Handling Anger in a Godly Way

Christian approaches to anger

BY: Gary Chapman

Excerpted with permission from "The Other Side of Love: Handling Anger in a Godly Way."

Is anger a sin?

As simple as this may sound, some Christians have difficulty with anger. All their lifetime they have been taught that anger is sin. Thus, to admit that they are angry is to admit that they are sinning. But this is not a biblical perspective on anger...the experience of anger is not sinful. It is a part of our humanity and reflects the anger experienced by God Himself. Paul stated it clearly when he said, "In your anger do not sin" (Ephesians 4:26). The challenge is not "Don't get angry," but the challenge is not to sin when we are angry.

How Jesus handled anger

On one occasion, Jesus began to teach His disciples that He was going to suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests, and that He would be killed, and after three days He would rise again. The Scriptures record the reaction of one disciple: "Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him" (Mark 8:32). Why did Peter rebuke Jesus? Because in his mind, what Jesus was saying was wrong.

This is not the way you establish a kingdom. And certainly my master is not going to be killed

. Perhaps Peter thought Jesus was depressed, but he certainly didn't agree with what Jesus was saying, so he privately rebuked Him.

In response, "Jesus turned and looked at his disciples." Then "he rebuked Peter. 'Get behind me, Satan!' he said. 'You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men'" (Mark 8:33). Jesus knew that Peter misunderstood reality; that in fact he was speaking the words of Satan. In brief, Peter was wrong, and Jesus clearly confronted him with his wrong. On another occasion, Jesus rebuked James and John for their hostile attitude toward the unbelieving Samaritans. They suggested, "'Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?' But Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went to another village" (Luke 9:54-56). Clearly, their attitude was wrong, and Jesus brought the matter to their attention.

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