Listen:  

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.”  There are times when it is proper to become angry.  If we see that the name of the Lord is being dishonored, that should cause us to be angry.  If our blessed savior is being mocked and ridiculed by some who do not know him as savior, that can also cause us to be angry.  Some call this a righteous indignation.

We need to be very cautious, however, when we begin to defend our anger.  More times than not, our anger comes from personal offenses.  We get angry if someone treats us disrespectfully.  We get angry if others do not agree with our point of view.  We get angry when we are passed over for a better job.  These types of anger are not righteous in the sight of the Lord.  Ecclesiastes 7:9 tells us, “Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.”  We need to learn to control our tempers and not get angry easily.  We have further instruction about this in James 1:19-20 which says, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”  We cannot perform righteous acts when we are motivated by anger.

Even though there are times that we might experience holy anger, we are still to follow the instruction of Ephesians 4:6, “Be ye angry, and sin not…”  Even with holy anger, we are told that we should not sin.  There is always great danger that where there is anger, it will be accompanied by sin.  Let’s consider an instance where the Lord Jesus was angry.  Let’s read Mark 3:1-5, “And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him. And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.  And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.”  The Lord was angry and grieved at the hard-hearted men who were watching Him to see if He would do anything that they might accuse Him of sin.  Still, in the presence of these unbelieving men, He performed a miracle that should have convinced them that Jesus was truly the Christ.  We see here that the Lord Jesus was angry, yet He did not sin.

There were two times that the Lord was angry when He approached the temple and found people there using the temple as a place of commerce.  Although the Lord showed His anger in driving these people out, He also instructed them in righteousness as He did that.  We see in John 2:16, “And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.”  Later in His career, the Lord once again drove these people out of the temple.  Matthew 21:12-13 says, “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”  In both of these instances, the Lord was angry with righteous indignation, but He did not sin.

What should make us mad?  Only those things that anger and dishonor the Lord should truly make us mad.  The anger that causes us to want to hurt others or get revenge is not holy anger.  (121.4)