There is a loving anger.
8 The LORD is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love. (NIV)
The God of love is slow to anger. Love and anger can co-exist when the anger is loving.
The anger of God is a stumbling block to many people. The anger of God, especially in the Old Testament, has caused many to question the love of God. In anger, God struck down other nations. God’s anger burns and death often follows. How can we reconcile the love of God with the anger of God?
The Bible teaches us not to sin in our anger. Clearly then anger is not constitutionally sinful. There is a loving anger working for change that benefits the other.
Anger is the emotion instinctually in us bringing awareness of the need for change. In our inmost place, we know that if the situation before us remains as it is, it will hurt, damage, destroy, or kill. Something has to change. The difference between sinful anger and loving anger is found in our desire. If our desire is selfish, our anger will force change that is either self-gratifying or self-protecting. On the other hand, if our desires are loving, anger will force change that protects and benefits others first.
Outside of immediate extreme danger, our anger should be directed toward change that benefits the other.
Sinful anger is expressed in selfishness because we have been hurt. Loving anger expresses anger to help the other move away from destructive behavior that will kill their relationships. Sinful anger burns against sinners in judgment to absolve one from their own sin. Loving anger burns against that thing facilitating sinful behavior that will cause harm. Sinful anger burns when someone has hurt us deeply. Loving anger burns out of love for that person that they would abandon behavior destructive to their behavior.
We will know the difference by how we feel. If hurt, jealousy, selfishness, or pride has given birth to our anger, it is deformed. If love for the other is in our hearts, it will slow our anger and temper it to work for the benefit of those who have hurt us.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, help me take hold of the self-discipline You provide to refuse my selfish desires. Then let me grasp tightly the power to love You have given to use my anger to help others not destroy them. Amen.
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