Man’s anger doesn’t produce God’s righteousness. How could it? All anger is not bad – Ephesians 4:25-32 – but not every expression of anger is productive, let alone helpful. When is anger sinful? The Puritan Richard Baxter offers these thoughts.
- When it opposes God or good; as in the case of those who become angry with us because we seek to win them to the Lord or separate from their sins.
- When it disturbs our reason, and hinders us from thinking rightly.
- When it causes us to act unbecomingly, so as to use sinful words or actions.
- When it causes us to wrong one another by our words and deeds, or to treat others in a way in which we would not like to be treated.
- When it is mistaken and with no just cause behind it.
- When it is greater in measure than that which provoked the anger.
- When it makes us unfit to do our duty to God or man.
- When it hinders love, brotherly kindness and the good we might do for others.
- When it encourages malice, revenge, contentions, division, oppression of those under us, and dishonor to those over us.
- When it lasts too long, and does not cease when it has accomplished its purpose.
- When it is used as a means to further our selfish, carnal, and sinful ends. When we are angry because our pride, profit, enjoyment, or fleshly will is crossed.
Do not allow yourself to be easily provoked, especially over the wrong things. Check your anger against Baxter’s list. I think it will be helpful. It certainly has convicted and challenged me!