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Keywords: The Bible Condemns Human Anger In All Its Forms Jesus Christ Christian We Should Transform Our Anger Into Sorrow.

The Bible Condemns Human Anger In All Its Forms

By Rev. Bill McGinnis, Director - Internet Church Of Christ - LoveAllPeople.org
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THE BIBLE OVERWHELMINGLY CONDEMNS HUMAN ANGER IN ALL ITS FORMS.

The Bible Condemns Human Anger In All Its Forms.
We Should Transform Our Anger Into Sorrow.

       "Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;" (Psalms 37:8a KJV)

Those people who teach that we should sometimes be "righteously angry" are 100% wrong. This teaching is perhaps the greatest error in Christian thought. Anger, like judgment, is reserved for God alone.

Nowhere in the Bible are we instructed to be angry with anybody or anything. On the contrary, Scripture overwhelmingly teaches against human anger and wrath in all its forms.


           List Of All Scriptures Which Advise Us About Human 
                      Anger And Wrath

                                   "Anger"
       Psalms 37:8
       Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise
       to do evil.
       Proverbs 15:18
       A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger
       appeaseth strife.
       Proverbs 16:32
       He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that
       ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
       Proverbs 27:4
       Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand
       before envy?
       Ecclesiastes 7:9
       Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the
       bosom of fools.
       Ephesians 4:31
       Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil
       speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
       Colossians 3:8
       But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice,
       blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
       Colossians 3:21
       Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be
       discouraged.

                                 "Angry"

       Proverbs 14:17
       He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked
       devices is hated.
       Proverbs 22:24
       Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou
       shalt not go:
       Proverbs 29:22
       An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in
       transgression.
       Ecclesiastes 7:9
       Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the
       bosom of fools.
       Matthew 5:22
       But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother
       without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever
       shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council:
       but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell
       fire.
             NOTE: All modern translations I can find, from the
             American Standard Version (1901) on, except the
             New King James Version, omit the words "without
             a cause." This means that whoever is angry with his
             brother (for any reason) is in danger of judgment.
             The words "without a cause" seem to be a clerical
             addition somewhere along the way in the Textus
             Receptus, which is the basis for the King James and
             the New King James versions. We certainly have a
             good reason to hate our enemies, yet Jesus tells
             us not to hate them, but to love them (Matthew
             5:44). So whom, then, should we hate, if not our
             enemies? Nobody! And that is the point. Neither
             should we be angry with them, for any reason.
            
       Ephesians 4:26
       Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
             (SEE EXPLANATION OF THIS VERSE, BELOW)
       Titus 1:7 
       For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not
       selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not
       given to filthy lucre;

                        "Wrath"
       Job 5:2
       For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.
       Job 19:29
       Be ye afraid of the sword: for wrath bringeth the punishments of
       the sword, that ye may know there is a judgment.
       Job 36:13
       But the hypocrites in heart heap up wrath: they cry not when he
       bindeth them.
       Psalms 2:12
       Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when
       his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put
       their trust in him.
       Psalms 37:8
       Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise
       to do evil.
       Proverbs 12:16
       A fool's wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth
       shame.
       Proverbs 14:29
       He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is
       hasty of spirit exalteth folly.
       Proverbs 19:19
       A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: for if thou deliver
       him, yet thou must do it again.
       Proverbs 21:24
       Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath.
       Proverbs 27:3
       A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool's wrath is
       heavier than them both.
       Proverbs 27:4
       Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand
       before envy?
       Proverbs 29:8
       Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise men turn away
       wrath.
       Proverbs 30:33
       Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the
       wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath
       bringeth forth strife.
       Romans 2:8
       But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but
       obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
       Romans 12:19
       Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto
       wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith
       the Lord.
       Romans 13:5
       Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also
       for conscience sake.
       Galatians 5:20
       Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife,
       seditions, heresies,
       Ephesians 4:26
       Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
           (SEE EXPLANATION OF THIS VERSE, BELOW)
       Ephesians 4:31
       Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil
       speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
       Colossians 3:8
       But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice,
       blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
       1 Thessalonians 5:9
       For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by
       our Lord Jesus Christ,
       1 Timothy 2:8
       I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands,
       without wrath and doubting.
       James 1:19
       Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear,
       slow to speak, slow to wrath:
       James 1:20
       For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.


WHAT ABOUT EPHESIANS 4:26 AND PSALMS 4:4?

Some people will cite Ephesians 4:26, and Psalms 4:4 as two Scriptures which (in some translations) appear to authorize us to be angry under some conditions. Some translations consider Ephesians 4:26a to be a direct quotation from Psalms 4:4a. Others make no connection between the two verses.

Most major Bible translations render Ephesians 4:26 something like this:

        "Be angry, but do not sin. Do not let the sun set
         on your wrath."
This follows the translation of the Latin Vulgate

       Original Greek, Spelled Out In Roman Letters
               ORGIZESTHE KAI ME AMARTANETE

      Jerome's Translation Into Latin
              irascimini et nolite peccare

      Typical New Translation
              Be angry, but do not sin
            
This translation may appear to say that anger is encouraged, so long as you do not sin; but this is an incorrect understanding of the meaning of the words.

The more correct meaning of Ephesians 4:26 is this, as the NIV has it:

                 ------------------------------------------------
                "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go
                 down while you are still angry
                 ------------------------------------------------

Several other translations agree with the NIV. The Amplified Bible has it right: "When angry, do not sin;" The Williams translation has it right: "If you do get angry, you must stop sinning in your anger." Also the New English Bible has it right: "If you are angry, do not let anger lead you into sin." The New Living Translation improvises, but in the right direction: "And don't sin by letting anger gain control over you."

All of these agree that Paul is NOT teaching us to be angry. Rather he is recognizing the fact that we sometimes do get angry. (Anger is one of our human weaknesses.) And think, Christians, think! Why would Paul suddenly endorse anger here, when he condemns it consistently elsewhere?

Also, it doesn't make any sense at all to say "Be angry, but don't sin," and then to say, "But don't be angry any longer than sunset." If anger is acceptable to God, then what difference does it make if we are angry overnight or for a long period of time?

Regarding Psalms 4:4, there are some translations which do say, "Be angry, but do not sin." But other translations are completely different, having nothing at all to do with anger.

                          Psalms 4:4

             KJV
                    Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own
                    heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
             RSV
                    Be angry, but sin not; commune with your own hearts
                    on your beds, and be silent. [Selah]
             NASB
                    Tremble, and do not sin; meditate in your heart
                    upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
             NIV
                    In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds,
                    search your hearts and be silent.
         _____________________________________________________________

Once again, just as in Ephesians 4:26, even if it does say, "Be angry, but do not sin," that is NOT an instruction for us to be angry. Rather it simply recognizes our human weakness regarding anger. It is a concession, not an instruction. Furthermore, why would David tell us to "be angry" in Psalms 4:4, and then contradict himself in Psalms 37:8 which says, "Cease from anger and forsake wrath?"

It is not clear that Ephesians 4:26 is even quoting Psalms 4:4. The original Greek has no quotation marks, so it is always speculation when a modern translation inserts quotation marks where the translator thinks they should have been placed!

BUT DIDN'T JESUS, HIMSELF, SOMETIMES GET ANGRY?

Yes, Jesus became angry one time (Mark 3:5), maybe twice, if you include the episode with the moneychangers in the temple. But He's allowed to be angry. He is God. We are not. Was He angry when He was unjustly beaten and nailed to a cross to die? No, He was not.

Yes, Moses became angry. And once, his anger led him to murder, which is exactly what can happen when we are angry. His anger was a flaw, not a virtue.

On balance, Scripture speaks out even more strongly against anger than it does against sexual immorality. So if you allow yourself to become angry, you do so at your own peril! Similarly, if you preach against sexual immorality, you should preach even more strongly against anger. (All finger pointers, please take note. You know who you are.)

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE SAYING, "LOVE THE SINNER, HATE THE SIN?"

There is a saying, "Love the sinner, hate the sin." If we are supposed to "hate the sin," then shouldn't we become angry against it?

First, we need to understand that "Love the sinner, hate the sin" is not Scriptural. It is a doctrine of man, first formulated by St. Augustine and later affirmed by Martin Luther. So it got into Catholic teaching and then was transferred intact into Protestantism. But it never was based on Scripture, and it never was true. Sorry. Nowhere does the Bible instruct us to "hate" sin. Search it yourself, in any Bible version you choose. It's not in there!

We are instructed to "turn away" from sin and be repelled by it. We are instructed to detest sin and abhor it. We are instructed to flee from sin. But we are never instructed to hate sin or become angry because of it.

The danger in "hating the sin" is that we usually begin to hate the sinner, as well. It is very difficult to separate the two in practice. In fact, hatred itself is specifically condemned as a "work of the flesh," no matter whom or what the object of the hatred may be. Those who have hatred in their heart cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.

         GALATIANS 5:19-21 (KJV)
       
         _____________________________________________________________
       
        19
               Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these;
               Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
        20
               Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath,
               strife, seditions, heresies,
        21
               Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like:
               of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in
               time past, that they which do such things shall not
               inherit the kingdom of God.
         _____________________________________________________________
      
 
Jesus gives us an example of another way for us to respond to sin: sorrow, not anger or hatred. As He approached Jerusalem for the last time, He knew the sins of the people and the destruction that would come to them later, at the hands of the Romans. What was His reaction? He wept for them!

        LUKE 19:41-44 (KJV)
        41
               And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept
               over it,
        42
               Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this
               thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now
               they are hid from thine eyes.
        43
               For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies
               shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round,
               and keep thee in on every side,
        44
               And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children
               within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone
               upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy
               visitation.

So don't let yourself become angry about anything, ever, because THE BIBLE OVERWHELMINGLY CONDEMNS HUMAN ANGER IN ALL ITS FORMS.

Anger is the exact opposite of love, and to love is what we are commanded to do.

         _____________________________________________________________
       
       For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, "You shall love your
       neighbor as yourself." (Galatians 5:14 RSV)
         _____________________________________________________________
       

Blessings to you in Jesus Christ our Lord,

Rev. Bill McGinnis <><

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     Rev. Bill McGinnis  <><
     bmcgin@patriot.net
     

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