Anger or Righteous Indignation?

                                                                      (Part 1)

Are anger and righteous indignation the same thing?  Webster’s defines anger as emotional excitement induced by intense displeasure or strong feeling of displeasure.  And Webster’s describes indignation as emotional excitement induced by intense displeasure; but anger which is aroused by something which is unjust or unworthy.  So, is there a difference between anger and righteous indignation?  There certainly is…one is displeasure, it could be for any reason, but indignation is displeasure because of something unjust or unworthy. 

Now, is anger a sin?  Let’s look at the scriptures to answer that.  Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be ye angry and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath; neither give place to the devil.”  In the Living Bible it says, “If you are angry, don’t sin by nursing your grudge; don’t let the sun go down with you still angry.  Get over it quickly.  For when you are angry, you give a mighty foothold to the devil.”  The Bible doesn’t say that anger is a sin.  It says that WHEN you are angry you do not give over your anger to the devil.  One way to give over to the devil is to nurse a grudge…hang on to it, which is nursing it and causing it to evolve into other things such as bitterness, hate, vindictiveness, jealousy…and it’s the enemy that uses these to cause you to sin against God and man.  It’s not the anger in itself; the anger in itself is not a sin.

Today, we’re going to go over some accounts of Bible characters, some who displayed anger which was connected with roots of bitterness and vindictiveness, jealous and anger which was directed to destroy rather than to heal and deliver.  We will also look at righteous indignation which arises out of a spirit which loves good and not evil.  Righteous indignation displays righteousness and comes against sin.  It believes in values, morals and fights injustice. People who are forthright and candid have been labeled as bitter rather than those who stand up for truth.  Some reading this will be relieved by this message and I hope more directed.

Satan deceives us concerning our emotions and behavior so he can keep us in chains of guilt and self-condemnation.  My prayer it that the Holy Spirit brings light on some dark areas and that that light dissipates the darkness and guilt and condemnation.  I pray that condemnation leaves and boldness, strength and assertiveness as well as Godly aggression supersede these areas.  We are going to look at the root of anger today and find that through the great prophets described in the Bible that anger directed in the right direction can be used as a catalyst to change many great minds and many nations from deception and lies into truth and righteousness.

What causes anger?  What is at the root of it?  A mockery of what is good and just.  When we look at verse 25 of Ephesians it says, “Stop lying to each other…tell the truth…for we are parts of each other and when we lie to each other, we are hurting ourselves.”  So, lies cause anger to rise within us.  Also evil speaking and words of malice not only grieve our spirits but also grieve the Holy Spirit.  Verse 29 says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying.”  Verse 30 – “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God”.  So not only do lies grieve the Holy Spirit of God, but also grieve our own spirit.  We are admonished to be kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another even as God for Christ sake has forgiven us.”

So, would you say that hearing someone lie about you could possibly steal your peace?  The Bible says in Hebrews 12:14 – “To follow peace with all men, that staying out of quarrels and seeking to live a good and clean and holy life will cause God’s blessings to fall on us but that when we lose our peace it causes a ‘root of bitterness’ to spring up and this root of bitterness causes deep trouble.”  In Ephesians 5, we are admonished to walk in love as Christ walked in love.  Does this mean to walk in love that we are never to speak out against the injustice that we see in front of us?  By speaking out, does that mean that our anger towards the injustice is unacceptable to God?  No, it says in Ephesians 5:11 we’re to “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”  In the Living Bible it says, “Take no part in the worthless pleasures of evil and darkness, but instead to rebuke, and expose them.”  That’s what prophets do, they expose.  Did you know that prophets were despised and hated by many…they were loners.

Those walking in corruption and evil don’t want their blanket pulled back and they hate those who expose their ungodliness.  Jesus didn’t let the wrath of the Pharisee’s stop him.  If he saw sin, he spoke out against it, whether they called him angry or not. 

Take the Genesis account of Cain and Able.  It’s a classic example of anger, used by the enemy to destroy a family.  Genesis 4:3 – describes Abel offering the best of his lambs to the Lord as an offering, however, Cain offered a gift of his farm produce.  The Lord had respect unto Able and his offering, but not to Cain’s and this made Cain both dejected and very angry.  It said, “His face grew dark with fury.”  In verse 6, the Lord asked Cain, “Why are you angry?  Why is your face so dark with rage?”  Then in verse 7, it explains the root of Cain’s anger.  God told him, “Your face can be bright with joy if you will do as you should, but if you refuse to obey, watch out; sin is waiting to attack you, longing to destroy you.”  So we see here, anger is connected to rebelling and when unjustified comes from a root of bitterness and is not acceptable to the Lord.  This anger of Cain’s did not happen overnight, but his bitterness and jealousy toward his brother Abel eventually gave place to the devil and Cain slew his brother Abel unto death.  So we see that anger can evolve into sin of we give place to it…the sin is waiting to attack us, longing to destroy us and can conquer us.  Notice, in this case where Cain’s anger arises out of jealousy toward his brother and his rebellion against God to make the proper sacrifice acceptable in the eyes of God.  Cain wanted his own agenda.  Anger can be directed and cause the good to come about or it can lay in bitterness and fester.

Let’s look at the account of King Saul and David.  It begins in 1 Samuel 9 - David spent many years running from King Saul, who hated him so much be became obsessed with finding him and killing him.  What angered Saul so much that he wanted the life of David?  Was Saul such a bad choice by God for a King?  He didn’t start out that way.  1 Samuel 9:2 – says, “Saul was the most handsome man in Israel, a choice young man and goodly.”  And God told the prophet Samuel, “He will rule my people.”  But when Samuel told Saul he was to be King, as instructed by the Lord, Saul replied in verse 21, “Pardon me, I’m from the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest in Israel, and my family is the least important of all the families of the tribe, you must have the wrong man.”  But Samuel told him, “I’ve received a special message from the Lord.”  Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it over Saul’s head and said, “I’m doing this because the Lord has appointed you to be King of his people Israel.”  And God described how he caused his own Spirit to come mightily on Saul and that he would prophesy. And Saul was so humble that when Samuel went to crown him he couldn’t find him, for he was hiding in the baggage.  So initially Saul was a good King.

After a period of time Saul began despising the word of the Lord rather than respecting it and he walked in great disobedience to God and his word.  So God raised up King David.  Saul not only rejected this decision but fought God and David on this violently.  God tried to tell Saul his anger was arising out of rebellion against God’s word, but Saul would not listen.  God told him in 1 Samuel 15, “To obey is better than sacrifice and to hearken, than the fat of rams, rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry, but because you have rejected the word of the Lord, I have rejected you from being King.”

Saul rebelled again and would not accept God’s words but fought against his new choice for King, which was David.  Next the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul (his anointing for King lifted) and instead an evil spirit came and troubled him.”  1Samuel 16:15.  This confirms what God said in Hebrews 12:15 that “a root of bitterness if you allow it in will trouble you, thereby many be defiled.”

Saul’s root of bitterness was centered on his anger of rejection from God, but directed toward David, God’s new choice.  Here again, misdirection of anger leads us into sin.  However, David was not angry in return for Saul’s anger towards him, but prayed for Saul.  David came and took a harp and he played with his hand to sooth the spirit of Saul and to be instrumental in causing the evil spirit to leave him.  The years of rejection toward David caused David to react by praying for Saul, rather than turning his hurt and frustration against him into wrath.

Saul’s anger on the other hand grew as he continued to feed it into a deep hatred which eventually destroyed him.  Yet David, determined to walk in love became better instead of bitter.  The pain and rejection caused an ultimate public awareness of the awesomeness and specialness of David.  His fruitfulness to walk towards God’s Spirit caused men, women and even children to admire and publicly applaud David.  The anointing on him for his faithfulness became heavier and more powerful.  Even songs were sung, Saul has his thousands but David his ten thousands, which only caused Saul to become angrier.  The higher God lifter David, the angrier Saul became.  Finally, it says, “Saul was very wroth with attention that David was receiving, so from that time on King Saul kept a jealous watch on David.”

Now, we’ve gone from anger to hate to a jealous spirit.  Verse 10 says, “And the very next day Saul received a jealous spirit, a tormenting spirit from God, it overwhelmed him and he began to rave like a madman.  Friend, continued anger, continually fed catapults and opens further doors for the enemy to get a foot hold.  Walking by our emotions causes roots of bitterness which festers over a period of time.  Letting the sun go down upon your wrath, night after night, gives place to devils.  The jealous spirit is a very prevalent, potent demon; it’s one of the worse spirits for torment and trouble that is accepted into the human mind.

The Bible says it starts out as a root of bitterness.  Just being angry and getting over it, is not a sin.  Getting angry and directing it properly, as we’ll discuss later is not a sin.  It’s giving place to it, where the enemy takes hold, that it becomes sin through our actions.  Because the devil gives me a thought is not my fault.  But when I choose to place action to that thought, action that is contrary to God’s word, that thought now becomes sin and I, by my own decision have given place to the enemy.  It’s not the thought that is sin…it’s the action attached to it.  We must gird up our minds against evil thoughts when they come against us and others.

The Bible says, “Casting down imaginations and every thought which exalts itself against God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”  2 Corinthians 10:5

For more see Part 2 (Archives)



11/01/2013 6:43am

I am going to subscribe, so I can learn more. I can't wait to receive updates through e-mail.

08/24/2014 8:28pm

The first time I came here, less than 10 seconds the display is perfectly open, and the loading is completed less than 20 seconds and to open the article only took about 7 seconds. So I think this is very fast! Incredible! Trying to maintain!


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    Susan's genre is in Christian non-fiction where you'll find truth without compromise


    October 2012