Is anger always a sin? And how can I overcome my sinful anger?

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There are two kinds of anger that the Bible speaks of. The first kind is the wrong kind of anger that most people struggle with. Jesus said, “But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment” (Matthew 5:22). Anger is an inward sin. And murder is an end result of anger. Jesus’ requirements went beyond the outward acts of the law and they included the spirit and the motives behind those acts. A man may hide his anger from his fellow men but God alone sees the heart and judges accordingly.

But there is hope for those that struggle with anger. To overcome anger, the believer needs to claim the promises of God for victory “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). God’s grace can transform our anger into self control and love “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

The Bible reveals another kind of anger which is justifiable “And when He (Jesus) had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other” (Mark 3:5). Here, Jesus is exhibiting the righteous anger.

Righteous anger has an important function in arousing men to fight against evil. Jesus was not angered by any personal issue, but by hypocritical attitudes to God and injustices done to others (Mark 3:5). The righteous anger is directed against the wrong action but not toward the wrongdoer (John 2:14–17). And to be able to separate the two, a person needs God’s grace and wisdom.

Therefore, Paul says, “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26, 27). In the Greek both phrases “be angry” and “do not sin” are commands. So, it is clear that the anger that is pointed in this verse is the righteous anger. But the Bible warns that while having righteous anger believers should not have feelings of personal resentment, hate and loss of control towards others.

Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team


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