1. If my only emotion toward a wrongdoer is rage, and I feel no desire for his or her redemption, I might need to step back and examine myself. Looking out over the city of Jerusalem, knowing the judgment they would suffer, Jesus didn’t gloat; he wept (Luke 19:41-44). Surely, there should be more tears among us.Read the rest.
2. If biblical warnings — for example, against confronting a wrong wrongly (1 Corinthians 6:1-8) — if hearing biblical warnings like this only makes me more angry, I may have crossed a line God doesn’t want me to cross. For any sinner, moral fervor is a dangerous emotion. But looking to the Lord and obeying him, however difficult, are always safe.
3. If the justice of God isn’t real to me, such that I cannot “leave it to the wrath of God” (Romans 12:19), I may have slipped into self-exaltation, taking God’s place as Judge. If so, then I am unable to “overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21), because my own heart is evil. And evil cannot overcome evil, no matter how evil the other person’s evil is.
Books by Ray Ortlund: