Perhaps what is the most bothersome about the culture of anger is that it has seeped into the Church. Many self-proclaimed Christians are consumed by anger. In fact, I recall being at one political event and sitting next to a fellow Church goer listening to some guy rant and rave about everything and everyone and I asked, “Doesn’t all this anger bother you?” He looked at me somewhat bewildered and said very bluntly, “No.” He was caught up in the propaganda of anger.
So what does God think about all of this anger?
First, I think we should recognize that anger is not by default a sin. The Bible makes it explicitly clear that God has anger, and likewise we know that God is sinless. Psalm 7:11 says, “God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.” In this verse we see the coexistence of righteousness and indignation (anger).
If God is angry, what is he angry about? Romans 1:18 says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” God’s anger is directed towards the sin of man. His indignation is a result of the rebellion of man against Him.
A picture of God’s anger towards ungodliness is seen in Jesus, who cleansed the Temple recorded in Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-18, and John 2:13-22. The anger of Jesus is described as zeal for His Father’s house which was turned into a den of thieves. Likewise, in Mark 3:5 we read, “And [Jesus] looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart.” As Jesus peered into the soul of man he was angry with what he saw, wickedness.
Therefore, anger that is righteous is anger towards sin, the rebelling against God’s holiness. However, I think most of us would agree, that the anger we see in ourselves and in our culture is not that type of righteous anger.
In James 1:20 it says, “for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” The anger of man is different than righteous indignation. The anger of man finds its source in our sinful nature. This anger does not please God. In James 4:1 it says, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?” Many times, the root of our anger is our self-centered sin.
Regarding this anger, the Bible has a fair amount to say. Paul calls this anger “earthly” and says in Colossians 3:8, “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.”
Matthew 5:22 says, “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment”
Psalm 37:8 says, “Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.”
Ecclesiastes 7:9 says, “Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools.”
Proverbs 30:33 says, “For as churning cream produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife.”
When we become angry about earthly things it brings judgment, produces evil, produces strife, and looks foolish. God commands us to put this type of anger away, not to embrace it. As Christians, we are to be known by our love, not by our anger. So in a culture that is now measured by anger, choose to live differently. Don’t get angry about Earthly things, but instead have zeal for the Lord and his Holiness.