“Christians shouldn’t be angry” – should they? Often people have been told Christians shouldn’t be angry, but of course it is rubbish! Anger is a God-given emotion and we should be free to have it.
God Himself gets angry. In fact some people even say that the God of the Old Testament must be different from the God of the New Testament because He always seems to be angry. But we know that God is the same yesterday, today and forever more (Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17 etc).
In the Old Testament, God became angry with the Israelites when they were disobedient. He had chosen them and set them apart through Abraham, to show His faithfulness and He wanted them to live in holiness and righteousness before Him. He gave them the Law to provide a framework for this holy living and told them not to associate with the peoples around them, who were worshipping foreign gods and idols of wood and stone. His anger came against them when they were disobedient, when they intermarried with other peoples and when they began to follow those peoples in false worship.
Jesus displayed anger when He confronted the hypocrisy of the religious leaders of the day. His anger was robust to put it mildly! “You blind guides, you whited sepulchres, you child of Gehenna (hell), blind fools!” (Matthew 23). We also have the description of Him turning the money lenders and animals out of the Temple, driving them out with a whip – a scene of chaos and confusion – the result of Jesus’ anger at the desecration of God’s holy place.
All of us experience anger from time to time and anger in itself is not a sin: it’s how we handle it that determines whether we are being sinful or not. The behaviour which results from our angry feelings may be righteous or unrighteous, and we’ll look at that in part 2.
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