232 Appropriate or Inappropriate Anger



Appropriate or Inappropriate Anger




In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.
Ephesians 4:26 (NIV)



Anger is a God-given emotion. It is what we do with our anger that makes it unrighteous or righteous.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word anger as “a strong emotion or belligerence aroused by a real or supposed wrong.”

Life certainly comes with opportunities to be angry. To name a few: escalating gasoline prices, traffic jams and disrespect from other motorists can push you over the edge if they happen at the wrong time.

A pet peeve of mine is that where I Live, in Canada, there are times when we must wait in line to cross the border into the US. There’s always someone who tries to cut into the traffic line where people have already been waiting for a while. It annoys me tremendously when people do that and I could react in anger. But I always remind myself to make a choice to remain calm and walk in love.

When people refer to anger, they generally speak of its negative consequences – of which there are many! My parents taught me that it was a bad thing to get angry. Psalm 37:8 instructs us to bridle our anger, trash our wrath, cool our pipes–it [anger] only makes things worse (MSG). That is sound advice, however, it is not about being angry, it is about how we act on our anger. Anger is not always bad. Sometimes it can move you in the direction of righteousness. God, who is morally perfect, has at times shown such righteous anger.

The Bible says that there were people who, indeed, were correct in how they used their anger. When Moses went to Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments from God, the children of Israel began having a party and worshipping other gods. When Moses came down from the mountain and saw their idolatry, he became so angry that he smashed the tablets into pieces because of the people’s lawlessness. But another time, Moses struck a rock in anger and it was in disobedience. For this act, he was not allowed to enter the Promised Land.

What was the difference between these two acts of anger? In the example of the smashed tablets, Moses’ anger was directed by God for a specific purpose – to bring the children of Israel to repentance. In the example of the Moses striking the rock, he acted apart from God to satisfy his own wrath.

When you are a believer, there are things that should anger you, because they anger God as well. Things such as poverty, debt, injustice, lawlessness and a lack of faith are just not right. But if your anger is acted out in a way that serves self-righteousness, it is not of God.

Often, God uses anger to motivate us to take action. For example, if you’re not experiencing breakthrough in an area of your life, perhaps you’re not sufficiently angry at the devil to really take some action. When you get angry enough, you’ll do something about it. But as long as you tolerate Satan’s presence in an area, you will stay in bondage.

So, get angry at the right things for the right reasons and take appropriate action. Honor God and His purposes and whatever you do, don’t be self-righteous.

Will you choose not to sin in the midst of righteous anger? Now that’s the choice-driven life!




Today’s Bible Reading:

Ezra 1-2; John 21





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