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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Justifiable Anger

"The LORD asked (Jonah), 'Have you reason to be angry?'” Jon 4:4

Jonah's anger is understandable but misplaced. Angry at God for forgiving the people of Niniveh, Jonah tells the Lord to take his life. From Jonah's perspective Niniveh deserved the punishment God had threatened but God sees things otherwise. God always seems to have a different slant on life rooted, not in power and wealth, but the needs of those who have no voice.

Community organizers often speak of "cold anger" as a necessary strategy in the face of injustice, insisting that unless the poor agitate the powerful and force them to reconsider their policies, nothing will change. Several years ago many of us working on health care reform in Massachusetts knew that unless we were able to demonstrate to the State that the poor did not have the monthly income to pay for health care, they would continue to sink deeper into debt. Although we had the numbers to prove our point, the state dismissed us, but cold anger sustained us. After finally being able to present our research, which had been vetted by Brandeis University, the state cracked, listened and changed, and the poor had a place at the table of those who determined just health care rates for everyone. 

Anger that seeks to intimidate or dismiss those without a voice has no place in the proclamation of the Good News, but anger that seeks justice for all can often be of God.

Today, sit with your anger to discern whether it is of and for God. 

How do you think justice should be sought for the poor?


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