It is not a sin to get angry. Jesus Himself, got upset in Matthew 21:12-13 when He saw the people buying and selling in the temple and extorting money from each other. His anger was permissible as it was because of the disrespect the people had towards God. However, in all of this, He managed the anger well. So, it’s safe to say that in Christianity, anger is permitted but the problem begins when the anger is mismanaged.
I’d like to start this post by giving a little background information on what anger does to you, health-wise. Many health challenges are triggered by anger. Depending on the intensity of the anger, a person could pass out, get a heart attack, suffer from a high blood pressure or even complicate other underlying health issues by being given to anger. Getting angry causes your blood vessels to widen and so more blood is being circulated which means the heart works more. Therefore, the longer you stay angry, the quicker you get angry, the more frequent your anger is, the more intense your anger is, the more you put yourself at risk of ill-health.
Have you ever gotten so angry that after that anger sizzles down, you replay your actions during that period of anger and you give yourself a face palm? “Anger blinds words” and really, it does. In the period of anger, many people have severed their relationships with loved ones, many have misspoken and some even take it further by committing crimes. Little wonder why the English people use the expression “mad” as a synonym to anger. Most times, we do things and say things that we can never say in our right state minds, when we are angry.
Now that we have evaluated the health-wise and physical effect of anger, we have to evaluate biblical view of anger. The bible lets us know that anger lies in the bosom of a fool (Ecclesiastes 7:9). That is, wherever you see an angry man, you are most likely looking at a fool. After the earlier analysis of what anger does to a person, I couldn’t agree less with the bible on this.
Back to the story of Jesus’ anger, we have agreed on the fact that His anger was justified but if you also study that portion well, you would see that even at that, His anger was not a persisting one, neither did it result into something bad. The bible tells us that anger is permissible so long as it does not result into sin (Ephesians 4:26). But because anger is easy to lose control over, we are advised to stay away from it as much as possible (Psalm 37:8). Here are a few people in the Bible, whose improperly managed anger cost them too much.
Moses had been used by God to deliver the children of Israel from the hands of Pharaoh. For several years, he had led them through the wilderness towards the promised land. This was a journey that should have taken a little over a month, 40 days, but was taking them years all because of the rebellious attitude of the Israelites. Moses knew this and seeing the Israelites continue to act rebelliously could have made just anyone get furious. Their complaints were very frustrating and so when God asked that Moses speak to the rock and it bring out water, he hit it twice instead, because at that moment, he was angry. The Israelites were actually very frustrating but Moses’ mismanaged anger caused him to be excluded from those who would eventually get to the promised land. He let his anger grow into disobedience towards God and he paid the price by forfeiting the promised land. (Numbers 20:10-13 AMP; Deuteronomy 32:51-52)
In the same old testament, but Genesis this time around, we read of a horrific happening. Jacob’s daughter, Dinah, was raped by a Prince. Though the prince truly loved her and wanted to marry her, we know there are better ways of going about that than raping the woman. As if that wasn’t upsetting enough, Jacob had been somewhat indifferent about it. The bible does not give us details as to why. This was enough to get Dinah’s full brothers angry. However, they did not manage their anger well and they ended up doing something greatly evil. They tricked the Prince, Shechem into thinking that they would marry their sister off to him but used that as avenue to wipe out every single male Shechemite. They killed all the males of that region and took all the children and women as captives. A very terrible thing to do. When Jacob was about to die and was pronouncing his final blessings on all his children, he couldn’t bless Dinah’s brothers. He placed a curse on them instead. Had it been that they had managed their anger well and prevented it from generating into a sin as gruesomely evil as the one they committed by reporting to the right authorities or something, they could have saved themselves the embarrassment of being the only ones who were not blessed by their father. Their anger cost them a lot and if not that Jacob advised that they quickly leave the city, the allies of the Shechemites could have found out and destroyed them all. (Genesis 34:1-31 AMP; Genesis 49:5-7 AMP)
Anger is a natural human emotion and sometimes we find ourselves in situations that cause us to get angry. As Christians, using the word of God to guide our hearts at all times would help manage that anger properly. The bible also tells us to flee from appearances of evil. Any situation that could lead you to negative anger is an appearance of evil. Avoid such situations. Anger is only permissible when it does not lead to sin and is well managed.