sin-shorter

Editors note: The purpose of this series is to help our readers understand what sin is, how serious sin is, and how great the grace of God, who offers redemption to sinners from sin and new life in Christ.

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Righteous anger flows from issues such as being sinned against, experiencing injustice, a righteous jealousy, or when God is being mocked. When Jesus chased the money changers out of the temple (John 2:12-16), He was driven by a righteous anger. The money changers were mocking God by turning God’s house into a den of robbers. In John 2:17, as the disciples pondered the motive behind Jesus’ anger we read, “Zeal for Your house will consume Me.” Jesus’ anger flowed from a righteous anger and His respect for God’s place of worship, God’s integrity, and His character.

Unrighteous anger flows from issues such as pride, selfishness, fear and anxiety, unrighteous jealousy, and unmet, self-centered expectations. We see an example of unrighteous anger in the life of King Saul. When the people of Israel were publicly praising David for his military conquests and were downplaying Saul’s accomplishments we read of Saul in I Samuel 18:8-9, “Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. ‘They have credited David with tens of thousands,’ he thought, ‘but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?’ And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.” Saul’s anger stemmed from his own pride, jealousy, and self-protection. Later we read how Saul even made numerous attempts on David’s life as a result of his fear, pride, and jealously. An example closer to home is if someone was to give you some gracious and honest feedback on some personal growth areas, and you became defensive and angry, even lashing out at that individual. In this instance, your anger is stemming from pride, self-preservation, and an unwillingness to look honestly at yourself or appear weak.

In dealing with your own personal anger, the first question you must honestly ask yourself is, “Is my anger a righteous anger or an unrighteous anger?” That is, “Is my anger founded in a God-centered direction, having God and His glory as the central issue and focus, or is my anger founded in a self-centered direction, having my own selfish desires and self-interests as center stage?” If your anger is of an unrighteous root, the answer is to repent of your selfishness, go before God and confess your unrighteous motives, and accept God’s incredible grace and forgiveness. In 1 John 1:9 we read, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” You will also need to humbly go and reconcile with those whom you have offended in your wave of anger. In addition, you may need to seek out the help of another to get at the root of your anger and free yourself from its repetitive and damaging grip.

If your anger is of a righteous root, the answer is still to go before God and seek His guidance and wisdom (largely through His Word) in how to handle your anger in a righteous manner. Remember that a righteous anger may become unrighteous by the way in which we handle the situation. You may also want to seek out the wisdom and guidance of mature individuals to help you stay the course in keeping a godly attitude and focus.

Let us be known for our hatred of sin and idolatry. We must not apply the whip to others, for we are not Christ, but let us apply it to our own lives. Let us be people so zealous, so overflowing, so burning, so full of him that nothing else can get in the way. Do you know what the effects of this will be? We will have reverence for God in our lives. People will see that our faith is real. Our faith will affect our worship wherever we are, and our own church will become a house of prayer for the nations. The grace of God will go forth. May God deliver us from idolatry- a lower concept of Him than we see in our awesome, transcendent, omnipotent, omniscient Lamb and Lion Jesus Christ.