Not all anger is sinful
From 1 Samuel: A 6-Week Devotional
We’ve all been angry. We’ve seen injustice, felt pain when wronged, and wanted to pinch the head off of something. We’ve seen red faces, clenched fists, and heard hateful words hurled by bullies. Sometimes, we are the bullies, and the hateful words come from our lips.
Anger is hurtful, but not all anger is sinful.
In 1 Samuel 11, fearfully, the people tell Saul that their enemies, the Ammonites, threatened to gouge out their right eyes. “When Saul heard their words, the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he burned with anger” (1 Samuel 11:6). The Spirit of God allowed him to feel the injustice and respond with appropriate intensity.
Righteous anger—what we see with injustice, hear from hate speech and feel when wounded—is not a sin. How we respond to those feelings can be.
How we handle anger will determine if our anger is righteous or sinful.
Ephesians 4:26-27 gives us a short anger management class: “In your anger do not sin; do not let the sun go down while you are still angry and do not give the devil a foothold.” So how do we experience anger without sinning?
- We must never hurt others (physically or with words), hurt ourselves, or break stuff. These actions make bad situations worse.
- Don’t hold onto anger. Get rid of physical anger safely. (Punch or scream into a pillow!) Release your pain to Jesus. Ask for forgiveness or forgive, and ask Jesus to give you strength to think before acting.
- Don’t let Satan use anger for harm. Trust Jesus. Don’t let Satan feed anger. Ask Jesus to let us see through His eyes, not our own. We can draw close to Him, as He draws close to us (James 4:8).
Saul “burned with anger.” But, he took steps to listen, evaluate, plan and then take action. How he handled his anger saved his people. How we handle anger will determine if our anger is righteous like Saul’s or has Satan’s label—sin.
- When do you feel the most anger? Is it with a person or a situation? How might you respond if you knew Jesus was with you in that moment?
- We don’t always have time to consider a situation logically or with compassion when we are hurt and become angry. What could you do now to prepare for your next angry moment?
If you feel you have anger that you are not able to handle or don’t understand, someone from our Care Team is available to help you. You can connect here, or come to the Care Room at your campus on Sunday.