Part 6: ANGER/WRATH
Anger / Wrath - A feeling of being very annoyed and wanting to fight back at a person or thing that hurts one or is against one; rage.
Holman's Bible Dictionary
. . . . Human wrath is always suspect. We are instructed by Paul not to take revenge (Rom. 12:19), nor to "let the sun go down on your anger" (Eph. 4:26 NRSV). Fathers should not provoke children to wrath (Eph. 6:4). We must rid ourselves of "all such things--anger, wrath, malice" (Col. 3:8 NRSV). The Old Testament psalms of lament such as Psalms 53; 137 show how humans can freely express their anger to God.
Psa 137:1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. 2 We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. 3 For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. 4 How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? 5 If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. 6 If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy. 7 Remember, O LORD, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Raze it, raze it, even to the foundation thereof. 8 O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. 9 Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.
To realize this freedom from the domination of wrath, the gracious work of the Holy Spirit is needed to sanctify and cleanse the heart of the attitudes and feelings of wrath and anger. Romans 8 pictures the mind filled by the Spirit which is "life and peace" (Rom. 8:6 NRSV). Such a spirit is no longer a slave of anger and wrath but is yielded "to righteousness for sanctification" (Rom. 6:19 NRSV). There is no need to continue in the fleshly spirit of wrath for the Holy Spirit provides inner peace (Phil. 4:4-8).
Some Admonitions To The Christian
Scripture admonishes the Christian in the following verses concerning anger:
Eph 4:31 KJV "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:"
The Anger Of Jesus
Jesus got righteously anger at times. In Mark 3 we read,
Mark 3:5 KJV "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."
What was the source of Jesus' anger? Grief. He had spoken to them over and over again, yet they did not hear nor understand. He healed wherever He went, yet they would not believe. He was grieved for that and that grief was released in anger, not because He didn't love them, but because He did. It came the point that Jesus had to return to the Father, and Israel still wouldn't listen or understand. Their temple came down, opening the way for Paul to say,
Rom 10:19 KJV "But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you."
Holman's Bible Dictionary
The Lord Knows How To Be Righteously Angry
WRATH, WRATH OF GOD The emotional response to perceived wrong and injustice, often translated "anger," "indignation," "vexation," and "irritation." Both humans and God express wrath.
A FINAL WORD
What needs to be added to this is a word about when we encounter someone who gets angry with us when we know what we are saying is right, and what we say is out of concern for them. When we do speak to someone about error, we can expect at least two reactions:
If one is presented with something that is not correct, there is no reason for an angry reaction because truth defends itself. What usually follows when a fact is presented and the person presenting a wrong is correct in their observation is accusations, blame and eventually a shutdown where the other person just stews in his anger. Sometimes they will just leave, muttering innuendos under their breathe. This is a typical escape mechanism from having to admit one's sin and avoid repentance.
James 1:20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
Sometimes the one in the right gets angry, but wrath and anger do not work righteousness, even when the person is correct. It is the Holy Spirit who works God's righteousness, and it is His working in that situation that brings repentance. But whether the person in the wrong repents or not, Paul said not to let the sun go down on our anger. We are to forsake it, and continue to pray for the person. Overall, it is better to ask the Holy Spirit to keep us from anger, and to remain calm in all situation with self-control. I do not mean to condone anger in the Christian.
Paul certainly wouldn't list getting angry as a qualification for Bishop, but said he said a Bishop should one who gets "not soon angry":
Titus 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; 9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.