Someone once asked, "We know it's a sin to be angry about things that God isn't angry about, yet is it a sin not to be angry about things that God is angry about?"
We don't hear many sermons on the anger of God because He is "slow to anger," but it is real. The Bible tells us to consider both the "kindness and severity of God" (Rom. 11:22, ESV). Once in a while, maybe we should substitute the chorus "God is so good" with "God is so mad."
Scripture tells us, "Be ye angry, and sin not" (Eph. 4:26, KJV). In other words, there is such a thing as righteous anger toward that which is evil in the sight of God.
Jesus demonstrated this when He rebuked the disciples in their shunning of children who wanted to come to Him. The same was true when He cleared the temple of the moneychangers who were polluting the house of God.
How about you? As we witness the regular mockery of biblical standards for sexuality, marriage and family in our culture, do you feel what God is feeling-righteous anger? May none of us display a yawning indifference and casual dismissal regarding what's happening. May the zeal of the Lord of hosts arise in all our spirits to see righteousness restored! And knowing "man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires" (James 1:20), we must channel God's anger in charitable and constructive ways.
My longtime friend Dr. Michael Brown reminds us to be merciful and reject self-righteousness as we winsomely reach out to immoral people and those practicing homosexuality. But in loving all gays, we must resist the radical gay agenda. "It is the greatest threat to religious freedom in our generation!" he declares. Undergirding this should be a godly passion and holy hatred for what this agenda is doing to destroy biblical morality, marriage and family in our generation.
Going Back to the Grammys
Yesterday someone contacted me, mentioning how timely it was that my last commentary on Michelle Obama and Beyoncé came before Queen Bey's opening performance at the 2014 Grammy awards. This woman, whom our first lady commends as a role model, sang "Drunk in Love" while writhing as a stripper and censors bleeped unprintables during her "sexcapade seranade."
Mind you, this presentation wasn't on late-night cable MTV with Miley Cyrus sensual shenanigans but on a mainstream CBS broadcast during family hours to tens of millions across America and abroad.
The show also featured former Christian Katy Perry flaunting her sex in a satanic witchcraft spectacle with fire, horned men and a sacrificial offering to ... ?
Then Macklemore belted out his gay anthem, "Same Love," as closet lesbian Queen Latifah officiated over a ceremony where same-sex marriages were celebrated.
This annual broadcast is said to represent the very best music has to offer to the world. It also reveals the gravity of the situation we face in our culture today.
That same day, the Disney Channel's kid show Good Luck Charlie introduced two lesbian moms for our children, and later, NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt, an open homosexual, announced his working with lesbian Ellen DeGeneres for a new lesbian-themed comedy called One Big Happy for network TV.
Let's face it: America is in deep trouble and in desperate need of spiritual awakening. Our nation, founded on Judeo-Christian principles, has flourished for three centuries but now is teetering on the precipice. Time is of the essence. We must feel what God feels regarding unfaithfulness to His dictates on sexuality and marriage while praying, proclaiming the gospel and presenting a biblical model for the world to see.
Check Out Ezra and Nehemiah
Two leaders in the Bible who imbibed the anger of God regarding marital unfaithfulness were Ezra and Nehemiah. They knew that favor comes as faithfulness is upheld. They felt what God felt, rejected a spineless approach to what they observed, and were courageous to speak up in their generation, challenging people to align with divine standards. In light of our current cataclysmic moral upheaval, we must do the same.
When Ezra learned how the people had drifted from God's moral directives, he tore his tunic and cloak, pulled hair from his head and beard, and sat down appalled. He fell on his knees with his hands spread out to God and prayed fervently. He mourned but also took action to call people back to the standards that God had set. No detached, namby-pamby, unemotional approach here! (See Ezra 9 and 10.)
Likewise, Nehemiah, in his day, called the people back to God's standards for marriage and family without any hint of compromise. Those who were following unrighteous standards he rebuked, called curses down on them, physically attacked some of the men and even pulled out their hair! With all the passion he could muster, he reminded them what covenant marriage was and drove out the scoffers. (See Nehemiah 13:23-27.) Obviously, we don't use curses or any type of physical attacks, but we do pray and proclaim truth with courage, conviction and compassion.
"Larry, isn't this a bit extreme?"
These men were passionate for God's honor and to see God's people obey His holy standards for marriage. The Scripture is honest-announcing without approving their actions. The lesson is that there come times for us to recognize the gravity of a situation, renounce passivity and do what is necessary to get ourselves and others back into alignment with God's Word.
Such a time is now!
Here's the Deal
- Leaders. Declare the "whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27) to those entrusted to your care. Refuse to shrink back from addressing any controversial topics, such as pornography, homosexuality, gay marriage, adultery, fornication, adultery and cohabitation. Winsomely and biblically equip your people so they understand these issues, can speak to others from a biblical worldview, and are challenged to live a life of happy holiness in accordance with the Word of God. No more avoidance of so-called "political, partisan, controversial" topics that might "offend people, hinder fundraising or make us less seeker-sensitive."
- Married Couples. Determine to surround yourself with like-minded people in the context of a local church who reject the notion of easy divorce, understandable affairs or a lack of accountability and transparency in authentic, supportive relationships.
- Parents. Recommit yourself to honoring God's standards for morality and marriage while modeling it at home; prioritizing regular times for creative (not boring or lengthy) devotional instruction and prayer; and carefully monitoring media influence, Internet usage, cellphones and selection of friends.
As pastors, couples and parents, let's also support wholesome entertainment alternatives. Seize teachable moments for instruction and interaction on today's hot button moral issues.
A quality film in the theaters at this time is called Gimme Shelter, which presents the pro-life position in a non-preachy way while upholding the importance of family and care for troubled youth.
I've worked for the past four years on a video that is now available free for viewing on YouTube. It's called "Is Gay OK? 10 Things Everyone Needs to Know." With all the falsehoods swirling around us in our culture deceiving millions-especially our young people-this video is a must-see.
Internationally known evangelist Bob Weiner says, "This is not a product but a prophetic statement to our generation!" Watch it. Post links. Share it on Facebook. Let righteous anger motivate you to Spirit-led action and making a difference in these closing hours of history.
We are not alone in what the Bible calls the "perilous times" of the last days prior to His glorious return (2 Tim. 3:1). We may not be a majority, but we will not remain a silent majority any longer.
On the night of the Grammys, my wife and I watched a special two-hour broadcast of The Bachelor on ABC. We never watch the show but tuned in because for the first time in 17 seasons, they featured a live wedding of a couple that was special. Like very few paraded on the show, this young man and young woman had pledged to live pure; the groom's father was a pastor; and they unashamedly prayed plus spoke of Jesus.
My wife and I could hardly believe what we were seeing! When the beaming groom said unabashedly, "I'm proud of my faith," and his glowing bride stood at his side, it was obvious they were different-ambassadors for the King of kings and Lord of lords. May we all do likewise in these trying times.
"So that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life" (Phil. 2:15-16).