Evidence for Good Anger
How can we be sure there’s such a thing as good anger?
First the Bible says, “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity” (Eph. 4:26-27).
The phrase “be angry” is one that many people don’t expect to find in the Bible. The apostle Paul, who wrote these words to the Ephesians, knew that anger is an inevitable part of life. But he’s not merely acknowledging the inevitable. Paul is stating that it’s entirely acceptable—perhaps even desirable—for a person to feel anger. But it must be aimed at godly goals. The apostle clearly recognized that not all anger is related to negative or sinful expression and that some anger can be good.
Second, the Bible has nearly 500 references to anger. In 350 of those instances, the one who is angry is God.
If our heavenly Father gets angry, then there must be good anger, because God doesn’t sin.
So what did the Lord get angry about?
Repeatedly, He told His people they were not to worship idols (Lev. 26:1). God made it very clear to the Hebrews that they were His chosen people (Deut. 14:2). He expressed His love for them repeatedly and was jealous for their sole affection and worship. The Lord had protected and provided for His people, and He longed for their willful obedience so that He might bless them even more. The truth is God neither winks at nor overlooks sin. The Father sees our sin, and because He’s holy and righteous, He can’t reward or bless those who are sinful. He knows that sin puts people in bondage, leading to suffering and death. God longs to free His people from that bondage and put them on a path to life at its very best.
For these reasons, the Lord was strong in His commands to the people regarding their fidelity and loyalty to Him. Some of the angriest words from God are against those who disobey His command against idolatry (Ez. 36:18).
Throughout the Bible, our heavenly Father is most angry not at specific individuals but at situations and behaviors that affect His kingdom on earth and His plan for the redemption of mankind. God was, is, and always will be angry at sin. But He loves each of us individually and longs to free His children from the bondage of sin.