People generally blame anger as a fault. But sometimes it is right to be angry, and there is such a thing as holy anger. The Bible speaks of the wrath of God”. Jesus Christ was very holy, meek and gentle; and yet we are told that sometimes he was angry. “And they brought unto him little children that he should touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was angry, and said unto them, ‘Suffer the little children to come unto me and rebuke them not.
When is anger right, and when may we be angry? We may, and we ought to be angry when we see the weak unjustly treated by the strong when great wrong is done to an innocent man when the rich oppress the poor when dumb animals are tortured by brutal men when little children are beaten and starved by drunken parents. These things should fill us with anger, and drive us to do all we can to protect the weak and help the suffering. Such anger has driven good men to come out as reformers, to right public wrongs and put down bad customs.
This kind of anger is always unselfish. It springs from sympathy and a sense of justice. And men who feel it are angry at wrongs done to others, but not at wrongs done to themselves. Jesus was angry with his disciples for driving away from the children; but when he himself was beaten, spat on, mocked, and nailed to the cross, he only said: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
But anger that rises from selfishness, conceit, and hatred is always wrong. To be angry with a man because he has hurt you, mocked at you, or insulted you, may be natural, but it is nonetheless wrong. It is wrong because it is selfish. The Bible says, “Love your enemies.” But anger leads to hatred, and hatred often leads to murder and crime. So, “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath.”
Much anger is simply a bad temper, and this is due to a lack of self-control. Some people get into dreadful passions about nothing; and while they are in a rage, they are like madmen, and will do and say unjust and unkind things for which they will be sorry all their lives. Such are to be pitied and despised, for they are the slaves, and not the masters, of their passions.