They provoked Him to anger at the waters of [c]Meribah,
So that it went hard with Moses on their account;
Because they were rebellious against His Spirit,
Moses spoke recklessly with his lips. – Psalm 106:32-33
Righteous anger is one thing, then there’s the anger that pushes yourself to a place of unrighteousness.
Righteous anger never causes you to step out in your own emotions. It is very hard to discern between yours and God’s because God inhabits and is a very part of our emotions to begin with. That is why many people find themselves doing evil and saying that God told them to do it..
Here is Moses, falling into that emotional trap too. He just had enough of these whining people who never looked to God, were never thankful and were never satisfied or content. Their inability to learn, to grow and to know God was unquestionably the hardest thing for Moses to take. Remember, right at this time they were getting very close to entering the promised land – and they still were not ready spiritually to do so.
I wish I could tell you that righteous anger is pure – but I cannot. Too many examples in the Bible where righteous anger included killing someone, creating chaos and lots of shouting and pointing fingers and calling people out. In other words, they were very angry.
Do you ever wonder why certain TV evangelists (I point them out because they are the most obvious – they are on TV) and certain radio personalities on Christian stations “judge” other Christians in “righteous” anger? Want to know why their anger is righteous? They believe they are righteous and have the “right” and “authority” to judge because of their own holiness.
This is where I can tell you most assuredly – if you anger stems from your own concept of holiness, purity and righteousness before God – you are not acting in righteous anger. If you think you are something special, God’s gift to humanity, the goose that laid the golden egg – you will not act in righteous anger. Moses lost himself. He declared himself to be the one – and in that one moment when he thought it was all about him, he failed His God and stood alone realizing his anger was not one from the Lord but from his own sinful nature.
The Holy Spirit is offended when we declare ourselves speaking for the presence of God and we are not. The Holy Spirit is offered as our counsellor in these matters. Allow Him to serve you and invite Him to search your heart. I am sure that you will find that your anger will turn to tears as you see the incredible sin and pride that He will find in just a few moments of time that live right inside you. Then you will know the difference between righteous anger and your own. Then our discernment will serve us well as we hear His voice and know that He is or is not calling us to action with righteous anger.