Getting Angry Like Jesus

Is it ever okay to be angry? Is anger always a sin? Is there such a thing as righteous anger?

Too often we’re advised by well-meaning folks that a Christian should never get angry. But is that really true?

In yesterday’s blog post, we wrote about Jesus healing the man with the withered hand. The Pharisees were intently watching Jesus to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. They were looking for an opportunity to bring an accusation against Jesus.

Knowing their hearts, He asked, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?”

Mark says, “they kept silent.”

Then he records that Jesus “looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts” (Mk. 3:5).

Too often we see Jesus as someone so meek and mild that He never raised his voice, displayed any anger, or expressed any outrage toward others. The politically-correct picture of Jesus as someone always smiling and never offending anyone is incorrect.

Jesus wasn’t smiling when he discerned the corrupt motives of the religious leaders. Their hardened, stubborn, callous hearts upset and grieved Him. He was angry.

We can learn some valuable lessons from the anger of Jesus.

1. It’s possible to be angry, and not sin.

“Be angry and do not sin;” Paul penned. “Do not let the sun go down on your anger” (Eph 4:26).

The sinless Son of God proves this is so. What about the two separate occasions when Jesus entered the temple and saw the greed and extortion of the money changers? He turned over tables. Released the animals. And drove them out hurling a whip. “Take these things away!” Jesus bellowed. “Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” (Jn 2:14-16). The second time He cleansed the temple he accused them of turning the temple from a “house of prayer” to “a den of thieves.”

(2) Jesus’ anger was properly directed.

Too often our anger is aimed at the wrong things. Traffic jams on the interstate. Slow service in a fast-food restaurant. Waiting in a long line. Being put on hold during a phone call. The annoying habits of other people. Or our favorite sports team losing a ball game. This kind of anger is selfish, shallow and superficial.

Jesus’ anger was directed toward sin. Hypocrisy. Greed. Stubbornness. Pride. Pretense. Injustice. Luke-warm living. These are the issues that upset Jesus and toward which He expressed His greatest displeasure.

Where’s our anger regarding the things that disturbed Jesus? Are we grieved over wrong attitudes? Unrighteous living? And ungodly motives?

(3) Jesus’ anger was an expression of His Father’s feelings.

It’s a fact that “God is angry with the wicked every day” (Ps 7:11). Numerous times in the Old Testament we read of Jehovah’s anger toward the sins of heathen idolaters, as well as his own people, Israel.

Righteous anger is real. When our anger is motivated by godliness and truth it’s a good thing. John Wesley once said: “Give me a hundred men who fear nothing but God, and who hate nothing but sin, and who know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and I will shake the world.”

Do we hate sin? Are we are upset by wickedness? Are we angry over corruption, abortion, and immorality?

Author and historian, Bede Jarrett was right when he wrote: “The world needs anger. The world often continues to allow evil because it isn’t angry enough.”

(4) Jesus’ anger was under control.

Jesus never sinned in his anger. He didn’t allow his emotional indignation to degenerate into bitterness, uncontrolled temper-tantrums, or irrational outbursts.

What about you and me? Too often our anger is not only directed toward insignificant issues but even when correctly aimed, it may be expressed in an ungodly manner. Hurling ugly epitaphs, name-calling, and insulting, demeaning language whether verbally or on a facebook post is not the spirit of Christ.

(5) Jesus’ anger was tempered by love.

Anger and love may seem like incapable emotions. But Jesus knew about “tough love” before Dobson ever wrote the book. God is love. And Jesus’ vicarious, selfless sacrifice is the supreme expression of divine love. It has been said in various ways that “God loves us the way we are, but He loves us too much to stay that way.”

In our anger toward sin, may we always clearly demonstrate love toward the sinner.

There’s plenty today to make you angry. Just be sure you’re angry like Jesus.

“Be angry. And sin not.”

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

4 Comments

Filed under Anger, Uncategorized

4 responses to “Getting Angry Like Jesus

  1. Brearry

    Amen, Brother Ken!

    I’ve said all along that if the millions of Christians had joined millions of non-Christians in protesting homosexual marriage years ago, it would have *never* have became a disgraceful law of this nation!

    But with my church family, as I’m sure with most other churches, everyone just moaned & groaned about how awful the country in, wring their hands, sit on the tuchus’, and did nothing! Prayer is the greatest tool we have from God, and we should be using to change the hearts of man, not just feel happy that we shoot off a brief prayer. Sad…

    I may not write you a note of encouragement often, and I apologize for that, but I do so greatly enjoy your blog. Thank you for your love of God’s Word and sharing your thoughts with us…

    Brenda Reymann

  2. Brenda. Homosexual marriage is here to stay. It angers and upsets many people. Many see homosexuality as a sacrilege. The reason homosexual marriage is here is not because not enough people protested. As a member of an affirming congregation, I have listened to many sad stories of how gay and lesbian people have suffered in Christian congregations that told them how much they loved them and then set about to set them straight.

    Many conservative churches take the stand that homosexuality is a choice and a sin. They say, homosexuals should abstain from sexual intercourse and sublimate their desire for intimacy through good works and prayer. Or…they should pray and let God transform them and turn them into “straight” people.

    For the record, I am a straight woman. I am a divorcee and a widow. I know how sweet and wonderful it is to be “nailed,” firmly attached to someone you love with your whole heart and mind. I know the agony, the anger, and the pain that comes when your loved one does not affirm you…get behind you…or is taken from you. I also know how important a “good” covenant is. Marriage provides for the widow or widower or the divorcee in the case of marital breakdown through an unforeseen death or marriage breakdown.

    In John’s Gospel, people were flocking to John the Baptist. They saw John as the Teacher of Israel. And some therefore saw him as the Christ, the One the prophets had foretold. John sets them straight. He says, I am not Him. “The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom stands and listens for him [his covenantal pledge], and is overjoyed to hear the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete” (John 3:29).

    For many Christians, extending the wonderful covenantal privilege to homosexual couples is a joy! This doesn’t make Christ homosexual. Christ was and is the Bride who belongs to the Bridegroom…even though she and John were friends–and their friendship got John’s head put on a silver plate as if he was the anointed Apollo–the Greek God of Prophecy!

  3. Ken, to be angry and not sin is possible. I’m happy you affirmed Paul’s idea. I am worried about your promotion of Jesus as “sinless”. I know Scripture and Christian teaching affirm Jesus as “sinless”. However, the definition of sin has divided Christians. So perhaps you can write a blog and explain how the Roman Catholics, the Orthodox and the Protestants see Sin and how Jesus and the Cross redeem sinners and make Peace the restoration of Creation possible.

  4. Philip North

    Well written, Brother Ken! He who says that ALL anger is sinfully is dodging Biblical reality. Hence, that individual
    has either not investigated the Bible thoroughly on the subject of anger, or else has disregarded what has been investigated on anger. I have taught a class on tbis twice in the past, and will take the subject of anger to public debate, if necessary, to prove by God’s Word that, again, not all anger is sinful. Have a great 2020!

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