It is important to understand what anger is so we can effectively deal with it without falling into misconceptions by those saying that anger is a sin. If not dealt with, anger will lead to sin, as Paul taught, “Be ye angry, and sin not” (Ephesians 4:26).
Is it any wonder there is such confusion between words like “anger” and “wrath” when we see so many differences in our Bibles today. The majority of versions were supposedly written to make it easier with better understanding. However, they have added confusion to the truth of many sound doctrines, they even use bigger words then the King James’ Old English. Just to illustrate before looking at anger and wrath, consider Ephesians 6:4:
- [KJV] “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath“
- [NIV] “Fathers, do not exasperate your children“
- [NASB] “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger“
- [AMP] “Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger“
- [CEV] “Parents, don’t be hard on your children“
- [ESV] “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger“
- [HCSB] “And fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children“
- [NCV] “Fathers, do not make your children angry“
- [TLB] “Don’t keep on scolding and nagging your children, making them angry and resentful“
- [MSG] “Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them“
I picked this verse on purpose, not to teach so much on rearing our children, but to show the confusion and corruption found in all these Bible versions. What’s disturbing from a students point of view, the underlying text of both the Received Text and the Critical Text are identical for this verse! Reading some of these translations is like reading after a child psychologist as they chose to commentate rather than translate. Notice, only the KJV uses the word “wrath.” Why? Because wrath is the sin, whereas anger is not.
Any parent knows they cannot teach a child not to be angry and more than teaching them not to laugh or cry. Why? anger is a God-give emotion, a natural physical response to external stimuli. Yet, the author of confusion, Satan, is having a hay-day with God’s people, by ensuring we have a smorgasbord of “Bible” choices to keep us away from the truth. In doing so, he is destroying the family through corrupted verses like Ephesians 6:4.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines wrath as “1) Violent anger 2) The effects of anger.” By definition, wrath is not anger but rather the natural, sinful, sin nature response to anger. This is pretty clear when we read Ephesians 4:26. However, if you think Ephesian 6:4 confused anger and wrath, corrupt Bible versions make it worse by saying that anger is a sin when the Bible does not say this.
“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:”
Rather then studying to see how we can be angry and sin not, corrupt Bibles translate what they want to say, even when their underlying text says otherwise. The only way that we can be angry but not sin is by putting wrath properly into the equation. We saw the definition of wrath, it is the response to anger. Contextually then, we sin in Ephesians 4:26 when we let “the sun go down upon your wrath.” So, my point is, there is a distinct difference between wrath and being angry; wrath could be considered in context as out of control anger.
ANGER IS AN EMOTIONAL ALARM
anger is not a sin, it is a responsive emotion that God gave to us. Think of it as an emotional alarm. Let me illustrate: If you smell smoke in your house, how does your nose alarm you? If your smoke detector goes off, how do your ears alarm you? You certainly never would say, “Oh, it’s nothing to worry about.” Equally, we should never say this about anger; we must deal with it before the fire rages out of control and becomes sin!
anger is a natural, biological reaction that is easily seen as it builds up within us:
- Somebody wrongs us
- Then, adrenaline surges through our body
- Then, our heart starts pumping faster and faster
- Then, our blood pressure rushes to the tips of our ears
- Then, the heat of the rushing pressure flushes our face
- Then, our fists clinch and go up, either literally or figuratively
- THEN, WE BLOW UP INTO SIN!
We have all gone through this natural process. The question, though: Who here can control their adrenaline, or their heart rate, or their blood pressure as they respond to external stimuli? These are all normal reactions in the human body called feelings. However, we are responsible before God as to how we respond to our God-given feelings, where ultimately, anger is a feeling. We are not to feed our anger, we are to defuse it and let it go as with other hurtful feelings. Psalm 30:5 is a great verse in this context:
“For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
ANGER IS NOT A SIN
anger as a natural feeling becomes sin when we allow it to become wrath. So, what is very important here, if we do not distinguish these words, we will be confused spiritually and find it difficult to find that “joy cometh in the morning.” We will think we are sinning when we are not, and vice versa, we will think we are not sinning when we are. This is a mass of confusion around anger, setup by the author of confusion, which directly connected to his corrupting of God’s Word today.
Take a moment to go back and read the differences above in Ephesians 6:4. Like I said, I am not teaching parenting, but this verse is a perfect illustration for us to learn how to apply anger and wrath in our lives. How does this pertain to fathers? Realize that children will naturally get angry. This is a fact of life as we understand anger is an emotion and not a sin. As with every emotion, children do not know how to control them, so it is our job as a parent to teach them. At any rate, they will get angry which is perfectly natural:
- Our punishments will anger them
- Our tones will anger them
- Our looks will anger them
- Our denials will anger them
One thing a parent should never do is adjust our “parenting” based upon their anger. However, we also never intentionally push their anger to the point of wrath. When we see they’re angry, we know immediately that our punishment has done its job by physically affecting them. This is when true “parenting” begins. A parent’s good “parenting” goes on to teach them how to defuse their anger before it becomes wrath, hence:
“ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
So much more can be said about anger and wrath, but I trust this short devotional challenges you to dig deeper in your personal study and do as the Berean’s:
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”