Righteous anger is spoken of in the Bible; however, not many people are aware of this type of anger. Righteous anger is when a person becomes angry because somebody says something offensive about God.
This type of anger is different from normal anger. Normal anger outside of righteous anger can stem from many different things, including our own sin or pride. Righteous anger as displayed in the Bible is radically different from the anger that we are accustomed to in our daily lives.
What Is Righteous Anger?
Normal anger that we are accustomed to is normally rooted in our self, pride, and sin. This type of anger is manifested when someone cuts us off while driving, the employee is taking too long bringing our meal at our favorite fast-food restaurant, or somebody criticizes us for something we did wrong.
This type of anger is not justified because it is rooted in sin. Righteous anger, on the other hand, is drastically different. As stated by Christian writer, Hope Bolinger, “Righteous anger stems from love because it recognizes that someone’s actions or words stray from the path of righteousness.”
Righteous anger is rooted in a deep love for God and for others. This type of anger is justified before the Lord. If we have righteous anger because of someone slandering God’s Name, our anger is justified.
However, if we grow angry because someone did not like the hymn we sang for the Christmas Eve service, then it is not justified. If God’s Name is being profaned, then as a believer, it is permissible to have righteous anger. Jesus demonstrated righteous anger when He cleared out the money changers in the Temple (Matthew 21:12-13).
The Lord was so angry that He flipped over the tables and drove all the people out of the Temple. He declared to the people, “‘It is written,’ he said to them, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers’” (Matthew 21:13). Christ displayed righteous anger because they had turned His Father’s House into a market.
The money changers did not have any respect for God. Instead of loving God and worshipping Him in the Temple, the people had turned the Temple into a place to sell products in order to gain monetary gain. As we can see as modern readers, we can understand why the Lord was angry.
This was not anger rooted in sin, but rather, righteous anger because Jesus’ heart was pure, and He never sinned during His life. This was not the only example of righteous anger shown during the earthly life of Christ on the earth.
He also displayed righteous anger because of the Pharisees' hypocrisy. The Pharisees were trying to condemn Jesus for healing the sick on the Sabbath as the Pharisees believed it was unlawful and unholy to do anything on the Sabbath (Mark 3:1-5).
Knowing the Pharisees' wicked hearts, He charges them with a question, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” (Mark 3:4). Instead of answering, the Pharisees remain silent and do not say a word in reply to Jesus’ question (Mark 3:4b).
After Jesus sees the Pharisees' stubborn hearts, righteous anger rises inside of His bones. Mark 3:5 says, “He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.”
In this instance, Jesus displayed righteous anger. His anger was not rooted in pride, hatred, or sin. Jesus’ righteous anger was rooted in love for His Father and love for the man with the shriveled hand.
God’s Righteous Anger in the Old Testament
Many people believe God was only ever extremely angry in the Old Testament; however, God actually extends great love in addition to His righteous anger. In the Old Testament, God grew angry because His chosen people chose to reject Him and worship false gods (Exodus 32:10; Judges 2:13-14).
The Lord also grew angry with the people because they were oppressing the downcast, including widows and orphans (Exodus 22:21-24). He also grew angry when the Israelites complained against Him (Exodus 11:1-10).
In all of these circumstances, God’s anger was righteous. God did not sin by being angry because His anger was always righteous and was always justified. God grew angry in His righteous anger due to the people’s rebellion, disobedience, and complaining.
Righteous anger in the Bible was also displayed by several human men, such as Moses. Moses displayed righteous anger when he returned from being on the mountain with God. While Moses was away with God receiving instructions for the Ten Commandments, Aaron and the Israelites had crafted a golden calf and were worshipping it.
In righteous anger, Moses threw the Tablets down on the ground (Exodus 32:1-20). This was righteous anger because the Israelites were participating in idolatry and profaning the Name of the Lord. God had just brought the Israelites out of torment and enslavement in Egypt, yet they were worshipping the golden calf as if it was God.
In the same way, another person who displayed righteous anger was David when he heard of Goliath’s hateful words against the true God of Israel (1 Samuel 17). David displayed righteous anger because Goliath was making a variety of hateful comments aimed at the true God of Israel.
Growing angry, David says to Goliath, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied” (1 Samuel 17:45). David was declared a man after God’s own heart, which is why David grew angry when Goliath was saying wicked things about God.
Righteous Anger Today
Just like Moses and David, we too can have righteous anger. As previously mentioned, righteous anger is rooted in a deep love for God and for others. Righteous anger boils in our veins when somebody blasphemies the Name of the Lord. A modern-day example of this is if a person grows angry because a Mormon or a Jehovah’s Witness claims they are a true Christian.
This type of anger can be classified as righteous anger because it is rooted in a deep love for God. Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe in the same God we believe in, nor do they see Jesus as God.
Streamline culture advocates Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses are Christians; however, they are not. Each of these belief systems is a cult since they both hold erroneous views of Jesus’ divinity, salvation, and the content of the Bible.
Another example is if someone grows angry because their church is accepting and endorsing same-sex marriage. This is righteous anger because same-sex marriage goes against God’s commands (Leviticus 18:22). Marriage is strictly between one man and one woman (2 Corinthians 6:14).
If a person’s church was accepting and endorsing this type of sin, it is reasonable for a person to have righteous anger. However, righteous anger does not entail you hate the person suffering from homosexuality. Christians are not to hate anyone as we all struggle with a myriad of sins in our daily life.
God commands us to love all people (John 13:35). Righteous anger can arise because God’s Name and teachings are being blasphemed. Therefore, righteous anger is displayed throughout the Bible and can still be felt by believers in the present day.
It is rooted in love for God and for others. Regular anger we feel is not the same as righteous anger. Righteous anger arises in us because God’s Name is being blasphemed and the teachings of the Bible are being ridiculed.
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Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.
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