Angry people are so unbecoming. Wrathful people are even worse. They come across as vindictive. When these people unleash their latent anger, watch out. You may or may not have been the one to upset them, but you better get out of their way once they’re mad. They seem set on destruction — the destruction of other people through abusive words, attitudes, and maybe even physical violence.
Being full of wrath seems like a personality defect, and that’s why we imagine God, the perfect person, must be devoid of wrath. I confess it’s sometimes hard for me, as a preacher, to acknowledge God’s wrath. It’s not something people like to hear about. But I think there is a personality trait that is much worse than wrath: apathy.
Apathy is the antithesis of wrath — it is summarized as the state of doing nothing, of not caring. I think it’s particularly offensive because there is so much in this world that is so wrong. Apathy is an external reflection of our internal indifference. We don’t care that people suffer. We don’t care that children starve. We don’t care that drugs destroy dreams. We don’t care that powerful people force pretty girls into prostitution. Apathy in the face of such horrific injustice fills me with wrath.
The problem is, I’m also apathetic. I don’t do nearly enough to fight against the injustices of the world. Only God is perfectly just, and therefore only he can be justifiably filled with wrath. But man am I glad he is. I’m glad that child pornography pisses God off. I’m glad that God gets angry when someone commits adultery and causes chaos to come to a marriage. I’m glad that God is livid about the lifestyle of drug lords and pimps. I’m glad God has wrath. It’s a sign that he cares. He cares about our world, and he wants the best for his beloved children.
I’m also glad for grace. Grace is God’s saving act that transforms us from apathetic people into lovers of justice. Grace, not wrath, is ultimately what transforms us into people who care. Thank God for God’s wrath, but thank God even more for his grace.