What Is Righteous Anger in the Bible?

Righteous anger in the Bible is God’s anger toward injustice and wickedness. When we are angry about the same things God is, this is righteous anger. Righteous anger, also called righteous indignation, is something a lot of us have questions about.

So, we are going to dig in and look at how Jesus expressed anger. Then we will…

  • Take a quick assessment to understand our anger better.
  • Pray and come out of agreement with anger; decree and declare the promises of God that are based in the roots of our faith.

Anger is one of the most challenging emotions to overcome. Many of us wonder if—and hope that—this all-consuming emotion will one day not have the power over us that it seems to possess in so many situations.

We ask, “What is righteous anger? What is unrighteous anger? And where does my own anger fall between the two?”

There seems to be a fine line between righteous and unrighteous anger. So, as Believers and those who want to follow the will of God, what should anger us? And… is our anger justified?

Jesus Expressed Righteous Anger

Most of us do not think of Jesus as being angry, but what we fail to realize is that Jesus’ expressed righteous anger was toward the sinful behavior and injustices that He saw around Him.

Jesus Was Angered When God Was Dishonored…

“Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, ‘It is written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer,” but you have made it a “den of thieves.”’”—Matthew 21:12-13

Jesus Was Angered by Hard Hearts…

“And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.”—Mark 3:5

Let Us Be Found on the Side of Righteousness…

If we are going to walk in victory over this emotion that can burn through us like wildfire in a dry field, we need to understand that God is angry at unrighteous choices and behavior. In Hebrew, wickedness means to follow the dictates of your own heart.

When we know what to do and do not do it, inner anger arises in us and, if we are honest, we may not want to address it.

But remember, God blesses the righteous. Let us be found on that side.

Though the Lord loves all of us, when we are not walking in His ways, we are opening the gates wide for the enemy. Instead, let’s open the gates to gentle speech, grace, and honor to others.

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In James’ letter, he jumps right into issues we all struggle with every day. He addresses “various trials and testing of faith that produce patience” (see James 1:2-3).

This tells us that patience and anger (in response to trials) do not naturally go together in our carnal minds, yet the Lord gives us instruction to actually put them together in the Spirit.

We must operate in patience to cut off anger.

Unrighteous Anger

If our anger is from a place of personal gain, pride, envy, guilt, or unbelief, then we have given the devil a foothold. We must be honest with ourselves if we want to be delivered from the spirit of anger. We need to repent and walk in the freedom that we have by the blood of Jesus.

Do I Struggle with Unrighteous Anger? Three Quick Ways to Tell if Anger Is on Your Heels…

Look at these three statements. Can you identify with any of them? Do you see the anger in your life being associated with these circumstances in any way?

  1. I know I should be doing (or not doing) something, and I do it anyway.

Many of us do not want to admit it, but we know what we should do and yet we don’t. The Apostle Paul dealt with this very issue.

“For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.”—Romans 7:19

When we engage in activities that we know are not honorable to God, we step into unrighteous behavior and step out of the blessing of God’s instruction. As a result, our flesh wrestles with the Spirit. There becomes an inner conflict because we are out of agreement with our Creator.

  1. When I investigate the history of anger in my family line, I find there has been much conflict, resentment, and disagreement.

The deep roots of anger may go back several generations, yet they continue to wreak havoc and rise up in situations we are dealing with today. You may need to put on your detective hat and engage in a conversation with your family about why or where the anger started.

  • Was there a disagreement in the past between members of your family?
  • Did someone feel wronged by another family member and has held onto the resentment, thus passing it down to the next generation?

However, use wisdom in your investigation, as this could stir up many emotions. Use gentleness and patience—the fruits of the Spirit—to guide you on this journey.

“A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.”—Proverbs 29:11

It is time to go into the Courts of Heaven and repent of this root of the spirit of anger in your family. Many people think that past hurts or guilt will dissolve over time, but if they have not been dealt with, they often fester up in other relationships, plant seeds of bitterness, and produce the fruit of resentment.

  1. I am struggling with a lot of pressure in my life.

Pressure can take many forms. It can be associated with your job, finances, health, and relationships. When we feel pressure, either from others or from our own circumstances, our natural self wants to press into it.

We want to fight back with words. Yet this is not what God calls us to do. We need to step back, take a breath, ask God to empower us with the Holy Spirit and activate the gifts He has given us.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”—Galatians 5:22-23

If you seek self-control and gentle speech, no wickedness can be found in you. Then, the enemy cannot steal your blessings!

“Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another. ‘Be angry, and do not sin’: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.”—Ephesians 4:25-27

Extend grace to others instead of heated words. Words have power, and when we speak them, they have an effect on the atmosphere. Let the words we speak be in love and truth.

When you are angry, take a moment—take your thoughts captive and give them to God. Extend grace to others as well as yourself as you go through this journey of letting anger go.

Prayer to Come Out of Agreement with Anger

Father God, we break, dismantle, and destroy all iniquities in our family bloodline, all the way back to the garden. We cut them off in regard to anger. We thank you that shalom belongs in our family. Lord, your word shalom means nothing is broken and nothing is missing.

“Lord, we decree that we will be a family and a person that is slow to anger and slow to speak. Thank you, Lord, as we put the anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talking to death. We choose to bind them and cast them out of our lives and our souls. We decree these things do not have influence on our soul today.

“Lord, we come out of agreement with anger, wrath, slander, and obscene talking. We decree and declare by the blood of Jesus that they do not belong to us and have no place in us. Father God, we ask that you bring healing into our mind, will, and emotions.

“Heal us from all anger, malice, slander, and obscene talking. Lord, we decree we are the healed of the Lord. Lord, your word says that we are to confess our faults to one another, so that we might be healed.

“We confess it today, we are healed, and we will walk free from anger, wrath, malice, and slander. We will not slander our brothers; we will extend grace, and love God and our neighbors as ourselves. We are the Spirit-filled of the Lord, and we are ready to be blessed and to prosper. In Jesus’ name, amen.”