Let us ask ourselves in the heat of our anger against injustice: Am I indignant because God’s name is not being hallowed, because His kingdom is not being valued, and because His will is not being done, or is it my own name, kingdom, and will that are being transgressed? May we have a fiery indignation for God’s law, but may we “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32) especially when we ourselves are reproached.
Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked,
who forsake your law.
Psalm 119:53 ESV
Indignation is anger that specifically arises over unfair treatment or, we might say, over inequality or injustice being committed. Given that justice and equality are chief topics at present, it should not surprise us also to find much indignation within public discourse, nor should its presence necessarily be written off as a bad thing in itself. The vision of a society where no arguments ever happen and all of life is spent roasting marshmallows over a campfire singing “kumbaya” is a reality that will not be achieved in this life. Does not Proverbs 27:17 say that “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another”? Blades can only be sharpened by removing bits of steel with another steel until an edge is formed. A society without any friction whatsoever is as useful (and as dangerous) as a bunch of dull knives. This is true even of the church, where rebukes and discipline are at times necessary, just as even Paul once rebuked Peter (Galatians 2:11-14).
No, indignation itself is not a problem, but we may certainly be indignant over the wrong things. The last few passages in our study of Mark may serve as a helpful guide since indignation has made a number of appearances.