Look at what the 4th Psalm says – Be angry, and do not sin; (vs.4). Aha! So believers can be angry. Jesus certainly appeared angry when he turned the money changers out of the Temple claiming they had turned the House of God into a den of thieves. He had harsh words for the Pharisees that kept trying to catch him in a falsehood. But, He did not sin. So what is the difference?
I think it lies in the root cause of the anger. Is it hurt? Jealousy? Pride? If the anger focuses on us and not on an injustice, then our feet are touching the edge of the precipice known as sin. Sin is an action, anger an emotion. Paul suggested we should not let the sun go down on our anger, i.e. brood over it. The Psalmist agrees – ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. (vs.4)
When anger looms inside of me, I try and turn it over to the Lord to examine, correct or approve before I take action. My tongue has permanent teeth marks in it as a result. Words lashed out in anger are rarely fruitful. That doesn’t mean I have to swallow it down as I turn the other cheek – that leads to ulcers and psychosis. But our God is a God of transformations and blessings. He is a just God. There are times when anger can be righteous, if we offer it to God first and then wait for His response. That is what the rest of the Psalmist’s thoughts are –Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord. (vs.5)
The next time anger looms, take it to the Lord. Lay it at His feet and let Him transform it. See what He does to it. Will He turn it into constructive action, or into empathy, or a lesson in patience? Whatever it becomes, it will be blessed and free of sin if we trust God to help us deal with it. It’s not easy. But it is worth the try.