Determining whether our anger is sinful or not depends on the answers to this question: “Why am I angry?” If you can pinpoint the reasons for your anger, you can determine if your anger is righteous or sinful. When you determine the motivation for your anger, you will be able to know if God is pleased with your anger or not pleased with your anger. For example…
- Our anger is sinful when there is no reason for it. Some people get angry for no reason. This is the “I got up on the wrong side of the bed” syndrome.
- Our anger is sinful when it is directed at the person and not their sin. When we convince ourselves we are the final judge and jury for someone, we are sinning in our anger.
- Our anger is sinful when it is vengeful. When we attempt to steal the right of God to show vengeance, we are unrighteously anger (Romans 12:19).
- Our anger is sinful when it is cherished. If we love getting angry for anger’s sake, this is not a righteous anger. Anger should not be habitual.
- Our anger is sinful when it is accompanied with unforgiveness. Maybe we have been deeply wronged in the past and the sin was legitimate, and the pain was real. But when we sinfully respond without forgiveness, we are sinfully angry.
- Our anger is sinful when we are quick to emote it. When we live contrary to James’ instruction to be slow to anger (James 1:19), we aren’t emoting a righteous anger. If God is slow to anger, we should be too.
- Our anger is sinful when pride drives it (Proverbs 13:10). When we believe our life should go a certain way and other people should think the way we think, that is a recipe for sinful anger.
- Our anger is sinful when we react without knowing all the facts. There are times when we think we know everything that has occurred, and it displeases us, and then we get upset about it.
These forms of anger are not the forms of anger that produce the righteousness of God (James 1:20). It is always best to curb our anger, calm down, replace anger with something else, and practice self-control (Proverbs 16:32; 29:11).