September 2018  
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We live in angry times surrounded by angry voices. So many people in our nation are angry these days, and their anger erupts out of them in harsh words directed towards those who have angered them, often typed out in short bursts on Twitter or Facebook. Our President is guilty of doing this, but he’s not the only one doing so. There are lots and lots of angry people out there, and they seem to have no control over their anger.

The Bible speaks about anger. Last month, we read these words from the Letter to the Ephesians:

“Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil.” (Ephesians 4:26-27)

Anger is real and can even be an appropriate response, especially to injustice or unrighteousness. I have compassion and understanding for our brothers and sisters in the Catholic Church who feel angry towards an institution that has covered up sexual abuse within its ranks for decades. Their anger is justified. Anger and outrage about corruption and the misdeeds of the powerful are found throughout the Bible in the words of the prophets. Just read some of the prophetic books like Amos or Hosea to see what I mean. In those books, we hear the prophets speak with God’s righteous indignation towards those who had abused their power.

Yet we also find these words in the Bible from the Letter of James:

“let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God's righteousness.” (James 1:19-20)

The righteousness of God comes from God and God only, and even God’s anger is righteous. Your anger, though, does not produce God’s righteousness when it is not controlled and is turned against others. This is why we must we must be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, so that we don’t let our own anger take control of us. When we lash out against others with our own anger, we turn away from God’s righteousness and we “make room for the devil”.

I’m often proud of this congregation because many of you are even-tempered and slow to anger. Though I have seen anger here at times, mostly what I see is people who want to treat each other with kindness and live in peace together as a church family.

What this tells me is that we as Christians and as United Methodists have something really good to share with the world: peace. The peace of Jesus Christ has made a difference in our lives and has changed us for the good, and by this God is fulfilling his purpose for us to be salt and light for the world, making it a better place and driving out darkness through Christ who lives within us.

Let us always live by these words:

“Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 4:31-5:2)

Pastor Andy

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Wesley United Methodist
303 East 23rd Street
Hibbing, Minnesota 55746
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Phone 218 263 3653
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    – 9:30 AM
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