How to Be Angry Without Sinning – Part Three

Ephesians 4: 26, 27

Righteous indignation is a term for the feelings of Jesus when He cleansed  the temple. It was a strong displeasure over unrighteousness. Indignation means you become incensed. When it is vented toward sin it is righteous indignation and that is good.         

Jesus was moved by holy zeal. That is, He was zealous for the right thing to be done. That is the kind of anger we are to have. That is what the text means when it says, “Be angry and sin not.” 

If all anger were wrong the text would read: “Don’t be angry.”

Anger as an expression to personal injury is wrong.

As an expression of abhorrence of wrong in loyalty to the Lord it is right.

If all anger were wrong the text would read: “Don’t be angry.”

Another illustration of Jesus’ anger occurred at the death of Lazarus. The story is recorded in John 11: 17 – 45. How did Jesus react to the death of someone He loved?  “Jesus wept.”  (11: 35) It’s the shortest verse of the Bible. The expression means He cried deeply. He didn’t just get misty eyed… Jesus wept.

In the face of death, Jesus didn’t only cry. He had a second reaction, He got angry. Yes, Jesus got mad.  Jesus was “deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.” (11:33)  “Deeply moved” translates the Greek word embrimaomai. (Embre-my-o-my)

NLT translates it: “a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled.”

The Greek word used in the account is a metaphor which was used to depict the fury of a warhorse about to charge into battle. The steed rears up on his hind legs, snorts through its nostrils, an expression for fury, paws the air, and charges into the conflict. To snort in spirit was the strongest Greek word for anger. It is the word used of Jesus. Face to face with evil, in this premature death of His good friend, He is outraged. Why? Jesus was angry and troubled at the destruction and power of the great enemy of humanity: death. Jesus would soon break the dominating power of death. Evil is not normal. As the Creator Jesus made the world good, beautiful, full of life, joy, and justice. Evil despoiled these. 

About what was Jesus angry? Summarily His anger was at Satan for introducing evil into the world. He was angry over sin because it produced death. James 1:15 notes “…sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”

As with Jesus, be angry with sin and don’t sin in doing it.