Anger is Good, Jealousy is Better
We’ve all probably heard it: “Stop being so negative.” During one of my quiet times, God gave me the idea of exploring the concept of negativity. In this blog, I am going to be exploring the idea of negativity and positivity and how God might possess traits that we perceive to be bad.
I think it is safe to say that most Christians would agree that God is perfect. What is the definition of perfect? A Google search reveals two definitions. One definition is the maximum a human can achieve: “Having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.” The other definition is what God is: “Absolute; complete.”
So, if God is perfect, he is absolute and complete. The word “complete” implies that He lacks nothing. If God lacks nothing, why doesn’t God have negative qualities such as greed or lust? If God lacks nothing, there must be something about a negative quality that is subtractive, not an additive. What does this mean? I posit that greed is not a quality, rather a lack of a quality. Greed is the lack of generosity. A lack of generosity means that one is not complete. If God is complete, he does not lack. Since God lacks greed, we can assume that greed fits our definition of a subtractive trait. Psalm 136:1 says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.” The term “good” is important. For the sake of this blog, the term good will embody every complete trait that God possesses and the term “bad” will embody all negative traits that take away rather than add.
How can Christians reckon terms like “jealous” and “angry” when they are applied to God in the bible? Exodus 34:14 says, “Do not worship any other god, for the Lord whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” If God is perfect, and God is good, how then can he be jealous? Wouldn’t jealousy imply that he lacks something? This line of questioning is very human in perspective. If God possesses the characteristic of jealousy, we must then assume that jealousy is a positive trait. I think that this lines up with our faith very well. Some people confuse the term “jealousy” with “coveting.” Coveting is the desire to have something. Jealousy is, as a Google search will reveal (second bullet point definition): “fiercely protective or vigilant of one’s rights or possessions. God is fiercely protective of us. He doesn’t want to lose us. He uses jealousy for good, not evil. We can do this too. Jealousy can give us the motivation to get off our bums and do good.
The term “angry” can also be reckoned by using the same logic. In Deuteronomy 6:15, it says, “For the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.” We associate anger with being bad. However, anger can be a very good thing. It is anger that so often can motivate us to do something about an injustice we see. See someone get cheated out of their home and possessions? We get angry. Someone murdered unjustly? We get livid. Someone hurts OUR family? We explode. God has given us the emotion of anger as a tool to use so that we can motivate ourselves to do what needs to be done. One needs to be careful with anger, though. As is evident from just about any piece of media you consume, anger is very easy to convert into something that is subtractive.
So, the next time you encounter a situation in which you are faced with the question as to what you should do, try praying, firstly. Secondly, think about the implication of your actions. Are your actions going to take away something or add to it? If we can all just slow down a little bit and analyze our actions before we blindly charge into them, I have a feeling there would be a lot less suffering in this world.
Photo Credit: http://imgur.com/sA4zWUL
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