“Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.” Psalm 37:8
The Bible has something to tell us about anger. We see it mentioned many times throughout the scriptures. Is it a good thing or a bad thing?
One example of righteous anger we see is when Jesus drove out the money changers from the temple in Matthew 21:12-13: “And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.” Jesus was angry that the house of God was being misused for financial gain.
There were other times Jesus had straightforward, harsh words for the religious leaders of the day. Matthew 23 has many warnings and reprimands for them, such as verses 27-28: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” In verse 33, Jesus calls them serpents and vipers. We can imagine He was expressing His frustration and righteous indignation as He exposed their intentions and actions, which perverted His gospel and tried to hinder those who needed salvation.
The Word of God does have instances where anger was present in order to address wrongdoing.
However, most of us don’t struggle with this side of anger. We struggle with the side of anger that is connected to our tempers. For those instances, the Bible has many warnings to help us avoid giving in to this explosive feeling.
The Bible does let us know that anger is not a sin. Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,”
A scripture that advises us on one method for handling anger is Proverbs 15:1, which says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” The lessons from these two scriptures teach us that harboring anger in our hearts must not be and handling contentious situations with calmness can diffuse explosive situations. These words of wisdom are relevant to many situations in our lives because difficulties arise in relationships, and peace needs to be our goal.
God’s own characteristics set the example for us, mentioned in Psalm 103:8: “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”
Remembering that “anger” is one letter short of “danger” can save us many instances of heartache and regret.
We can make mental notes of the following scriptures on the topic of anger as well:
Proverbs 14:29: “Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.”
James 1:20: “For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
Proverbs 15:18: “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.”
The human body is made with built-in emotions, and those include the feeling of anger. Letting the Bible instruct us on the proper use of this emotion will help us navigate through life with calmer situations and greater peace.