We learn from 1 Corinthians 13:4 that love is patient and love is kind. One does not show patience and kind love when one responds to others in prideful, vengeful, or hurtful anger. Biblical love does not easily give in to anger (1 Corinthians 13:5).
Anger is not necessarily always sinful. God, in His righteousness and justice, also expresses anger when it comes to sin. In the New Testament, we could find that Jesus was also angered in several situations. Some instances were when he was furious with the pointless legalism of the Pharisees on Sabbath day (Mark 3:1-5) and when some of the Jews desecrated the sanctity of worship in God’s temple in Jerusalem (Mark 11:12-18). In Ephesians 4:26, Paul tells us that we can be angry but not to sin as we express it or allow it to linger for long. To know more about anger, you can read our separate article, “What Does the Bible Say About Anger?”
Anger can cloud a person’s better judgment and has the propensity to leave destruction in its wake. It can easily prove toxic in any relationship with God and other people. If we hope to show love, we must not hastily burst into anger at each instance that others or circumstances provoke us. Proverbs 19:11 teaches us that a person’s wisdom produces patience that can overlook an offense. But we must also be careful not to unreasonably stir up others to anger (Proverbs 15:1)
Even fathers are warned by the Scriptures not to unreasonably provoke their children to anger but to lead them in the ways of God (Ephesians 6:4). Jesus also tells us that giving in to anger can be considered murder.
“ Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”
(Matthew 5:21-22 KJV)
The effects of destructive anger cannot be taken lightly for God is serious about protecting relationships. Many relationships have been compromised, and lives lost in the wake of sinful anger. Every God-given relationship is too valuable just to be lost to anger. We can learn from James 1:19-20 on how to handle anger.
“ Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”
(James 1:19-20 KJV)
James is telling us that before we easily give in to anger, we must be quick to listen to others first and slow to speak words that can cause conflict. Due to our sinful nature, many times we fail to be calm and control our anger, so instead of allowing anger to totally cut off the relationship, we must learn to salvage it through acts of reconciliation. Reconciliation is part of our submission to the Lordship of Christ; it should not be delayed but done before the relationship turns irretrievably dark.
“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. “.
(Matthew 5:23-24 KJV)
It is also important to know that our issue of anger can only be truly tamed when we learn to rely upon the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit produces fruits that will help us quell the anger in our hearts. When we are full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23), we can respond in ways that demonstrate the love of God toward others. It is not through our willpower that we overcome the sinfulness of anger but through Spirit-power.
Love is not easily angered because it covers the multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). God, even though He has the right to be always angry with us due to our sins, chose to be patient and gracious to us. He is indeed slow to anger, abounding in love, and forgiving toward us (Numbers 14:18). The extent of God’s love for us caused His one and only Son to receive the death penalty for our sins, be nailed on the cross, and accept the full wrath of God upon Himself so that we don’t have to. This love is available for all who will accept Christ’s saving grace.
“What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,”
(Romans 9:22-23 KJV)
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”
(Romans 5:8-9 KJV)