Christians and Anger

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.

Reading through the gospels, you may note that there are several instances where people express indignation. The other ten disciples are indignant at the request of James and John for seats of power. The chief priests and scribes are indignant because children in the Temple are crying out to Jesus, “Hosanna to the Son of David.” The ruler of the synagogue is indignant because Jesus heals on the Sabbath. All twelve disciples are indignant when they see a woman anoint Jesus with a very expensive jar of perfume. Even Jesus himself is described as indignant in response to the disciples’ rebuking the people who were bringing children to him.

Indignation can be appropriate and proper (as it was in the case of Jesus above). To be aroused to anger because of injustice is a good thing, as long as that anger is expressed properly. But too often we are aroused to anger for the wrong reasons. Too often as well we do not express our anger in godly ways. This seems to happen frequently, even among Christian people. It is as if we forget that we belong to God, and, as a result, we end up acting out in the same ways as the world around us. We give in sometimes to our old nature, reacting to things that should not cause so much negative emotion in us, and lashing out in ways that are far from the witness to which we have been called.

It is ok for us to be angry. In fact, it is good for us to be angry for the right reasons. We must take care, however, to do two things: first, to recognize what is truly worth our anger; second, to process that anger in Christ-honoring


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