Anger kills people, and yet it brings others to life. Anger leads people to light, but it also throws people into darkness. Anger breaks bones, sheds tears and rips families apart, but it can also protect bodies, change attitudes and heal families. In other words, anger is a two way street. It’s a tool that can either be used to build or destroy, or a tool that can either be used for good or for evil.
In the New Testament, Jesus seldom used anger to change lives, but when he did, he always used it to destroy evil so that good could be built in its place. And, in most cases, Jesus’ anger was directed toward the pharisees: the religious leaders. He was angry with the pharisees because they were hypocrites. Jesus came to free God’s children by freeing God in their lives, but the pharisees put God in a box and wanted to keep him there. When Jesus told them about freedom in God, they weren’t able to accept it as truth because they cared more about popularity, being right and their own egos than they cared about truth and love.
Because the pharisees cared so much about themselves and how they looked in front of others, they were more sensitive to criticism than regular people. In the case of the pharisees, they were hyper-sensitive to criticism, so hyper that in their anger they made sure the man, Jesus, who told them that they were wrong was put to death in the most painful way possible.
That’s, perhaps, the clearest example of good anger versus bad anger demonstrated in the Bible. God’s anger, good anger, comes from a place that isn’t selfish. God’s anger comes because something or someone is hurting everybody to the point of death, and he wants to change that. Bad anger, however, comes from selfishness. It comes from a place that only effects one person or one unit. It comes from a place that doesn’t want to look bad; it comes from a place that always has to be right even if that place is wrong. It comes from a place without faith.
Jesus was a humble man, thus God is a humble God. When people insulted him, he could have killed every last one of them, but he didn’t because he had no ego. In the Bible, there are stories that make God look bad on a superficial level, but those stories are there because God isn’t concerned about making himself look good on the surface. Doing what’s best for everybody is his concern, and without those stories–without those real-life events–his good message would have never been heard. Not only that, but without the works of God and his way of telling us about them, he would have never been able to get close to us.
Not enjoying, not liking and not encouraging evil is good, but teaching others how to better themselves and free themselves in God with love, patience and humbleness is even better. What isn’t good is constantly getting angry with people. Constantly beating people over the head because of the things they do wrong or how they look or dress or talk or what style they find appealing isn’t good.
Anger is one of God’s last resorts to changing lives. Scripture says that God is “…slow to anger, abounding in love” (Psalm 103:8). Scripture also says that “His anger lasts only a moment” (Psalm 30:5). Remember, God’s anger is good, so anything that is opposite of God’s anger is bad. The opposite of God’s anger reads as follows: “fast to anger, abounding in hate,” and “His anger lasts for long periods of time.”