What Is God’s Heart on Anger?
Forest rangers who care for and protect national parks occasionally say they have to “start a fire to stop a fire.” These backfires help deprive the main fire of fuel and better enable forest rangers and firefighters to contain the blaze. God can work for our good in much the same way. Anger, like fire, can be dangerous. If not kept in check, it can get out of control, damaging and destroying our lives and relationships. But just like fire, anger can be used for good purposes.
The Bible reveals the wisdom of God’s counsel on anger.
“To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.”
Anger is a God-given emotion. God Himself experiences anger.
“The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger,
abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and
forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin” (Exodus 34:6–7).
Anger itself is not a sin but what you do with it can lead to sin.
“In your anger do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26).
Anger can propel you to action—to correct an injustice.
“He [Jesus] looked around at them angrily and was deeply saddened by their hard hearts. Then he said to the man, ‘Hold out your hand.’ So the man held out his hand, and it was restored!” (Mark 3:5 nlt).
Anger can be learned behavior, so be careful whom you befriend.
“Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared” (Proverbs 22:24–25).
Anger can lead to abusive language.
“You must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips” (Colossians 3:8).
Anger can lead to fighting.
“An angry person starts fights; a hot-tempered person commits all kinds of sin” (Proverbs 29:22 nlt).
“Anger, like fire, can be dangerous. But just like fire, anger can be used for good purposes.”
God wants you to be slow to anger.
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (James 1:19–20).
God wants you to refrain from anger.
“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil” (Psalm 37:8).
God wants you to deal with your anger quickly.
“Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26).
God wants you to free yourself from anger.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice” (Ephesians 4:31).
God wants you to talk to Him about your anger.
“In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free” (Psalm 118:5 nlt).
God wants you to be saved through faith in Christ so you do not experience His anger.
“God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).