Getting angry the right way

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

This verse has been used countless times to justify sinful anger. Instead, using the Bible to justify sin should make the most godly of saints angry!

May we as human beings become angry at all?

The answer is “Yes, we may, and if fact we should“, BUT we may not have the slightest hint of sin in our heart when we become angry.

The only way we can know what godly anger looks like – anger that is not defiled or affected by sin in any way – is to examine the things that provoke the all-perfect God to anger. Only the actions of a sin-less God can ever illustrate what perfect, righteous, God-honouring anger looks like.

So, here is a short list of what angers God.

God is angered when His creatures disobey His commandments.

Deuteronomy 9:18 (ESV) Then I lay prostrate before the LORD as before, forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all the sin that you had committed, in doing what was evil in the sight of the LORD to provoke him to anger.

God is angered when His creatures sins and causes others to sin.

1 Kings 16:2 (ESV) Since I exalted you out of the dust and made you leader over my people Israel, and you have walked in the way of Jeroboam and have made my people Israel to sin, provoking me to anger with their sins,

God is angered when His creatures worship other created things instead of the Creator – God Himself.

Deuteronomy 4:24–25 (ESV) For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. “When you father children and children’s children, and have grown old in the land, if you act corruptly by making a carved image in the form of anything, and by doing what is evil in the sight of the LORD your God, so as to provoke him to anger,

Judges 2:12 (ESV) And they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the LORD to anger

God is angered when His work is mocked by His creatures.

Nehemiah 4:4–5 (ESV) Hear, O our God, for we are despised. Turn back their taunt on their own heads and give them up to be plundered in a land where they are captives. Do not cover their guilt, and let not their sin be blotted out from your sight, for they have provoked you to anger in the presence of the builders.

Putting it together: Biblically speaking, it seems that the only anger that pleases God is:

  • Anger because of your own sin against a perfectly Holy God.
  • Anger because the glory that belongs to God is given to anything less than God.
  • Anger because God’s perfect character, Word, and actions are disregarded by human beings.

On top of this, take seriously the wisdom of …

James 1:19–20 (ESV) Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Let us see life a little more from God’s perspective, and a little less from ours!

Getting angry the right way
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