Anger is a secondary emotion – it usually comes from a deep sense of hurt and injustice. It’s a cry of unresolved pain that seeks justice and comfort. Yet if we ignore it, suppress it, and try to shove it away it still stays there before it oozes out in ways that harm others in aggression. Aggression doesn’t need to be ‘hot’ and violent – it can manifest in passive ways such as brooding silence.
But is anger a sin? Surprisingly, the Bible doesn’t say that. Our world insists that it is, especially in the West, and tells people to hide it all away and just ‘try to be nice’, but Psalm 4 won’t let us get away with that. Because we are made in the image of God (who Himself has emotions, such as grief, anger, love, and joy), we have emotions too. So what are we to do with our anger? Here, I have written a Bible study on Psalm 4 which explored all this. When we have safe ways to get out anger, we can be calm, sleep well, experience God’s presence, and go on to love others. Here is the Bible study: Psalm 4 Bible Study.
God bless, Pastor Haydn.
Many people today, even Christians, may think that asking God for divine vengeance upon enemies is an ‘unloving thing’ to do. They reason that because God wants “everyone” to be saved and no one to perish that therefore divine punishment is a horrible idea on the basis of texts like Ezekiel 18:32 and John 3:16. And since Jesus commanded His followers to love enemies and not seek retaliation, how is it even possible for Christians to plea for God to punish His enemies and those who harm His children? So how exactly does a love for mercy sit alongside the understandable demand for divine justice (which we see in places like Revelation 6:10 and 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10)? In Psalm 109, King David asks for such a thing, and many find it a hard prayer to digest and even to pray; even the famous CS Lewis had difficulty with it. It seems to me that we in the West struggle with this because Christians here have not (yet) had to stand for their faith to the point of bloodshed. Nonetheless this prayer is in the Bible for a purpose and it has much to say about the role of anger and how we can take it to God so that He can settle all scores.
Here I have written a Bible study on this Psalm. I have also translated the passage and provided notes. I have also written in some suggested prayers on how to bring anger to God, and some practical advice on how to process anger with Him. May it bless, encourage, and instruct you: Psalm 109 Bible Study.
God bless, Pastor Haydn.