Righteously Managing Anger

           Is it acceptable to be angry? The urge to answer, “No!” can be very powerful. Afterall, Psalm 37:8 reads, “Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.” However, examples of the Bible show us that the true problems with anger lie not in the emotion itself, but in its motivations and the way it gets expressed.

            Mark 3:1-6 and Luke 6:6-11 record a story of Jesus healing a man on the Sabbath. Jesus was teaching in a synagogue one Saturday and noticed that there was a person there whose hand was withered. Knowing that the Pharisees were attentively watching His actions, Jesus asked them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” (Mark 3:5) Rather than respond, the Pharisees remained silent. Mark 3:5 records that Jesus, “looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart.” He then proceeded to heal the man’s hand. Instead of recording the Lord’s anger, Luke 6:11 says, “they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.” With this biblical story, God shows His children that the sin of anger lies in its motivation and expression.

Proverbs 29:11 (NIV) reads, “Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.” Jesus’ anger has only a peaceful and constructive resolution. The Pharisees’ fury instigates each other toward destruction. Proverbs 18:2 says, “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” Instead of desiring to understand Jesus, the Pharisees foolishly sought to validate their own opinions. They were motivated by their desire to stop Him and His ministry (Mark 3:2). As a result, they expressed their anger sinfully by talking amongst themselves and the Herodians about a way to destroy Jesus. Contrarily, Jesus was motivated by helping others understand God’s will (Luke 6:6). Therefore, He handled His anger with the Pharisees by healing a man’s hand and grieving their lack of compassion.

Wrathful anger simply leads to unconstructive interactions with others. However, anger that is righteously motivated can be channeled to have benefiting outcomes for all parties involved. Ephesians 4:26 reads, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.” Jesus warns all God’s children that they will face situations in this life that will challenge and tempt their faith. Yet, part of John 16:33 also says, “In me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” When feeling angry, turning to Jesus, will show you how to properly guide wrath.