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  • Writer's pictureRichard Parrish

Be Angry for The Right Reason!


“Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!” (Psalm 37:8 ESV).

“And he [Jesus] looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart…” (Mark 3:5 ESV).


The Bible often defines anger as sinful. The Psalmist admonishes us to “refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.” Yet Mark allows us to see that Jesus was not immune from anger. So, is it right or wrong to be angry? 


In previous blogs, we’ve seen how Jesus parallels anger with murder.


Paul places anger in the same category as “bitterness, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene speech”—attitudes unbecoming to followers of Christ (Eph. 4:31; Col. 3:8). When establishing attributes for a bishop or pastor of a church, Paul stresses that a Christian leader must not be prone to anger or easily provoked (Titus 1:7). 


But is anger always sinful?


Scripture also teaches that anger can be good. 


“Righteous indignation” reflects a holy heart unable to tolerate sin. God became angry when the Israelites forsook the Lord’s covenant with them (Deut. 29:25-26). Moses’ anger burned on Mount Sinai because of the sinful behavior of the people when they chose to worship a golden calf (Ex. 32:19). John allows us to see how Jesus displays his anger by driving out the moneychangers in the temple (John 2:13-22). 

Christ’s holy indignation is not a sin, but an appropriate response to iniquity and injustice.


As a child, I believed I should never become angry. That view was wrong then, and it’s still wrong today. Anger is an emotion, and humans are emotional. God created us with the capacity to “feel.” 


Unfortunately, I believed as a boy that when I sinned, God became angry with me. But that false assumption created distance. Rather than running to God, I ran from God. 


God never stopped loving the Israelites because of their sins, and God did not cease to love me because of my sins. God doesn’t quit loving you because of your sins, but each of us suffers the consequences of our sins. 


God hates sin because sin hurts us and others. And sin separates us from a loving God.


Since we will be angry sometimes, let’s be angry for the right reason, not the wrong reason. 


There’s much to be angry with (injustice, callousness of hearts, divisiveness, name-calling, selfishness, etc.). Let’s ensure our anger is a “righteous indignation” against all that separates us from God’s love.


 

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