I think God is disappointed if we don’t get angry sometimes – like if we just avert our face and walk on by when injustice is happening to a child, a pet, or another person. Sure I feel angry at times (often at myself). Why do I have that emotion? The Bible acknowledges that we (people created in the image of God) will get angry from time to time. But does that mean that
All anger is sin
Anger equals hatred
No good can come from anger
If I am angry about injustice then angry reactions are excusable as righteous indignation
I try to answer my question with questions – beginning with: What is anger anyway?
Many great leaders have been commended for their commendable control in managing their anger to take action and correct is wrong in their environment, or in themselves. In The Wrath of a Great Leader, Hitendra Wadhwa says “Without anger, they would not have the awareness or the drive to fix what is wrong. “
Now let’s take a look at what anger means in a couple of verses
Ephesians 4:26-27 (New American Standard Version)
Be angry (provoked)
And yet do not sin
Do not let the sun go down on your anger,
And do not give the devil an opportunity
Anger, according to Strong’s 3709 in in this verse comes from orgḗ (“settled anger”) proceeds from an internal disposition which steadfastly opposes someone or something based on extended personal exposure, i.e. solidifying what the beholder considers wrong (unjust, evil).
Proverbs 14:29 (International Standard Version)
Being slow to get angry compares to great understanding as being quick-tempered compares to stupidity.
Here, anger stems from aph -which means nostril, or nose – the image of someone puffing, or swelling up or snorting in rage and loss of self-control
Have you ever seen an injustice and felt yourself puff up and inhale in anger that someone could do such a thing. This is the instant emotion – an original susceptibility that is not necessarily sinful but certainly can lead to sinful action. That is why this verse encourages us to be slow to ever let our anger control us.
So neither of these verses indicate sin is feeling angry, but both indicate it can become sin if the emotion is allowed to be continual (family members not speaking for years), excessive (brutal or to exact revenge), not controlled (reaction not response), or without cause.
One of my favorite illustrations of foolish anger is the story of Jonah, where the exhausted rebel collapses to give up and die, and overnight God gives him a plant for shade, then overnight God allows the plant to wither and die. God’s point was to reveal to Jonah his compassion for the plant was greater than for the people whom God wanted to give opportunity for reconciliation. Jonah wanted the Ninevites to suffer – and perhaps they deserved it, but it was not Jonah’s decision it was God’s.