relentless pursuit


The Passage: Nehemiah 5:6-8

The Point: There is a difference between godly and ungodly anger.

A few years ago, I discovered something about myself that was very profound: I got angry too often. Now, I wasn’t the “punch-the-wall” or “huff-and-puff” type angry, but I started to realize that too many things made me mad. I learned that when you’re angry too often, people don’t take you seriously. Anger should be saved for a short list of things that you’re really passionate about. Then people will take note.

In Nehemiah 5:6, Nehemiah exhibited a “godly anger.” It wasn’t anger because of something miniscule but because the people of God were being oppressed. Nehemiah heard their cries and their complaints. The sounds and substance of their groans made him “very angry.” But Nehemiah doesn’t just get angry; he does something about it! He took the time to process the cries and the complaints of God’s people. Then he took his reflections and turned them into action.

Nehemiah’s trajectory went something like this: oppression > emotion > reflection > action. His action was to speak for those who didn’t have a voice by leveraging his position as the governor for the good of the people. He ultimately appropriately called out the sin of the Jewish nobles who collected interest on their brothers and acted like godless people.

Anger is an emotion that is part of us, but God wants us to use it in accordance with His design. Let’s examine our hearts and see what breaks the heart of God. Then we can take the appropriate steps to bless God’s people.


  • Why was Nehemiah “very angry?”
  • What did Nehemiah do before he brought charges against the nobles and officials?
  • What was the response of the nobles and officials after Nehemiah’s charges?


  • About what are you often angry?
  • About what are you most passionate?
  • How do your passions and your angers match up?
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