustice that you are seeing on the news this week.
Research: Spend some time researching the history behind an issue or story that has caught your attention in this week’s news.
Remember: They exchanged the truth about god for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the creator- who is forever praised amen. (Romans 1:25 NIV).
Nathan Brown is a writer and editor at Signs Publishing in Warburton, Victoria, Australia. He has written numerous books; his most recent is Engage: Faith that Matters.
Make a picture with your little one of all the good things they can see: flowers, animals, their friends, and families. Draw a big love heart around all of them. Talk about how God made these things and how much He loves us.
Take a long piece of string and tie it between two places. Try find somewhere that it can stay all week. At one end take some note paper and write love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, and self-control. Tape this to one end of the piece of string. This end of the string describes who God is. (Part 1 of 5)
What comes to your mind when you read, “The Wrath of God” in verse 18? When I was growing up I would always get scared when I read parts of the Bible like that. It made me picture God as an angry, mean ruler. Many people have used that argument to support not believing in God. Do you think God having wrath makes Him an angry, mean God? Take some time today to ask a friend, parent, or pastor what they think about the wrath of God.