Is anger wrong? Not necessarily…
That’s why the Bible says,
“In your anger do not sin”.” Ephesians 4:26
What’s He saying? He is saying that when you lose control and anger controls you- that’s when anger is wrong. Anger in and of itself is not wrong- it’s not a sin. In fact God gets angry.
The Bible says, The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Numbers 14:17
Look, it doesn’t say that He does not get angry. God does get angry- He gets angry at many of the things that anger you and I. Like what? Like injustice… False testimonies… Lying… When the helpless are hurt…
Now what we need to notice is that when we see God get angry it is very much under control and within His purpose… His anger doesn’t take Him off purpose. It’s part of His purpose… His anger is always self controlled.
So, what can you conclude about when and where anger is wrong? How do you sin in your anger? When it’s out of control and take you away from God’s purposes.
Out of control, off purpose anger is:
1. Recluse anger…
One thing you notice right off the bat about God is that He doesn’t lie about His anger. He calls it like it is. Have you ever been angry and covered it up because you just knew it wasn’t right? Anger that is hidden exposes our false ideas about it and keeps us under its control. Look at what the Bible says about that kind of anger, If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8 See what happens? You cover things like anger and say they aren’t there and that deception ends up controlling you. You cannot really communicate with people / there’s no real relationships in your life / you essentially find reasons to run from closeness to other people…
The fact is, you either control anger or it controls you. Covering anger up puts anger in the driver’s seat.
Another kind of out of control, off purpose anger is;
2. Retained anger…
Another thing you notice is that God doesn’t hang on to anger- Remember right after He said that He is slow to anger He said that He is forgiving? Hanging onto anger is another way that it controls us and steals our purpose. That’s why the Bible says, Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:26-27 What is a foot hold? It’s a place from which he can operate. A place in your life for him to “take a stand” a place to work from.
In other words here’s what happens; your life is going along fine and fairly normal and along comes a hurt. Someone disappoints you or doesn’t love you like they should and hurts you. Now you can hang onto that or you can let it go… But I think I’ll chew on it a while- after all- I deserve it and so do they. Before long you find that you are having trouble trusting other people. And silly things are making you angry. What happened? You gave the devil a place in your life to work from- retained anger.
The Bible says, anyone who gets angry is subject to judgment… In other words retaining anger makes it easier to sin. So how do you give the devil a foothold in your life? By hanging onto anger. Retained anger gives the devil a foothold to work from. Something happens to anger after holding onto it for more than a day. It becomes repressed, pushed down into the soil of our hearts. What was a thought and maybe a feeling- now becomes an attitude that will most certainly become an action at some point.
Retained anger and recluse anger usually happen because of;
3. Rationalized anger…
How do we rationalize anger? Making excuses for it- or denying it. Anger gains control of us when we rationalize it.
Note that God never rationalizes His anger. It’s legit or He isn’t angry. Rationalizing anger is an easy way to sin in your anger and to get off purpose.
This is what the Bible says about rationalizing anger: If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. 1John 1:10
Draw an arrow from liar to God’s word. Whenever I say, “I have a right to be angry. I have a right to make that person pay.” We need ask ourselves a question: who says I have a right? What makes me a liar is when I rationalize what I want to do and how I want to feel- because if I bring it into the light of God’s word I may not have that right at all. Just because I’ve decided I’m right doesn’t mean I am. There has to be a standard and here’s the tough news: you aren’t it. And if I determine that I’m right without looking at that standard- then I’m just lying to myself- worse yet- I’m calling God a liar concerning what His word says about me & listen- the standard- that is His word- has no place in my life.
Rationalized anger, retained anger and recluse anger will finally give way to;
4. Raging anger…
Raging anger is wildly out of control anger… One reason that God’s anger is never sinful because it’s always under control. Unlike God, we are born with a sin nature. That’s why it is necessary for you and I to… Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Ephesians 4:31 All of these are raging anger at various stages and expressions. Simply put; anger that is out of control is raging- sinful anger. If you have it, I guarantee you that it is stealing your purpose -often. How? Let me show you…
It begins with the word “bitterness” because that’s where raging anger will end up or comes from. Now look at the rest of the list: rage (thymos, “outbursts of anger”), anger (orgeµ, “settled feeling of anger”),brawling (kraugeµ, “shouting or clamor”), slander (blaspheµmia), and malice (kakia, “ill will, wickedness and manipulation thru anger”)
Those are all sorts of raging anger; why are they raging even when not raging? Because all are out of control anger… Now notice that in each one, God’s purpose is stolen away and replaced by this “bitter” expression of anger. Everyone of those things, those expressions- begins and ends in “bitterness”… Nothing squashes your purpose like bitterness.
To continue your study please see the brochure entitled “Processing Anger”.