Is Anger Always a Display of Pride?


I heard a statement recently that was really good: the amount of anger you have towards another person is equal to the amount of pride you have. A person who is humble believes he has no rights and therefore never gets offended. The speaker was talking about marriage, and he’s actually right. When people ask me how my marriage is so good, one of the reasons I tell them is that I don’t take offense by anything my husband says. I know that he does not intend to hurt me. So if I’m hurt by a statement, I must be twisting it somehow. We women do this. I don’t know why. Our minds just attribute wrong motives to people because we are so insecure about ourselves.

But this is my question: Is anger always a display of pride? I want to dive into my own life, to see whether my recent anger and lack of instant forgiveness might be attributable to pride, or whether it’s something else. Is anger ever justified? Can anger actually be right?

When it comes to being angry with my husband and children, I have to say no. (I actually can’t remember when I was last angry with my husband; it’s been so many years.) But I get angry with my kids all the time. Why? Because they’ve inconvenienced me mostly. My anger is inexcusable, and I know that it’s sin. God showed me that anger towards my children was a symptom of my idolatry of time. I think time is my own, and I’m sorely mistaken. My time belongs to God.

But what about being angry about someone else being attacked unjustly? Is God Himself ever angry? Was Jesus angry while on earth? And under what circumstances?

Jesus was furious and whipped people with a whip, people who had the audacity to sell stuff in a place that was holy. They were ripping people off. Poor people couldn’t even afford to make a sacrifice because these people made it impossible for them to obey God.

And yet Jesus never lashed out against anyone who was injuring His own body. He just took it. There was no anger.

Jesus was also furious at church leaders. They put yokes on people that the people couldn’t bear, and it drove people away from God. Jesus almost cussed at these church leaders; He was so mad. He called them whitewashed walls, a brood of vipers, and other bad names. He was mad. Livid.

It seems to me that if I saw a man raping a woman in a dark alleyway, the anger that I would feel towards the rapist would be murderous. I would defend that woman, and the thing that would make me fierce would be my anger at the injustice, at the outrage. And I believe God feels the same way.

Oddly, I never felt anger towards the rapist in my own life. I felt defeated, ripped open, and destroyed, but not angry. Later I discovered that I had bitterness toward God and an inability to trust Him, but that’s a very long story that would take a book to explain. I now trust God in a way that I never thought possible. But I wasn’t angry when injustice happened to me.

When my husband was attacked recently with slanderous allegations until he was utterly destroyed, was it okay for me to be furious? When I read the book of Revelation, I see a God of vengeance who cares deeply about injustice. At the marriage feast, we’re sitting there, and we actually cheer like a football game when Christ gallops with a scythe in His hand to destroy His enemies, and it’s quite brutal. He almost looks like the Grim Reaper, and my husband says that the Angel of Death in Exodus was none other than Christ. Don’t look into Revelation if you’re faint of heart. You will find out that God is fierce and holy, and the fear of God will take on a new dimension, as it’s supposed to include trembling.

I desperately want to purge anything from my life that is not pleasing to God. But I don’t want to purge things that aren’t even wrong, just to stifle my personality and make me more stoic. If my heart is open, I’m bound to be hurt. And hurt often includes anger, whether it’s right or not. I’d rather not build a wall. I’d rather love full blast, one way or the other, even if I get hurt again.

Feel free to tell me your thoughts. Is anger ever justified and righteous? Or am I making excuses for my sin?

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11 Responses to “Is Anger Always a Display of Pride?”

  1. Renee Ann says:

    Sometimes I so want the Lord to take vengeance . . . but I’m always glad when He has mercy on me! You and your husband have been through some difficult times. May God continue to give healing and peace.

  2. Christie says:

    Ephesians 4:26,24 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

    I do believe pride is at the root of every sin but not all anger is sin. Jesus was clearly angry a couple times so unless you are prepared to say Jesus sinned, anger should not be labeled as sin hands down. His anger, as you point out, was at His Father’s house being violated (We would also be mad if a bunch of vendors barged into our parent’s houses and began selling their stuff there each day and leaving a mess of animal poop and feed). He was the harshest on those who proclaimed to be of God and were leaders who thought too much of themselves and their activities and completely missed God and what He was trying to do. Ezekiel 34 describes this type well.

    Of course, the right thing to do is to tell whoever sinned against you (in love) what they have done and move on whether they apologize or not. If you do not love them when you tell them, then you should be silent and pray for God’s love. You are in sin if you don’t love them. That is not to say you must be gentle. Jesus was harsh when needed. Those who are hard headed and arrogant must be dealt with more firmly. Those who are humble may be dealt with more gently.
    Once you have told them their sin, if they will not repent you are to take another. If they will not listen then take it to the Church. If the problem is the leadership, well…

    Matthew 23:8-12
    “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers.”Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. “Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. “But the greatest among you shall be your servant. “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.
    Even leaders (who biblically should not be called so) are brothers in Christ. They are responsible for our souls and deserve honor but they are brothers and should be humble and ready to learn from those with other gifts. They should have to be just as diligent to listen and just as ready to apologize. Any who are respecters of men and relinquish them from responsibility because of position will have much to answer for. God is incredibly keen on impartial and just judging (Many commands were given to that effect and in the Kingdom, we will be judges. God wants us to get it right). They should be held to a higher not a lower standard because that is how God holds them.

    So, truth in love and don’t let the sun go down on your anger but do what is Biblical and address the problem. Once addressed, the ball is in their court, so release bitterness and move on knowing that God will take vengeance (so pray for God’s mercy on them knowing His wrath is fierce).
    Romans 12:19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

  3. Susan Evans says:

    Wow, thank you, Christie! Since I already mentioned their sin to them (in a very gentle way), I can now leave it to God. That helps. It’s hard to know what to do when you’re continually wronged by the same people.

  4. Hi Susan,
    You asked, “Is anger ever justified and righteous? Or am I making excuses for my sin?”

    Mark 3:5 says Jesus, “looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.”

    It would be hard for me to say anger is never justified or righteous, when we see the Lord get angry. james 1:20 says our anger doesn’t produce the righteousness of God, so it seems when we are angry we have to be careful how it’s used.

    • Susan says:

      Jesus displayed anger only when He was frustrated that people’s hearts were hard towards God. Maybe that is the key to understanding when anger is righteous and when it’s not.

  5. Tara says:

    I love how you replied to the comment above. That is a great distinction. Anger is okay when it’s over someone’s heart toward God. Great to remember in the the heat of anger to decide if we should really just let something go.

    • Susan says:

      Yes, it’s usually best to let something go if it’s something against us, unless God is prompting us to confront that person.

  6. Andrea says:

    As long as we don’t blow up at anybody inappropriately

  7. angie church says:

    I once had a pastor that pointed out that Jesus had emotions as real as ours. He showed love, happiness, anger and so many other emotions. I do not believ there is pride in anger. There of course are various ways to be angry. I do believe that if you are angry because you know something is wrong or you are protecting yourself or others then you are not doing anger in pride

    • Susan says:

      I agree. Jesus glorified God with all of His emotions, and it’s not prideful to want to defend someone or see the devastating results of sin.

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