"Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil." Ephesians 4:26-27

Anger is a subject to which which the Bible speaks frequently. There are two Greek words that appear in the New Testament that are equivalent to our English word anger. One means “passion, energy” and the other means “agitated, boiling.” ^^[1]^^ Anger could, then, be defined as a natural, God-given energy. Since God Himself, who can not sin, is angered (Psalm 7:11) and believers are commanded to be angry (Ephesians 4:26).

However, a careful distinction is made in Scripture over “righteous anger” and “unrighteous anger.” Where does the difference lie? Several things can be deduced from both our knowledge of God and Scriptural examples of anger. First, we know that God is perfectly righteous and holy, so, therefore, nothing in and of Himself nor in line with His own character would anger Him. Any anger, then, that God posses must be directed at sin (anything contrary to God’s character) and if we, as His children, are to be like Him our anger must be limited to that. “Righteous” anger, then, like its “evil twin” is defensive. Only, in the case of righteous anger, it is limited to being defensive–evil anger being in defense of self (or anything that is or anyone acting outside of or in opposition to God and His character) and “righteous” anger being in defense of God, ultimately (for an attack on God’s character is really an attack on His Person and an attack on His creation comes to the same result as well.) No wander Satan, the accuser of the brethren, seeks to destroy man, God’s beloved creation! Another thing should be noted, getting back to where we started. Anger itself is not both a good and bad thing. It is the root cause of the God-given energy of anger where lies the true place of right or wrong.

Godly examples of anger include Paul’s confronting Peter because of his wrong example (Galatians 2:11-14), David angered over the injustice shared by Nathan the prophet (2 Samuel 12), Nehemiah’s anger over Israel’s sin (Nehemiah 5:1-13) and Jesus driving out those misusing the Jewish Temple (John 2:13-18). Ungodly examples include the incident of Moses hitting the rock (Numbers 20:10-11), Nebuchadnezzar’s anger in the story of the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:13, 19) and the older brother’s anger in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:25-31).

We tend to let our own human emotions lead us instead of allowing the Spirit of God to direct us through His Holy Word. Anger, then, should not control us, but be subdued under the direction of the Holy Spirit and used by Him to bring about His ultimate purpose: the glory of God.

Footnotes

1. What does the Bible say about anger? by gotquestions.org

External Links

What does the Bible say about anger? by gotquestions.org

Recommended Resource

The Other Side of Love:Handling Anger in a Godly Way by Gary Chapman