Is there such a thing as “good anger”? Yes, Jesus showed us an anger that was a holy response to sin when He was angry with the religious leaders for their uncaring attitudes toward a sick man (Mark 3:5). The Bible tells us that the right kind of anger is okay, but it points out that it is important to handle our anger quickly and not let it linger, giving the devil an opportunity for us to sin (Ephesians 4:26).
Unfortunately, most of our anger is not righteous but results from pride, selfishness, and hurt feelings. When we don’t get what we want, we get mad and sin by expressing our anger in harmful verbal and physical ways.
Anger is not anything new. The first son of Adam and Eve, Cain, was confronted by God for his anger. Why was Cain angry? Because God had no regard for his sacrifice, while his brother Abel’s sacrifice was accepted. God told Cain that his anger was a “sin” which “lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it” (see Genesis 4:5-7). Rather than mastering his anger, Cain unleashed it and murdered his brother Abel.
How can we master the kind of anger that is sinful? Understand that no one is immune from anger, and anger is always “crouching at the door.” Realize that anger cannot master you if it isn’t there, so ask God for His help in not giving in to anger in the first place. And when anger does show its ugly head, acknowledge your anger to God and confess it as sin. Follow David’s example: “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord… .” Then accept God’s forgiveness: “… and You forgave the iniquity of my sin” (Psalm 32:5).
Righteous Father, Your Word says to be angry and do not sin, and to not let the sun go down on my wrath. I acknowledge that most often my anger is not a godly, righteous anger. It is a sinful display of my utter need for Jesus’ continued work in my life. I ask that Your Holy Spirit work in me to help curb my wrath and anger and to manifest Your love, patience, and self-control. Then I will honor You as I live according to Your standards and show the world Your transforming grace in my life through Jesus Christ. Amen.
Prayers for a Woman’s Heart (BRAND NEW!) is filled with this and other devotions and prayers to help you grow in wisdom, patience, and peace!
How often do I unrighteously lose my temper—at other drivers, my children, co-workers, or my spouse? Next time, I will pause and pray for grace and patience.
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” (James 1:19)