You may have been told that anger is a sin, but that is not always the case. The Bible tells us that there is a type of anger known as righteous indignation acceptable to God. We can be sure that our righteous anger and indignation are justly expressed when we are confronted with sin. Righteous anger and indignation are justly expressed when we are confronted with sin. Some examples of this include anger toward racism, child abuse, violence, and sexual abuse.
The Bible tells us, “God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.” Scripture also tells us it is acceptable for believers to be angry. Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.” In the Bible, anger is God-given energy intended to help us solve problems. Some examples of anger in the Bible include David being upset over hearing Nathan the prophet sharing and injustice, referenced in 2 Samuel 12 and Jesus’ anger over how some of the Jews had defiled worship at God’s temple in Jerusalem, referenced in John 2:13-18. When we look at these examples of anger, notice how they usually involve a defense of others or of a principle.
If we are angry at an injustice inflicted against oneself, that is appropriate in God’s eyes. When anger shows up, it can be a signal or a red flag, alerting us to those times when others are or are attempting to violate our boundaries. Anger becomes sinful when it is motivated by pride when it is unproductive and distorts God’s purposes. It can also be a sin when we allow it to anger. One major sign that anger has turned into sin is when we attack the wrongdoer instead of attacking the problem at hand. Anger also becomes sin when we refuse to be pacified, hold a grudge, or we keep the anger all inside. Ephesians 4:27 continues, “Do not let the sun go down on your anger and give no opportunity to the devil.”
You may also wonder if it is a sin to be angry with God. While anger with Hof is not a sin, our anger towards God can lead us to sin. Anger with God is something we all go through, no matter how strong our faith is. This anger often shows up in the face of tragedy and difficult circumstances. Anger can leave us feeling very far from God. We begin to ask God questions like, “is God mad at me?” “why is this happening to me?” and “why have you abandoned me?” It may feel like a sin to be angry with God, but the truth is it is not. While anger with God is not a sin, it is what we do with that anger that is God’s true concern.
David is a tremendous biblical figure that can help us understand our anger with God. He was someone who felt angry and abandoned by God. He also did not know what the result looked like. He cried out to God often when he was experiencing feelings of anger.
Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.” In these verses, we can see David’s pain, agony, and longing for God. While he is discouraged and filled with grief, he does not lose his hope. Psalm 42:9-11 says, “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again – my Savior and my God!” No matter how angry with God David was and what circumstances he faced, he continued to praise God.
If you are angry with God, remember that God will carry you through any storm you face. The Bible tells us, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (Isaiah 43:2). Every difficult situation you face, whether big or small, is preparing you to be stronger. God will use your trials to produce greater faith and strength if you allow Him to. Your pain has a purpose, even when you do not understand why at this moment.
Also, remember how deep God’s love runs. No action you make and no sin that you commit can make Him love you any less. The Bible tells us, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.” When life gets hard, you must remember that God loves you – no matter how many mistakes you make or how many times you are angry with Him. God does not love us for superficial, earthly reasons. God loves you for you.
When our hearts are filled with anger, it can get the devil an opportunity to reside there. It can also destroy us if we allow it to. It is wrong to be angry with God as it is a sign of our unwillingness to trust God. However, God understands when we are. He is aware of the pain that we will encounter in this world and the suffering we will go through.
God has the power to heal your troubled heart, even when anger fills it. The Bible tells us that Jesus was sent to heal the broken-hearted (Luke 4:18), that He will restore our health and heal our wounds (Jeremiah 30:17). Jesus not only carries all your pain but also has the power to heal you. Even in times of difficulty and uncertainty, God wants us to know that He is present and able to make us whole again. The beautiful part is that when God heals and restores, our lives are transformed. Trust in His power.