Does God Get Mad?

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February 14, 2014

Does God Get Mad? ~~ Christina Villa

For we are consumed by your anger; by your wrath we are overwhelmed. You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your countenance. From Psalm 90

Does God get mad? It depends whom you ask. Some say, “No, never.” For them, God is benevolent, always. When good things happen, it’s thanks to God. When bad things happened, it’s something else, usually unspecified…maybe global warming? Those of us without degrees in theology are left to wonder.

Others say God does indeed get mad and bad things happening are God’s punishments. This view gets tricky whenever there is a big natural disaster: what did all those innocent children washed away by the tsunami do to make God mad? We’re still wondering.

Many people firmly hold one or the other of these views of God and are deeply invested n their rightness. It’s more than a matter of theology. On this question, people seem to choose the answer that’ most emotionally satisfying for them. Sometimes, it’s all you have to go on.

But when you want to know more about what God is like, if you’re not so certain abou tit, it’s often a good idea to read the Bible (and occasionally live your life) with your mind not made up. The bible, like life, is a lot more revealing when you don’t approach it as if it were a cable news channel – telling all its stories from one or the other point of view.

The Bible is full of people how don’t’ know what to believe, who change their minds, and start and stop believing. When you read the bible with your mind not made up, you find real people in there, people you can learn from. But you have to read their stories without your mind made up or else all you’ll learn is what you already believe.

PRAYER: Let me live today, or maybe just this morning, without my mind made up about every last little thing.  Amen.

 

Taken from the United Church of Christ devotional, God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 49.

When To Be Indignant

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February 10, 2014

When To Be Indignant ~~ Anthony B. Robinson

People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not stop them…” From Mark 10:1-16

Jesus wasn’t always nice, or meek and mild. Here Jesus is indignant. “Indignation means “anger aroused by something unjust, mean, or unworthy.” I like it that Jesus got indignant, that he felt angry about things that were wrong or mean. Here Jesus was indignant with his own disciples for telling children to go away.

The psychologist Erik Erikson once cautioned, “Do not misuse one of the strongest forces in life – true indignation in the service of vital values – to justify your own small self.”

Does it sometimes seem to you that toady indignation is overused or used in the wrong causes? All sorts  of people are ticked off and “not going to take it anymore.” Someone called ours a “culture of complaint.” We complain early and often. Indignation is often put in the service of our own “small self.”

Jesus was indignant, not on his own behalf, but on behalf o others how couldn’t stand up for themselves, for children. In Expressing his indignation, Jesus buck the conventional wisdom, surprising his disciples by telling them that children could teach them a lot. On behalf of what “vital values” ought you and I to be experience and expressing true indignation?

PRAYER: Dear God, help me not to misuse our over use the strong force of indignation, but to use it sparingly and rightly in the service of truly vital values. Amen.

 

God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 45.