Years ago I was one of five thousand people listening to a panel discussion at a Christian conference. An editor of a conservative political-theological magazine was expressing his frustration with many of the political left-wingers, and doing so in an unnecessarily sarcastic and condescending way. When he finished, John Piper (another speaker on the panel) turned to him, and with utmost seriousness and precision, he said, "For a long time I have appreciated your ministry. You are an astute observer of our culture. I read your magazine every month. It's always insightful. But there's one thing missing from your ministry."
The editor looked at Dr. Piper and asked what it was.
"Tears," Piper replied.
The world so often senses our anger-but do they ever sense our grief? They think we're angry simply because we're not getting our way, but I'm afraid they don't feel our sorrow over sin's negative, dehumanizing effects. We fail to communicate our anger in a way that says, "You were made for so much more than this." They assume our anger is only because we're not getting what we want. No wonder they tune us out.
When we see the restlessness and wreckage in people's lives because they're not in relationship with God and they're living sin-filled lives, it should stoke our anger-an anger that arises because we love them and we grieve to see them living for something so destructive when God created them to live for something beautiful and satisfying.
Self-centered anger is not a grieving, love-fueled anger; that's what God-centered anger is. So does your anger rage because your love for God and your love for others is radical? When people see us hating what God hates because our love for God and people is real and deep, they may be more open to hear what we have to say.