"Be Angry and Sin Not"
Bible Teaching about Controlling Your Temper and Anger
Anger and loss of temper are problems that all people face at times. With some the problems are habitual. Is it always sinful to be angry? What does the Bible say about anger, wrath, blowing up, and clamming up? Should we vent our feelings to "get it out of our system"? Can we control our tempers? What guidance does God's word give in overcoming the temptations of anger?
All of us have problems controlling our temper at times. Some of us have habitual problems.
Let us consider what the Bible says. Is all anger necessarily sinful? Can we control our tempers? What does Jesus offer to help up ...view middle of the document...
Moses was acting as God's spokesman, yet he spoke "in great anger" (v8).
Exodus 32:19-24 - While Moses was on Mt. Sinai receiving the law, Israel worshiped a golden calf. When he saw this, "Moses' anger became hot" (v19), so much so that other people could see that he was angry (v22). He spoke and he punished the people in anger (cf. vv 25-29).
Numbers 16:15 - When Korah, Dathan, and Abiram led a rebellion against Moses' leadership, "Moses was very angry." He spoke in anger (vv 16ff), and even prayed to God in anger.
Jesus was angry with sin.
Mark 3:5 - When Jews condemned Jesus for healing on the sabbath, He looked on them in anger, being grieved at their hardness of heart. Jesus became angry and spoke in anger, even when teaching. Did He sin (Heb. 4:15)?
Other examples of acceptable anger
2 Corinthians 7:11 - In obedience to Paul's inspired teaching (1 Cor. 5), Corinth had disciplined a fornicator. Paul praised them for their "indignation." Note that a whole congregation acted in indignation, even disciplined a member in indignation, and were praised for doing so!
Ephesians 4:26 - Be angry, and do not sin. Can we obey this passage? If so, then it is possible to be angry without sinning.
Not everyone who is angry has automatically done wrong. Some anger is justified. But note that every case listed above involves being angry at sin. Sin ought to anger Christians, but we must control our response.
Take care lest you conclude that people have sinned, simply because they became angry. Not all anger is sinful.
[Psalms 119:53; Gen. 31:31; Psalm 2:12; Nehemiah 5:6,7; Mark 10:14 - ASV]
B. The Danger of Anger
James 1:19,20 - Be slow to wrath, because the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Again, not all anger is forbidden. It does not say to never be angry but to be slow to anger. The problem with anger is what it "produces" or leads to.
Proverbs 14:17 - A quick-tempered man acts foolishly. Not all anger is sinful, but we must take care lest we "fly off the handle," lose control, and act wrongly. [Prov. 29:22]
Anger can cause us to sin in two different ways:
Anger can cause us to "blow up."
Some psychologists encourage people to "vent" their anger. If husbands or wives become angry, they are supposed to say whatever they think, because it "gets it out of the system" or "releases tension." They tell us to allow even little children to throw tantrums, scream, and call parents nasty names.
A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back. Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
The problem with anger is that it may lead us to lose control of our conduct and lash out at others with foolish words or deeds that are intended to hurt others and may be regretted later. By contrast, a wise man will control himself, even when he is angry.
The Bible teaches that our words and deeds are controlled by our thoughts. We must learn to control...