Mike Novotny - Is Anger a Sin?
We hear that we shouldn't be angry; that anger isn't a fruit of the spirit. But aren't there some things we should be angry about? I.e., injustices against people who can't defend themselves or things done in God's name that contradict the Bible. Crazy timing. This came up three days ago. I was teaching a lesson on Jesus in our Bible 101 class and I was making the point that Jesus was perfect. So Hebrews 4:15 says, "Jesus has been tempted in all the ways you have, yet he did not sin".
One of the passages I quoted before, 2 Corinthians 5:21, "God made him who had no sin". So he never did anything wrong and I'm just going through this, Jesus was sinless but he died on the cross for our sins. And the person interrupted me in the class. He said, "Wait, what about that time Jesus flipped over the tables"? Ever heard that story? Jesus goes to church, can you imagine if he came and he just grabbed the Christmas tree and he smashed it into the screen and you would say, "Whoah, dude, that's not, that's not very loving. I thought you were supposed to be loving to people"? And the Bible's answer to that is this: That anger, in and of itself, is how God often feels.
Read the stories of the Israelites in the book of Exodus and Numbers and God will often be angry because anger is not a sin. In fact, I would claim to you that if you don't get angry at times in life about the things that happen to people in this world, then that itself is a sin. If my little girl was up front here and you came and spit in her face and you slapped her and I did not feel anger over that? How could I possibly be loving? If that didn't bother me when people were wronged and scarred and abused when we hear just horrific stories. Or if you've been through something horrific yourself, to think that God is just shrugging his shoulders saying, "Huh. That's okay, I'll work it out". No, God is a great dad and he burns with anger. But here's the fine line.
Have you ever noticed when you're angry, you do things that are sinful? Like, this happens to me all the time. When I hear these stories about like terrorists in Nigeria and they just abduct these girls and they force them into sex slavery and marriage, I get furious and angry and things come out of my mouth of what I hope happens to those people. Like, I should be angry about the injustice but, man, so often just like aggressive, vengeful stuff comes into my mind and my heart. And what the Bible says is that we should be angry when sin happens but we should leave it to God's justice in the end. That our anger shouldn't lead us back into vengeance.
And so if you're going through a divorce and, man, your soon-to-be ex is just treating you like garbage, there should be some anger in your heart but you have to take a deep breath and leave it to God to take care of that. He'll defend you. There will be a day of reckoning and justice and so we leave it just to him. There's this great passage to prove everything I'm saying in Ephesians, chapter 4. Actually, in the original Greek, it's a little bit stronger. The passage in your Bible should say something like this, Ephesians 4:26, It doesn't say don't be angry.
It says, In the original Greek, it actually says, "Be angry, but don't sin". So when something is just wrong, it's evil, and I love the examples that are given here: people can't defend themselves, children, things done in God's name. That just makes God puke in his mouth when someone stands up and they claim to represent him and they hurt people in a church. Be angry about that but don't sin. Stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves and then trust that one day, when Jesus comes back, he will make all things right.