Anger is admittedly a volatile and dangerous emotion. But it is important to note that it is not always a sinful emotion, and it certainly isn’t always expressed in sinful ways. God gives us adequate warning that “a man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression” (Pr.29:22). And yet the command of Scripture isn’t that we strive to be devoid of this emotion, but rather we are instructed to be careful how we get there and cautious about what we do with it.
Just as God is said to be “slow to anger” (Ex.34:6), we are commanded not to be “quick tempered” (Tit.1:7). If we were to try to never get angry, we might in fact be fighting the work of God’s Spirit in our lives. For instance, when it was reported to King Saul that the Ammonites were threating to mutilate and extort the people of Jabesh-Gilead, the Bible says “the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul when he heard these words, and his anger was greatly kindled” (1Sam.11:6).
Knowing that there are several godly reasons to get angry, the Bible goes so far as to command that we “Be angry (!) and do not sin” (Eph.4:26). Let’s not forget that there were times when Christ himself got angry, yet he remained sinless (Mk.3:5). To get angry without sinning, will require that we are only angered by sinful things. And even then, we must never choose to express that anger in sinful ways. So let us not oversimplify our understanding of this volatile emotion, instead let us be careful to be slow to anger, discerning regarding its cause, and wise in how we respond to it.