Seven Deadly Sins – Anger

Our next deadly sin is the sin of anger or wrath. Evolutionary science tells us that our anger
is something that was once beastly that has become something beautiful. That we had a
fight of flight reflex that was used to defend ourselves; or a hunting instinct to hunt and
overcome our prey for survival; or a territorial aggression that preserved our pack, and now
as ‘evolved apes’ we have to reign it in and make it useful to the community. This is exactly
backwards. The bible teaches that our anger was once something beautiful that has
become beastly. We are made in the image of God, God is said to have righteous anger.
The NT does have two different words for God’s wrath, one scholar describes them this way,
‘God’s anger (
) is his vehement fury or boiling rage. His wrath (
) is his settled
indignation or his settled anger. In other words, in God’s anger the emphasis falls on the
emotional, boiling intensity of it. And in God’s wrath the emphasis falls on the controlled,
settled, considered direction and focus of its application. But we dare not draw a hard line
between them.’
It is a wrath that is revealed against all unrighteousness and ungodliness,
Rom. 1:18. It is because of God’s character as righteous and His role as judge that He is
righteously angry, Ps. 7:11, ‘God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation
every day.’ God is only angry against that which is sin, evil, unjust and wrong, against that
which is contrary to His holy will. God is not volatile, He is slow to anger, Nahum 1:3, ‘The
Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty.
His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.’ In God anger is
an extension of righteousness and holiness in relation to sin; it is an act of justice not
cruelty. In God wrath is what goodness looks like when it interacts with sin. As human
beings we have been made to give a representation of this and our capacity for anger is the
means. When Adam was first created he was without sin and he had the full capacity for
holy anger. It is this holy anger that we see in the sinless Christ as He clears the temple
and denounces the destructive religious hypocrisy of the leaders. Sadly, that which began
as beautiful and praiseworthy is not something that has become beastly. By beastly I am
referring to the passion driven unprincipled ways in which we often channel our anger.
Instead our enemy being sin and injustice we have made enemies of each other; instead of
waging war against sin we wage war against each other. Adam would have had the
capacity to be angry at the right things, at the right time, to the right amount, for the right
extent of time; something that Jesus did perfectly in His incarnation. For this reason anger
is something like jealousy that is not sinful in and of itself but something that can be used
for sin.