What The Bible Says About Anger

Anger is an emotion that is ok to have as Christians but it is important to understand where it is coming from and how you manage it.

“Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.”“Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.”
– Ecclesiastes 7:9

Anger is part of being human; it is one of our many complex emotions that set us apart from the rest of creation. So while the emotion of anger is not inherently sinful, a plethora of problems can arise if we allow it to spiral out of control. It is incredibly easy to let our anger consume us and distract us from living for Christ. Most of the time, we do not handle our anger in a way that brings glory to God; instead, we use it to makes ourselves feel more powerful. This is when our anger becomes sinful.

But first, it’s important to recognize that there is such thing as righteous anger. One needs to look no further than Matthew 21:12, where Jesus overturns tables in the temple and drives out the merchants who had made the holy place of God into a marketplace.  Often, we think of Jesus as a gentle, mild-mannered character who would never dare raise his voice. But here, we can clearly see that Jesus was more than a little upset – He was furious. He was angry that these people were dishonoring God for their own selfish intentions; in other words, He was angry at their sin. And anger should be our response to sin. When we come to Christ, we are called to hate evil and love righteousness. We must be careful, however, that in our anger we do not fall into hatred of those around us.

James 1:19-20 says, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” Think of the many times we’ve all been deserving of God’s wrath. He has always been gracious and compassionate to us, and yet time and time again, we wander away from Him. But instead of dealing us the punishment that we have earned, God poured out His righteous anger upon His perfect Son; in Jesus, the wrath of God is completely satisfied. Therefore, whenever people say or do things that irritate us, our response should be the same as God’s response toward us – love.

Whether we’re standing in line at a grocery store or dealing with the betrayal of a friend, obsessive anger can be destructive to our relationship with both God and our peers. Anger can cause us to wish ill upon those who have wronged us, and it can make us blind to the fact that we are all sinners in need of grace. We don’t have to like what they have done, and we certainly should not like their sin. But we must love them, forgive them, and pray for them, because we serve a God who is slow to anger and willing to save. And when we learn to let go of our anger, we will find that our joy in this life is multiplied.

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