Monday, March 11, 2024

Is Anger Ever Justified?

And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry. (Ephesians 4:26 NLT)

The Bible clearly teaches that God is a triune being. He is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Yet it’s difficult for many of us to grasp such a concept because there’s no real parallel we can point to. Whatever analogy we try to use ultimately breaks down.

For the most part, we can wrap our minds around the idea of God the Father and God the Son. However, God the Holy Spirit is a little tough for us. Yet the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit has a distinct personality. 

In fact, Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit as a He, not as an it. For example, in John 16:8, Jesus said of the Holy Spirit, “And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment” (NLT).

This is evidenced by the fact that we are capable of quenching, resisting, blaspheming, lying to, and grieving the Holy Spirit.

One of the various ways we can grieve the Holy Spirit is by acting out in unjustified anger. The apostle Paul warned the Christians in Ephesus, “And ‘don’t sin by letting anger control you’ ” (Ephesians 4:26 NLT).

There is a difference between unjustified anger and righteous indignation. Jesus, for instance, showed anger. But let’s not misunderstand. When God is angry, His anger is not like ours. When we are upset, we might throw a tantrum. Can you imagine God doing that? I’m so glad that God doesn’t give in to the same things that we would. He isn’t capable of it. It isn’t in His nature.

So, when God does show anger, His anger is always righteous. It is there for a purpose. Jesus felt anger toward the Pharisees who misrepresented God to the people. He was angry with the money changers in the temple, so he overturned their tables and drove them out using a whip.

Of course, there are things we should be righteously indignant about as well. We should be angry when we see our country in a downward spiral both morally and spiritually. And we should be angry enough to vote for the right policies and the right candidates.

We should be angry when we see too much compromise in the church, thus making our witness ineffective. And we should be angry when we see marriages and families falling apart. This is what we would call righteous indignation.

But then there is unjustified anger in which we lose our temper, say something unkind, or do things that are outright wrong. And when we sin in anger, we need to apologize to the person or people we have offended

Paul went on to say, “Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry” (verse 26 NLT). If you’re married, you should never go to bed when you’re angry with your husband or wife because you don’t want that anger to turn into bitterness.

We need to learn how to disagree—even argue—and then forgive.

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