Anger at all that is happening is so very understandable, yet is it righteous anger? Is it anger that is justifiable biblically?
If you are angry because guys like Madoff stole millions from people I believe it is biblically correct to be angry at the various sins that surround such an action. Greed (Eph. 5:5; Col. 3:5), theft (Ex.20:15, Eph. 4:28), deception (Matt.5:33) are just a few things we can see from Scripture that God is against so to be angry these sins have been committed is righteous because they offend a Holy God.
But we often veer off the righteous path with this when it affects us. If you happen to be someone who was bilked out of money by this guy, or some other corporation who "lost" all "your" money the anger becomes personal. It is not as much about how wrong this all is biblically, it is about how this affects you. Certainly losing millions or even thousands has a profound impact on this life I would not dispute that. And if I can bring this down to the place where most of you are, losing your job or taking a cut in pay, or losing you 401k or stocks brings on the same kind of desperate anger.
Consider this: Whose money is it anyway?
'The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,' declares the LORD of hosts. Haggai 2:8
For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills. Psalm 50:10
Intellectually, not one of us would argue with that. Emotionally, (in our hearts) we fight it and it angers us. All that we have is simply on loan to us by God and we are charged with being stewards of His property.
I once had a pastor who had a very good perspective on property- he had none. He taught us to look upon everything- house, car, kids, spouse, money- as all belonging to God and to view it all with the perspective that we had no "rights" to any of it.
He told the story of having bought his very first calculator, which in the early days were very expensive, and losing it someplace. He prayed asking God to help him find it, did what he could to locate it, and gave up his perceived rights to that item. His attitude was this: God, You provided the money for me to get that calculator and I sure enjoyed using it for it has made my life easier. But I recognize Your ownership over it and if You want to take it away that is Your right.
He lived his life by that sort of creed and taught his flock to do the same. This is a very foreign concept to many Christians today. We are taught that our stuff is ours, and that we are to work hard to get it therefore, no one has a right to take it away. This is wrong thinking.
You see, when you have the attitude that it all belongs to God there is no fear in losing it because it is not yours to begin with, it is just on loan to you. God has the right to take back His property at any time no matter who or what it is. We are to be good stewards of His stuff and hold it loosely with open hands.
If you are angry that God has chosen to reclaim His property then you have assumed too much, beloved. You have assumed rights that are not yours. You claimed ownership of somethings that have just been on loan to you. If we believe that the earth is the LORD'S, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it (Ps. 24:1) then that ought to apply to the stuff surrounding us too, right?
Begin by confessing to God the anger you have about all this is toward Him, because He has asserted His rights to His stuff, and you don't like that very much. Confess your pride in wrongly believing that it was all yours to begin with. Sure, you went to work and put in the hours to get the stuff, but who gave you the ability to do that? Who gave you the brain and arms and legs to accomplish the task? God, of course.
If you realize that this has struck a spiritual nerve with you today, I say praise God! You can reestablish His ownership of it all, even right now. Even if you have to make a list of every thing you are steward over, then do it, but you must realign your perspective with God's reality.
You are in God's house, on God's computer, being powered by God's electricity, sitting on God's chair, and the kids or dog in the background making all that noise are His too! Make that conscious decision right now to surrender all your perceived rights to material things and people back to Him, for they are His.
Once you make this decision, you will be amazed at the pressure that is off your shoulders. When your perspective is that of "I am a steward of God's property" it just changes how you respond to it all.
continued next time....