Righteous Anger: Knowing Your Enemy



I must confess that I have treated those who love me the most and those I love the most as if they are my enemies. I have directed my anger toward those who are the greatest gifts God has ever given me. It is amazing how our anger will so quickly transform lovers into enemies speaking vile things to one another. Anger quickly forgets the bond between a newborn baby and their parents when the child becomes a teenager. How many times have we gone back over the words we used wishing we could somehow take them back. Anger could care less about all of the most wonderful moments of parenting, marriage, family. Anger transforms them all into our enemies, at least for the moment.
When Adam and Eve separated themselves from God by eating the forbidden fruit, they experienced something they had never known – lack. The Bible says that they realized they were naked. They had always been, but they did not realize it until after they sinned. Suddenly, they realized that everything good in their life came from the Lord. Until that moment, their relationship with the Lord was so intimate that they enjoyed every bit of goodness He had to offer. They had never known anything different. They had always been naked, destitute, nothing without God, but they had always had Him so it didn’t matter. Because they had Him, they had provision, protection, safety, love. When they sinned and separated themselves from Him, they suddenly realized they were completely destitute.

     They began to sew fig leaves together to cover themselves since they had lost God’s cover. They were trying to do for themselves what God had always done for them, and that only He could do for them. When they lost everything God has provided, they suddenly had to worry about themselves and how they would be taken care of. Their focus was changed from the bliss of God’s bounty to the stress of trying to care for themselves. And selfishness was born. Their entire focus became about their own needs, their own desires. All of humanity was changed so that we all naturally approach life from a selfish point of view trying to get what we think we need and all that we desired, not from God, but by our own ability sewing leaves together to cover our joy, our happiness, our peace. This selfish outlook born into us through sin now makes us naturally react to people based on our own desires and perceived needs.

“A fool shows his annoyance at once,
but a prudent man overlooks an insult.”

Proverbs 12:16

Annoyance. This is sinful anger. I am not angry with you because your behavior is not good for you. I am angry with you because you have not provided what I want or need. You have messed up what I was trying to do. It is anger from that sinful, selfish point of view. So now, whenever people do not act in accordance with our needs and wants, we react with anger. And we treat them as if they are our enemy.

What causes fights and quarrels among you?
Don’t they come from your desires that battle with you?
You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight.
James 4:1-2

A righteous anger expresses concern for the other person because they behavior they are exhibiting, even if it is directed at you, is not good for them. It is not good for a child to not submit to their Mom or Dad, but if the parents are angry because their kid has messed up their day, that is sinful anger. Righteous anger would say, “Honey, it is not good for you to act this way. How will you ever learn submit to the Lord if you can’t submit to me. And if you can’t submit to the Lord, you will never enjoy His good, perfect, and pleasing plan for your life. I love you too much to let you do this to yourself so there has to be some punishment to help you learn this lesson.” There is a vast chasm between our natural, sinful anger and God’s righteous anger.

This is why Proverbs says that a fool shows his annoyance at once. Annoyance, selfish anger, is the first reaction. We must first resist this natural reaction to be upset with people simply because they have messed up our perfect little world so that we can force our anger away from sin and into righteousness. But how do we do that?

It was that slippery serpent who first gave Adam and Eve the idea and our selfish outlook on life. At the same time, the sinful nature does not completely blind us to the goodness of God. But that old snake is still running the same game. He is working to influence our spirit. He takes advantage of our naturally sinful state resulting from his first successful deceit.

Just as angels strengthened Christ to continue in God’s will in the Garden of Gethsemane, the Devil and his demons are working to weaken us that we might follow our sinful nature. When those things happen that annoy us, our sinful nature is tempted to become angry and bitter. But rest assured, the Viper of Hell is working to weaken our resolve. He wants to take advantage of our sinful state and he prods our spirit. He incites our human passion. He takes satisfaction to convince us that those we love are the enemy. Know this for sure, all of Hell dances when we yell and scream at one another. It is a battle won. A victory sure. For parent to turn on teenager and teenager to turn on parent. For friends to turn on one another never to speak again and the demons raise their weapons with a shout of victory. This is your real enemy. It is not your wife. It is not your son. It is not your Father. It is not the preacher, the teacher, the boss, the crazy driver swerving all over the road. Our enemy is the Evil one who whispers into our spirit the justification we need to rip to shreds the very ones we love the most.
The Devil wants to destroy your marriage. DON’T LET HIM!!!!!! He wants to destroy your family. DON’T LET HIM!!!! He wants you trapped in your own anger and offense unable to forgive and love. REBUKE HIM IN JESUS’ NAME!!! He has no power over you! He has no authority over you! Turn your anger from sinful to righteous by knowing your enemy. When the Devil wants you and your spouse to lash each other with horrible insults, turn your anger toward the Devil. Rebuke Him and forgive your spouse. Rebuke him and love your teenager. Cast him behind you and reconcile with your friend. The key to righteous anger…is knowing your enemy.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and his mighty power.
Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything to stand.
Ephesians 6:10-13

Pastor Lee is the author of “Prepare for Greater Things: Understanding God’s Plan for Your Life.”  Prepare for Greater Things is a reprint of Pastor Lee’s first book entitled “The Journey.”  It is soon to be released.  To schedule a speaking engagement for any size church or ministry gathering, please go to our Contact Page.

Prepare for Greater Things is now available.  It is currently only available through the publisher.  Get your copy today!


Pastor Lee is the Lead Pastor at CrossRoads Community Church in San Antonio, Texas. His message focuses on the healing power of Scripture through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is the Father of three awesome sons and he is madly in love with his wife, Amy. And his favorite past time is losing golf balls in the rough while attempting to play a round of golf.

Posted in Anger, Encouragement, Hardships, Marriage, Parenting, Sin, Spiritual Growth Tagged with: , , , ,

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