Anger is one of the most problematic of human emotions. It gets human beings into all sorts of trouble. While most everyone will acknowledge that acting out of a place of anger isn’t good, most of the times it isn’t a choice. People rarely choose to become angry, instead, it happens whether they want it to or not.
Many people characterize anger as inherently wrong. But is this true? Can emotion be inherently evil? If so, then a lot of people in life are evil because everyone gets angry sooner or later.
The truth is anger is an emotion like any other that can be used for good or evil, the same way sadness can either lead you into anxiety and depression or into the loving arms of our community.
Another reason Christians need to evaluate their beliefs about anger being inherently evil is that God expresses anger in the Bible. If God is angry, then it can’t be evil in and of itself. Instead, Christians need to see that inappropriately acting in anger is what is sinful, not the feeling of anger brought about by injustice.
As you can see, the topic of anger is more complex than you might at first think. You can’t simply write off anger as wrong and try to remove it from your life. Luckily, there are many Scriptures on anger in the Bible, which help shed light on the topic.
So, what does the Bible say about anger? Let’s find out.
Keep Your Mouth Shut
Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back. – Proverbs 29:11
This is both a statement of truth and a word of advice. While we can’t always control our feelings of anger, we can control how we express them. Fools don’t control them but rather throw them around injuring whoever is nearby.
The wise feel anger, but choose to express it in a healthy manner doing something like taking a long walk, talking with a close friend or partner, or going to the gym. It will look different for everyone, but there are healthy ways to work out your anger. But letting it spill out uncontrollably on those around you definitely is not wise. So take this word to heart, and it will save you a lot of heartache.
Quell, Don’t Yell
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – Proverbs 15:1
You’ve heard the phrase fight fire with fire? This is not true for anger. If you fight anger with anger, all you get is more anger. On the other hand, if you respond to anger with patience and love, you can actually quell anger from getting out of hand.
And that is exactly what this verse about anger is saying. Responding to anger in love is easier said than done, but it is possible. In moments when you just want to let them have it, try to remember that nothing good will come of it. It’s not easy to take the higher road, and it will take practice, but responding in love is possible.
God’s Anger in the Bible
God is a righteous judge, a God who displays his wrath every day. – Psalm 7:11
Here we see that anger is actually a characteristic of God. This might be unsettling for some people, but the truth is we see anger in the Bible quite a bit. What you need to remember is that anger, when channeled at injustice, from pure motivations, is not evil.
That is how God is angry. He is angry at the sinfulness of mankind because he knows it is not what is best for us. So even in his anger, he still loves us. Once we are able to process this more, it should bring us deep peace knowing that all of the injustice we experience infuriates God. He wants to, and will, set things right.
While anger is a characteristic of God, his anger is not like sinful human anger. This Bible verse about anger explains it further. It says that God is slow to anger, rather seeking to show love and forgiveness to sinful people. It is only the unrepentant that he will punish.
The LORD is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation. – Numbers 14:18 (cf. James 1:19)
While it can be hard to process that God will be angry and punish people, it’s important to realize this aspect of God is necessary for him to be fully just. A judge who pardons everyone, regardless of wrongdoing and their current heart motivations, is a bad judge. A good judge is able to examine the evidence and the hearts of the people, granting forgiveness to the willing and punishment to those unwilling to change.
Jesus Gets Angry
So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves, he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” – John 2:15-16
All of the passages up until now have been from the Old Testament, but it is time to look at one from the New Testament. While the Old Testament may show God’s anger more, it also appears in the New Testament. In this passage, we see Jesus clearing the temple, angry at the mockery and greed of the people.
He is filled with zeal for his father’s house and is angry because people are not being respectful to God. Jesus shows us here that when anger has pure and holy motivations it can be a good thing. For God, his anger is always pure and holy, but for humanity, our sinfulness often gets in the way of even our best intentions. As a result, we should always be careful and follow the wisdom of the Proverbs from above to help prevent us from being foolish.
Christian Counseling for Anger Management
Is it disturbing to hear that God is angry? Does it sound weird to hear so many Bible verses about anger? It’s okay if that’s how you feel but don’t let that prevent you from wrestling with God’s anger. It is a very important aspect of his character. Understanding God’s anger can help us understand our own. As we’ve noted, anger itself is not sinful, rather it is how we act out our anger.
When you begin to feel angry, it means something else is going on. This is an opportunity for growth and healing. At first, you might not even be able to identify what’s making you angry, but if you take the time to explore your emotions, you can find the source of your pain.
One of the best ways to do this is to work with a professional Christian counselor. This can be really helpful if you are dealing with anger issues. A counselor can help you unpack what is really going on, so you can deal with the source of the anger and not just deal with the symptoms. Browse our counselor directory today to find a professional to meet your needs.