In my distress I called upon the Lord;
to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.
Then the earth reeled and rocked;
the foundations also of the mountains trembled
and quaked, because he was angry.
-Psalm 18:6-7, ESV
I write this as a pastor who has been criticized for being passionate. At least, that’s how I interpret the criticism. And it usually comes from other Christian leaders. My passion makes them uncomfortable.
Now, the criticism is usually veiled in “concern” language with implied religious judgments used to scare off more timid people than myself (these days):
“I’m concerned about your healing.”
“You sound angry/hurt/bitter.”
“Be aware of your office as a pastor and the authority you hold. You are leading people.”
While I agree it is wise to weigh one’s passion and make sure one is not hurting others out of one’s wounds, strong feelings are not automatically signs of disqualification for a leader. In fact, they may actually be what qualifies them to lead. And those strong feelings may even come out of a painful season. This is true of Hosea where we have a whole book from a man clearly who knew the pain adultery causes writing in extremely graphic terms. Strong feelings may be exactly what God wants in His chosen leader as it was for Hosea.
Besides that, it is because my God gets angry that I continue to love and follow Him.
My God is not a robot.
He has “fire in His belly.”
God is someone who is moved by my pain and filled with righteous anger when He sees injustice as these verses from Psalm 18 demonstrate. He cares when His children are wounded and makes the earth shake with His passionate response to their cries of pain.
When pastors strongly denounces adultery, they send a statement consistent with Scripture. When pastors takes a firm stance against blame-shifting upon the faithful spouse, they send a clear statement that they will protect the vulnerable and abused in the relationship. They stand with God and the truth. When they get angry over the wickedness and lies surrounding adultery, they tell the victims through their anger as pastors that God cares and sees their pain. Their anger says adultery is a big deal.
I refuse to apologize for my passion on these matters.
Faithful spouses and their innocent children need to know God’s heart on adultery. They need to feel the passion of a righteous and just God who gets angry at wickedness and is not afraid to show it. And they need to see more of God’s priests embody His heart when it comes to the evil that is adultery.
They need to see that God does care about their pain and He does see it.
Passion demonstrates that.
Cool detachment says that God doesn’t really care about adultery.
And that’s a lie.