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Righteous and Unrighteous Anger

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Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. What saith the Scripture about anger?
Grace to you.
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Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
To be angry with one another without a cause is to be in danger of the same judgment that belongs to the killer (i.e., the murderer). Was the Lord Jesus ever angry? Yes. Mark 3:5 records, "And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched
out: and his hand was restored whole as the other."
Paul tells us, "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil" (Ephesians 4:26-27). James tells us, "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" (James 1:19-20). The Greek word for wrath in James (Strong's G3709) is similar to the Greek word for anger in Ephesians 4 (Strong's G3710).
What we see from this is that there are both a righteous anger and an unrighteous anger. We can be angry and sin not or we can be angry and not work the righteousness of God. How do we tell the difference?
John records one of the times that Jesus made a scourge of small cords and drove out of the temple those who made merchandise in the temple by changing money and selling oxen and sheep and doves. "And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house a house of merchandise. And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up" (John 2:16-17).
While the Scripture doesn't explicitly say Jesus was angry, I suspect He appeared angry to those he drove out. His reason had to do with the reputation of His Father and His Father's house. Yet we also see in the Gospels and hear from Peter that Jesus, "[w]ho did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed
judgeth righteously" (1 Peter 2:22-23).
When He suffered according to the will of the Father, He did not sin, nor speak guile nor threaten. Indeed the Gospels record that the High Priest had to adjure Him to speak and Pilate marveled that Jesus did not defend Himself.
I want to suggest to you that righteous anger is according to the will of the Father and is used to motivate us in defense of someone other than ourselves. Recalling the passage in Mark 3:5, I want to suggest that grief is a part of righteous anger.
We remember that Paul tells us to "[b]e ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil" (Ephesians 4:26-27).
Even righteous anger must be let go by the end of the day. If we hold onto it, a root of bitterness can spring up, and we can give the devil legal ground to trouble us.
When we let the sun go down on our wrath, a root of bitterness may spring up and defile us and those around us. Hebrews 12:15 tells us, "Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble
many be defiled." A root of bitterness can be seen by its fruit, "Lest there
fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright" (Hebrews 12:16). Bitterness' fruit may be seen by one's involvement in pornography and one's interest in the things of the world. Pride is the cause of one failing of the grace of God because ". . . God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble" (1 Peter 5:5).
Paul tells us that the immediate fruit of bitterness begets wrath, wrath begets anger, anger begets clamor, and clamor begets evil speaking, and evil speaking begets malice (Ephesians 4:31). Bitterness tries to hide beneath the surface, but wrath is like a pot simmering, close to boiling over. Anger is the steam coming out the spout. Clamor is the noise of the steam escaping the spout. Evil speaking is the effect of the steam on the one who is burned. Malice or desire to do bodily harm is the result of that burning.
When we hold onto anger, the devil gets a place. I have seen someone stare at me with demonic hate on his face.
How do we humble ourselves and get rid of the root of bitterness and all its fruit? Paul tells us, "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:31-32). How do we let all these things go? By forgiving one another. It is the right thing to do.
Proverbs 14:17 says, "
He that is
devices is hated." Ecclesiastes 7:8-9 teaches us, "Better
the end of a thing than the
beginning thereof:
the patient is spirit
better than the proud in spirit. Be not
hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools." When we are quick to lose our tempers, we are acting foolishly. James tells us, ". . . let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God" (James 1:19-20).
Proverbs 22:24-25 tells us, "Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul." Proverbs 29:22 tells us, "An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression." If we associate with those who soon get angry, we can learn their ways, finding snares for our soul, and cause strife and abound in transgression.
Lest we think only men have this problem, Proverbs 21:9 tells us, "
It is
better to dwell
in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house." Verse 19 tells us, "
It is
better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry
woman." An angry woman can drive her man up onto the roof and then out into the wilderness.
I don't want you to think I am pointing a finger at anyone but myself. My girls know I have trouble with my temper. The Holy Spirit is given to us to grow in us the fruit of temperance or self-control (better said as the control of self). Proverbs 25:28 teaches us, "He that
no rule over his own spirit
is like
a city
that is
broken down,
without walls."
It is eternally important that we learn to control our tempers. We won't have the desire to control our tempers until we see unrighteous anger for what it is - a work of the flesh which is worthy of the same judgment as murder. The only anger which is right is righteous anger, and even that, the sun shouldn't go down on.
- Matthew 5:21-22
to him that
and thereby
[computer software] . Franklin, TN: Equipping Ministries Foundation.
Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries.
Strong, J.
Meyers, R. (2005). e-Sword.
- a series compilation
soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked