God's Roadmap

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground (Psalm 143:10 NASB).

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Determining the Difference Between Godly Anger and Destructive Anger

by Barbara Latta

Anger can be destructive.
The airwaves reverberate with news accounts of killing rampages in schools, parking lots, movie theatres, and homes. Interviewed witnesses react in surprise at the actions of the
perpetrator because problems are not evident to citizens. Authorities overlook warning signs that could have averted a disaster. Anger simmering under the surface went unnoticed until it was too late.

In other cases, the violence is evident in a person’s life and deeds, but nothing is done to subvert the results.

Godly Anger

When Jesus cleansed the temple of the moneychangers by driving them out with a whip, He was angry at the way His Father’s house was being treated. Greed was the motive behind the selling of animals, not the requirement of the sacrificial law. His anger was justified because He was not thinking of Himself; He was honoring His father.  He knew the corrupt hearts of those doing the selling. When Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:26, “In your anger, do not
sin,” this is the type of anger he was talking about. We need to keep a holy anger against sin, but not against the sinner.

Anger at injustice is godly if the anger is diverted into a good cause to fight the wrong. MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, is an organization formed by parents who lost their children to drunk drivers. Rather than seek revenge, they sought to prevent others from experiencing the same hurt by making the public aware of the frequency of these tragedies and by seeking to keep intoxicated drivers off the road.

The Root

Whenever we feel anger it is because something inside us was triggered by an event or
Ungodly anger can grow into our soul.
spoken word which may have started out small, but over time escalates into volcanic reactions.

It’s hard to admit, but we become angry because something invaded self. Why is it such a
big deal to us when we get cut off in traffic? Because we are made less than valuable by a stranger who thought his or her right to our space on the pavement was theirs.  We feel unimportant and anger surges against the violator.

When children and youth are bullied at school they want vengeance against their tormentors. Crude comments and threats form feelings of unworthiness when they are compared to the offender. When the victim doesn’t value themselves, hurtful comments take root and become truth to their mind. Hurt people spend the rest of their lives becoming defensive as a way to protect from further pain. Angry outbursts and actions are the result.

The Solution

The solution is to recognize anger as a fruit growing from a deeper root and cut the connection off by knowing who we are in Christ.

If we know we are loved, and know we have been made worthy by the blood of Christ, then the root is not allowed to grow. Instead, the fruit of the Spirit can come out of us instead of the fruit of the flesh. The key here is to have divine revelation through spending time with the Father who loves us more than we can ever comprehend. The Holy Spirit teaches us
who we are in Christ and what our inheritance is. We are made valuable by the blood He shed and no matter how someone else treats us; another’s actions do not lessen our worth to Him.   Feelings of anger can still rise up, but learning we are not inadequate, unloved, or unworthy can override the emotions.

Peace comes when God controls us.
Realizing the actions of others are caused because they themselves do not feel valued can shine a new light on the situation. The responsibility of hurtful actions is not eliminated, but they can be understood. It is up to each one of us to become aware of our position in Christ and not determine our value by other’s opinions, treatment, or the circumstances of life.  But when we direct rage at someone because of what they did to us, it is really selfishness because we feel our rights have been violated in some way. The tragedies we hear about today happen because a seed of anger was allowed to grow in a person’s life for a period of time.

No matter how big or small the circumstance is, recognizing and replacing the source of anger with God’s opinion will disintegrate the root before it can grow.

“Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:9 NKJV).

What are some ways you can share that help to control the wrong kind of anger? Have you had an incidence where you have used godly anger to right a wrong? Share your thoughts.


  1. Your post is so timely. Today is the first day, in over a week, that I am not facing someone's anger. It may be a reprieve. This man may calm down. He may become more enraged. The temptation is to respond with anger and retaliate. Regardless of what comes, I am called to follow God's way. God has surrounded me with mercy. He has reminded me that I am called to follow Him. I continue to ask for prayers and wisdom, to seek God's counsel and His intervention, and be a witness that God's ways are not of this world. If I can make a choice to follow God's example, I can lead myself and my son toward true peace.

    1. Thanks, Lisa, for sharing those great insights for us all.

  2. Such a great post. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Thanks for reading and stopping by!