September 07, 2011

Good Anger

Proverbs 29:8-11; Ephesians 4:26

[Jesus] looked around at them in anger … deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts.
Mark 3:5


I once read that anger is the emotion we most often experience. In a given week we won’t typically experience the full range of human emotions—but it seems that almost all of us will get angry about something. No wonder so many verses in the Bible speak about anger.

Anger isn’t necessarily a bad emotion. After all, we’re told that God himself gets angry. God becomes angry at injustice, at mistreatment of people and the rest of his creation, and ultimately at all sinful behavior (rebellion against him). But that is good anger. (And God is also merciful, longsuffering, and forgiving. See Psalm 103:8-18.)

Good, healthy anger is not opposite to love. Good anger is motivated by love and compassion, and it energizes you to deal with wrong things that threaten someone or something you care about. Good anger drives you to confront abuse, injustice, or disobedience that is hurting someone.

We need good anger because it gives us energy to fight for what is right and godly. In fact, that kind of energy is what helps me to follow Jesus, who got angry about some things too.

Sometimes I think we need more good anger if we are going to apply God’s way of wisdom in our world.

Lord, most of us get angry sometimes. But we confess that often we don’t get angry about some wrong things that need to be made right. Help us to fight the good fight, for wisdom’s sake. Amen.

About the author — Henry Kranenburg

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