Holy Discontent

John 2:13-35

Righteous anger rightly applied is a powerful thing. What makes you really mad?

Are you prone to road rage when the idiot in front of you cuts you off and drives too slow? Do you find yourself on the edge of madness when your children spill juice on your new couch? Does your blood boil when your boss treats other coworkers more fairly than you? Can your spouse push all the right buttons and cause you to lose your mind? A lot of things have the potential to make us really mad.

I find it interesting that the word ‘mad’ can be used interchangeably to describe someone who is angry or someone who is crazy. “He lost his temper! He’s mad!” or “He’s lost his mind! He’s mad!” Either are an accurate expression of what often happens when we get angry. We lose our temper – and our mind. We fly off the handle to become our own weapon of mass destruction. What a waste.

Anger may cause us to lose control and hurt people, but dealing with that kind of anger isn’t the focus of this post. If you want to know more about that read Anger Management.

Instead, let’s consider the kind of anger that is reasoned, calculated, and focused. This kind of anger isn’t the overflow of unmet expectations but the righteous indignation that comes from recognizing an evil that must be overcome. It’s Popeye seeing Bluto abuse Olive Oil. “That’s all I can stands and I can’t stands no more!!” Bill Hybels, Pastor at Willow Creek Community Church, calls it your Holy Discontent.

A holy discontent is what happens when your heart breaks over the things that break the heart of God. It’s that fire within that drives you to right a wrong, to fix what’s broken in the world and to justly punish the perpetrators. Have you ever known this kind of anger? If so, what have you done about it?


  • I will likely eat more food than I need and throw away food I don’t want while others in our world will fall into sickness because they have no food to eat.
  • Somewhere in our city someone will finally make the decision to cross that line and cheat on their spouse.
  • A husband, in a fit of rage, will raise his hand to his wife. Bruised and confused she won’t report it.
  • You may not see it, but human trafficking is one of the greatest atrocities of the modern era. Today, a child will be sold into slavery. Some will be sexually abused. Others will be put to work as forced labor, still others will be conscripted into armies, given weapons and forced to murder.

Do these kinds of things ignite anything in you at all? What does? What is your holy discontent? What is the wrong you must right? Is there anything in you that cries out for justice and what will you do about it?

Don’t waste your anger on spilled coffee or some minor personal offense. Get angry about something that matters and do something about it.

Righteous anger rightly applied is a powerful thing.

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