A friend asked recently whether it's alright to be angry at someone's sin, or at that (unrepentant) person. It hurts. Sin is bad. You can not be resentful. You can be angry at the awfulness of sin itself. But how can you not be angry at them, in their sin? Can you forgive when they're not repentant?
We considered that anger is not necessarily wrong - God is angry with the wicked every day. Yet do any of us manage to not sin in our anger? We considered how Jesus tells Peter to show extravagant unlimited forgiveness, with no mention of the offending party requesting it. How? Jesus seems to indicate in the illustrative parable that we remember what a debt we have been forgiven, to enable us to show the same mercy to others. Not that their offence against us is slight; but neither was our offence against God - think of the cross. Not that they ask forgiveness from us from genuine repentance: Jesus died for us when we were still sinners against him. To forgive someone is not to say that it didn't matter, that it's swept under the carpet. Think of the cross. Not that we haven't been wronged - nor that God's glory hasn't been slighted! But think of the cross. Not that we can wrestle ourselves up out of angry feelings by our bootstraps. There is wrong and right, and we may be angry at wrong. But we may not be self-righteous about right: and it's rather hard to be one without the other. So think of the cross.
Abraham Piper writes about being angry at other kinds of sinners. The kind you meet swearing at you on the road. The kind you see in the news headlines. The kind you meet in the church. The kind which isn't you. Or is it?
Anger is powerful and can take hold. We start to think of being wronged, of our rights, of others' sin. Think of the cross. Come boldly to the throne of grace, and there receive mercy (for we need it foremost) and grace to help you in your time of need - grace is not only what you rest on, but what you fight with as you become more like Jesus.
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