Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Two Types of Anger

Angry people have been in the national news lately. I’m not talking about common annoyance; rather, I’m talking about passionate anger. I preached a sermon on anger a couple of Sundays ago. My text was Ephesians 4:26, 29, 31-32. The passage discusses two types of anger:

1. Good Anger – Righteous Indignation

Verse 26 is a direct quote from Psalm 4:4: “Be ye angry, and sin not.” (KJV) The Greek scholar A. T. Robertson called the construction in the verse a permissive imperative. The verse is not a command to be angry; rather, when we are angry for good reasons, we should carefully avoid sin. This type of anger is edifying (verse 29), and it desires justice. It is also temporary (verse 26) and doesn’t become a long-term obsession or grudge. God is described as being angry at times, so we can obviously be angry without sinning.

2. Bad Anger – Unrighteous Indignation

Verse 31 says that this type of sinful anger involves bitterness, malice, and evil speaking. It is a selfish type of anger, and it is not forgiving. I see more and more of this type of anger in America, especially involving public figures such as football coaches and pastors of megachurches. People seem to be obsessed in this regard. They accumulate ammunition (gossip) to use against people they hate, and they don’t stop to verify its accuracy. I am amazed at the number of churches that I have heard about recently that are torn with dissension. In most cases, at least in my neck of the woods, non-Christians are not pointing at churches and saying, “See how they love each other.”

When one reads Galatians 5:19-21, one can see quite a number of fleshly fruits that are connected with bad anger. Lord, please help us to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit instead of the fruits of the flesh.