Updated: Apr 9, 2020

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I recall when my wife was chewed out by the Sunday School Director for not using her "inside voice" when dealing with a child who continually escaped class. No discussion, anger in the form of raised tones are wrong. Is anger or showing emotion always a sin? The idea that the expression of anger or displeasure is terrible is prevalent in society. My mother used to bait her boyfriend into yelling so that she could change the issue to the yelling. The Bible says demonstrating true feelings is not always a sin. Trying to end all conflict to prevent anger seems positive, but is a demonic ploy designed to confuse human relations. Anger is a convenient way to communicate a level of offense. The level of emotion is an indicator of the degree one party feels about another. For example, how could I know the perceived level of an offense without a measured level of passion in communication with me? My response might be, "I pushed this too far," or "I did not know you felt this way." I can respond this way because I gauge my wife's communication. For example, my wife trusts my response to her anger: I will adjust, stop, dig a little deeper (if confused), etc. Attacking the outburst would be a sin. Using anger or passion for manipulating is sinful. This article will explore these different aspects of anger.

Some thoughts on Anger

Parents are tasked to teach their children to handle sadness, frustration, anxiety, and jealousy. This training doesn't always happen. Tim Clinton and John Gottman call this emotional coaching. When children grow up to be adults, they bring this emotional baggage into their marriages, work environments, and churches. The result can be emotional responses that are out wack. I am sure we all know people who have trouble getting along with others because their emotions are not measured. To ban anger would never solve anything with folks like this: instead, they need coaching from their brothers and sisters.[1,2] I realize the effort required to carry out this, but good solutions take time and effort.

Anger, used adequately, is not founded on fear or an emotion seething under the surface, ready to erupt; instead, its basis is hope. What? Conflict is a tool that builds stronger relationships:

"The anger that arises out of hope fuels adaptive conflict. Sounds like something to be sewn onto a silk pillow, doesn't it? Well, it should be as a reminder that squabbles are a necessary part of a couple's growth together. In fact, as we'll see later in this chapter and throughout this book, a conflict that is carefully managed or regulated is a building block of a healthy relationship. Just as kids go through growing pains on their way to maturity, so do loving couples, and those growing pains lead to a vibrant and thriving relationship.[3]

Straight-Talk is always best

"Reading Book for Human Relations Training," a publication of the NTL Institute, devotes a chapter by Kaleel Jamison about why being straight with people be best. We stated that anger, or raised tones, is not always wrong. Avoidance of these behaviors risks makes matters even worse.

The premise is that when the resolution of conflicts is in the open, better solutions are reached sooner. Poor communication causes differences between people, groups, countries, etc. to fester leading to “hate” in cases. Notice that avoiding heightened emotions does not prevent conflicts; instead leads to unresolved issues.

When we are straight with people, issues are out in the open. Adaptive behavior follows. Recall the quote above, conflict among people that are near each other is not unusual. Avoiding emotions, saying everything is OK when they are not, are generally deceptive responses that will circle around and cause issues later.

Straight talk is not to be used to manipulate, embarrass, treat rudely. Even the way questions are posed manipulate rather than resolve issues. This book from NTL is helpful for those that have to deal with others. That’s everyone. You can find the referenced book on the NTL Institute website.

Greek words for anger

  • ὀργή [orge /or·gay/] - state of relatively strong displeasure, with focus on the emotional aspect, anger [4]. Example usage: Mk. 3:5, Eph. 4:31, Col. 3:8, Jas. 1:19-20, Rev. 14:10. As a noun, the word conveys a strong emotion or feeling, oriented to a real or perceived grievance. The verb form conveys the coming forth of feeling anger, already in a state of anger, or making another angry. The adjective use indicates patience or "slow to anger."

Mk. 3:5, we find Jesus reacting to the deceitfulness of the Pharisees. They try to "catch" Jesus healing on the Sabbath by planting a man with a shriveled hand. Jesus is both angry and grieved at the Pharisee's behavior. The response is to heal the man contrary to their wishes. If this emotion is considered a sin, then Jesus sinned and did not qualify to be the source of our salvation. We must conclude that on occasion responding with emotion is the most efficient way to handle conflicts. The Pharisees were not going to change, but the man was not made to suffer for their sinfulness. Notice that revenge or manipulation was never the source of Jesus’ anger.

Eph. 4:25-31 discusses anger using different Greek words. Verse 26 tells the reader not to allow their lousy mood to go on indefinitely. The limit here is the end of the day. The rationale is that the devil can manipulate these feelings into something evil. Psalm 1 talks about two paths for believers: one away from God, and one towards the Lord. An angry mood is ripe for demonic manipulation, hence the advice to put a stop to this behavior. Verse 30 commands the reader not to grieve the Holy Spirit since he seals believers until our final redemption. Verse 31 lists all the ways we can grieve the Spirit. Anger (a different word than ὀργή) is A conflictone of those on the list.

Col. 3:8 – Here, anger is associated with our former way of life. Life before salvation. To mature in Christ, we must continually work at removing anger, wrath, malice, etc. None of the items listed are in the image of our Creator.

Jas. 1:19-20 – We are certainly not condoning people to be angry other than on rare occurrences. James says spiritual maturity cannot happen with anger. This passage provides a blueprint for human relations. Shut up and listen.

Rev. 14:10 – Those that follow the beast during the end times will receive God's wrath. This wrath is God's business about those that rebel against Him. Not something we should mimic.

  • Another word mapped to the English "anger" is παροργίζω [parorgizo /par·org·id·zo/]. [5] παροργίζω is verb associating with provoking an angry response. You never want to produce the anger of the Lord: those results are never good. Stirring this emotion is not always a sin. The passion in the response may well be sin on the hearer's part. If revenge or manipulation is the reason for the provocation, then that is sin.

  • ὀργίζω [orgizo /or·gid·zo/] [6] – means to be in a state of anger. Prolonged periods in this state negatively influence a person's psyche: biologically, psychologically, and spiritually.

The words for “anger” need not always be associated with a sinful activity. Anger Is a word describing an emotion. It's not necessary to send a person to “anger management” every time this emotion flares up. It’s the source of the anger that matters! When revenge, manipulation, and any other behavior that we covered, then relations with God and others are in peril. Thinking this through, when someone has an issue with my tone, my response should highlight the lack of response in earlier discussions. There seems to be no other way to get that persons' attention.


  1. John Gottman, Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child: The Heart of Parenting (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997), and John Gottman, L. F. Katz, and C. Hooven, “Parental Meta-Emotion Philosophy and the Emotional Life of Families: Theoretical Models and Preliminary Data,” Journal of Family Psychology 10 (1996): 243–68.5. See Gottman et al., “Parental Meta-Emotion Philosophy.”

  2. Clinton, T., & Sibcy, G. (2006). Why you do the things you do: the secret to healthy relationships. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

  3. Clinton, T., & Sibcy, G. (2006). Why you do the things you do: the secret to healthy relationships. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

  4. Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 720). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  5. Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.6. Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

  6. Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.6. Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

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