After putting her children to bed, a mother changed from her work clothes into a more comfortable outfit and proceeded to wash her hair. Like children often do, they did not go to sleep as they had been instructed. As the mother heard the children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience began to grow thin. Finally, she threw a towel around her wet head, stormed into the children’s room, and yelled at them to get back in bed. As she left the room, she heard her 3-year-old say with a trembling voice, “Who was that?”
We have all undergone the startling metamorphosis of anger at one time or another, and we each deal with varying degrees of anger in our lives. Some people become angry more quickly than others. Some people become angry more often than others. And, some people become angry more intensely than others. However, is anger always wrong?
I have heard it said many times that we should never become angry because, “Anger is a sin.” But, is that true? Is anger sinful? The Bible teaches us that anger is quite often sinful, but it is not always sinful. Let us examine why.
First, if being angry is always a sin, then God sinned in Exodus 4:14 when we read that “the anger of the Lord burned against Moses.” But, God cannot sin. We read in James 1:13 that “God cannot be tempted by evil,” and 1 John 1:5 describes God as being Light and “in Him there is no darkness at all.” Therefore, anger must not always be sinful.
Second, if being angry is always a sin, then Jesus sinned in Mark 3:5 when He looked “with anger” at a group of scheming Pharisees who were trying to trick Him. But, Jesus never sinned! Hebrews 4:15 records that Jesus faced all of the temptations of life that we do, yet He did so “without sin.” Therefore, anger must not always be sinful.
Third, if being angry is always a sin, then the Bible teaches us in Ephesians 4:26 to do the impossible. It reads, “Be angry, and yet do not sin.” But, the Bible would never instruct us to sin! Therefore, anger must not always be sinful.
Ultimately, we can conclude that two types of anger exist. Anger under control and for the right reasons is good. Anger out of control and for the wrong reasons is bad. And, although it is true that anger is not always wrong, I believe that most anger we encounter in life most certainly is.
Next time, we will focus on the specific type of anger that is always sinful and how to keep it out of our lives. Until then, stay at peace and in the word of God!