Anger, Without Sin

Bill Brinkworth

Each person shows their anger differently, but everyone gets angry. For some, the emotion boils and stews inside of them, and for others it results in fists through the sheetrock. These emotions of displeasure are part of how we are created.  It is part of our design. Anger was never intended, however, to turn to sin or to control our lives.

Since we are created in the image of God, we have many character traits that our Creator has. Anger is one of them, although He would never sin with His anger. God got angry with:
“Also the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, saying, Thou also shalt not go in thither.” Deuteronomy 1:37
The people of Israel many times, including at Mount Horeb.
”Also in Horeb ye provoked the LORD to wrath, so that the LORD was angry with you to have destroyed you.” Deuteronomy 9:8
“Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only.” 2 Kings 17:18
“And the LORD was very angry with Aaron to have destroyed him: and I prayed for Aaron also the same time.” Deuteronomy 9:20
“ And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,” I Kings 11:9
With those sinning.
“God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.” Psalm 7:11
“O LORD God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people?” Psalm 80:4

Even Jesus was angry enough to throw the corrupt moneychangers out of the temple:
“And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables;” John 2:15

God’s chosen men also got angry, including:
Moses, one of the men most used by God.
“And Moses diligently sought the goat of the sin offering, and, behold, it was burnt: and he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron which were left alive, saying,” Leviticus 10:16
“And I was very angry when I heard their cry and these words.” Nehemiah 5:6
“But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.” Jonah 4:1

In all the situations that God was angry, sin was never involved. Anger is not sin when it is directed toward the things that should anger us and also gets God angry.  It is not sin if you find yourself angry at unrighteousness in government, the death of millions of aborted babies, or the theft of property, or other sinful activities. Anger is sin when it is for jealous, prideful, or selfish reasons.

Needless to say, we should not want to get angry and should avoid it at all costs. Be angry at sin, but not at the sinner. It should be a last measure in handling a situation. Some biblical reasons for not getting angry are:
Remember that God was angry with you, but he turned his anger away from you and forgave you, if you have trusted Christ as your Saviour! Think of all the times He forgave and forgot your transgressions against Him. If He can turn His anger away from you, and He certainly does not have to, cannot we forgive and forget what a person has done to us? Are you not glad that you did not receive what was due you for your sin against the Creator?
“And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me.” Isaiah 12:1
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32
Because you will do something foolish that you probably will regret.
“He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: … “ Proverb 14:7
Because no one likes angry people. Sinful anger creates a bad testimony for a Christian.
“… and a man of wicked devices is hated.” Proverb 14:17
Because no one wants to be near angry people.
“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.” Proverb 21:19. I am quite sure no one wants to live in the same house with an angry man either!
Because no one should be friends with angry people. God commands us not to be. He knows that anger can spread from them to you!
“Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go:” Proverb 22:24
Because angriness affects others and causes problems. Uncontrolled anger can lead to other sins.  Many times an angry person gets some satisfaction in making others as unhappy as he.
“An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.” Proverb 29:22

Controlling anger is easier said than done. For some, an angry reaction comes upon them so fast that it turns to sinful anger before it is stopped. The Bible does give suggestions and warnings so it does not turn into sin. They include:
Do not let angriness be the first reaction to a situation. Some are convinced that blowing their stack is the only way they will get what they want. They hope that the opposition will back off, when they blow up. Realizing that anger does not ever fix any situation, and that it usually makes matters worse, is one of the first steps in eliminating anger.
“Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.” Ecclesiastes 7:9
Only angriness against sin is justified. The mind of Christ that resides in every Christian should be angry at sin. That “mind” should not be angry, because someone said something or did something against you. That is their sin of unkindness for which they will be responsible. A Christ-like mind should not be angry at someone because of jealousy, bitterness, or unkindness; that is your sin. The Christian should not want to sin, and therefore any anger leading to a trespass against God should be halted. God’s anger at our sin should make us want to confess and repent of it.
“But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” Matthew- 5:22

If you do get angry, get it right, and forgive the offender before the day is finished. Do not let that spirit of angriness fester over-night. If you do, you will wake up with that sin embedded deeper, and it will be harder to forgive and put it behind you. Most deep-rooted anger that some lug around their whole life is from something that should have been talked out with the person and forgotten by the first night it occurred.
“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:” Ephesians 4:26
The context of this verse in Ephesians is part of an exhortation to those that are saved. When they are saved, they should not do as the unsaved, “old creature” did, but do only as Christ would have them do. If a man was a thief, he is to steal no longer, but to work. If he gosipped or hurt people with his tongue, he is now only to say things that will help others. Likewise if he got angry and hurt others, he should get that natural feeling of angriness resolved before going to bed.
A personal apology to one that you are angry with (even though it was they that wronged you) does wonders in burning the bridges not to return to an angry solution again. If you asked the person that did you wrong to forgive you for your anger against him, you will find it hard to get angry at him again, knowing that you do not want to humble yourself again.
“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:” Ephesians 4:31
Take the anger of the past and throw it out of your life to the best of your ability. Fill that void with kindness. ‘Put away’ in Eph. 4:31, means to ‘take up and away’ with anger. When you put it away, do not pick it up again. When one thinks about it, they are picking it up.
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32
“Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,” 1 Peter 2:1
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” Colossians 3:12-13
Do not get yourself in a position that has made you angry in the past. If you know a certain situation or being near a person will probably lead to sinful anger, avoid that situation or person.
“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”
Romans 13:14
Think before reacting. This, especially for many, is a difficult thing to do, because anger is usually their first reaction. The old adage was to count to ten before saying anything. If you can get to that point that you can think before you react, ask yourself, “How would Jesus react to this situation?” It certainly would be more productive than counting. A Christian is supposed to be “Christ-like,” and it should be on a Christian’s mind that they duplicate their Master’s reaction.


Anger can be ‘put off’ when the heart is changed at the time of salvation. Although we will still have the potential for anger, we can have a changed heart where angriness does not rule and reign. We all know angry people that do many damaging and hurtful things to others and themselves because of their unforgiveness of someone’s deed to them. When the Holy Spirit comes into one’s life and is obeyed, the underlying causes of angriness may not seem so important any more, resulting in less need for being angry.

A man being angry at women because of not having a father in his life and blaming all his hardships on the only one near him, his mother, may stop his bitterness when he forgives his father for leaving when he was small. A woman angry with men for what one man did to her, may cease to be angry when she can forgive her attacker.

When the Holy Spirit comes into one’s life, all feelings can be changed and anger against others can change. As the child’s song goes, “The things I used to do, I don’t do them anymore,” should be the nature of the new creature in Christ. All things should be changed in the believer, and the handling of one’s anger can be part of the change.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

As impossible as it sounds, anger can be reduced in one’s life. If it were not possible, God would not have commanded us to eliminate anger from our life.  As in all difficulties we face in this life, prayer, finding God’s instructions by reading His Word, and obedience to what He shows us in the scripture will help us to overcome sinful anger.
“Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.” Psalm 37:8

“An angry man is again angry with himself when he returns to reason.” — Publcius Syrus


This lesson was featured in The Bible View #160

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