It's 'unbiblical' to say God is never angry, pastor warns
What does the Bible say about anger?
That is the question Christians should first ask when dealing with any issue in their lives, advised Austin Hamrick, assistant pastor of young adults at Cornerstone Chapel in Leesburg, Virginia.
In the final installment of a multi-week Bible series answering the question of what does the Bible say about common struggles, such as lust, greed, bitterness and worry, Hamrick addressed the issue of anger and shared biblical accounts of how God, Jesus and Paul handled anger.
"The Bible is our moral compass," he said, "It's our framework for practical living." Speaking about the sermon topic, “How to Guard Against Anger” (posted on YouTube Dec. 5), Hamrick stressed that "it's not always a sin." "Case in point: God gets angry," he added, pointing to Psalm 7:11, Mark 3:5 and John 2:13-18.
“Sometimes, circles of the church, sometimes society loves to teach that God doesn’t get angry. That’s actually not biblical. God gets angry,” he reiterated. The Bible says "God is an honest judge, and He is angry with the wicked every day." He (God) feels "indignation."
“We often think, ‘Well, that’s Old Testament God.’ But then, ‘Jesus came in the New Testament. And Jesus was very lovey-dovey,” he said, noting a common misconception about Jesus.
“We think of Jesus as just this hippie Jesus … just going around just loving everybody. Of course, God is love. … But … even God manifested in flesh, Jesus Himself, walked around in the temple noticing that it had become solely this marketplace of business. And the Bible says that He had this righteous indignation — that He got angry,” Hamrick added.
Referencing John 2:15 and Matthew 21:12, the pastor illustrated Jesus' righteous expression of anger when He made a whip to drive the money changers out of the temple.
It's not inconsistent to understand that God is both loving and angry, he added. "You can still have a holy, perfect, complete God who gets angry, who also is defined as love being in His very being."
In an effort to explain the Lord’s capacity to display both love and sinless anger toward His children, Hamrick used his relationship with his daughters as an example.
“As a dad, my two little girls, when they misbehave, when they talk back to their mom, when they are disobedient, … I get angry. But does that mean that my love is removed from them? Of course not,” Hamrick explained.
“In fact, my love compels me to gently correct them when they're disobedient so that they grow up to be mature and respect and love other people. … Just because God gets angry doesn’t mean His love is removed from us.”
“It is not an inconsistent statement to say that God is love,” as seen in 1 John 4:7-8, Hamrick continued. However, “God [becomes] angry [when dealing with] stubbornness, rebellion and wicked acts.”
Using anger to reach positive resolutions to issues of sin, as Jesus did in Scripture, is healthy and beneficial, Hamrick noted. But, doing so, he said, does not mean a Christian should have pent-up anger because allowing the emotion to “fester” can lead to sinful actions.
Hamrick quoted Ephesians 4:26, a part of Paul's letter to the church in Ephesus, saying: “Be angry and do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your wrath.”
“Paul is saying anger can be prevented from becoming sin if a strict time limit is placed on it. ... He is attempting to communicate to the church at Ephesus that it’s not necessarily sinful to be angry when you’re angry over the things that anger the heart of God. However, how do you deal with that anger?” Hamrick posited.
One deals with it by not allowing it to “fester or it can become sin.”
“Even though you might be angry about something that is not necessarily sinful, … when you harbor anger in your heart, Satan can take advantage of that anger and use it for his purposes. God hates when we sow discord and division within God’s family and that can happen when we harbor anger.”
Hamrick added that when Christians harbor anger in their hearts, they “do the devil's work for him.”
“The devil's work,” he warned, “is to accuse and divide the family of God.”
Watch the full sermon below:
Nicole Alcindor is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.