Anger: The Good, The Bad, The Destructive

Day 4 of 8 • This day’s reading


Can Anger Ever Be Good?

Most people think of anger only in negative terms because we’re much more aware of the harm anger causes. We’ve not seen enough examples of anger affecting our lives and our world in positive ways. But can anger ever be good?


Good anger can be described as righteous indignation, and it has the potential to produce lasting, positive results.

Righteous indignation (good anger) stands in sharp contrast to rage and resentment (bad anger), which is undisciplined, unfocused, and unyielding. Good anger is …

  • Disciplined — It doesn’t rage like an out-of-control wildfire. For anger to have positive results, it must have boundaries, be reined in, and be subjected to discipline.

  • Focused — Good anger is not pervasive or generalized. It’s focused toward the resolution of a particular problem or the meeting of a particular need. 

  • Short-lived — It produces good results and ends when positive goals have been achieved.

  • Within the boundaries of God’s commandments and His justice — Good anger, or righteous indignation, must always be rooted in what God calls justice. It stands up for our “unalienable rights” because they’ve been given to us by our Creator.

At the outset of the United States of America, there was a revolution. On what premise? That taxation without representation was unacceptable. The fight for freedom from tyranny began with demonstrations—not with muskets and bayonets. But on a misty April morning in 1775, a minuteman’s “shot heard ‘round the world’” set off a series of events that changed history. Within 15 months, leaders from America’s 13 colonies gathered to sign perhaps the most important document ever written: the Declaration of Independence. It begins by stating that “all men” are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The Declaration of Independence was a statement in words, not gunpowder. If England had seriously negotiated the demands of these independent-minded colonists, further bloodshed might very well have been avoided. Instead, a new nation was born through the blood and sweat of patriots. 

Remember, it’s not a sin to stand for what’s right, speak for justice, or defend the powerless. It’s not a sin to advocate for those who have no voice or stand beside those unable to protect themselves.

Sin comes into play only when a person steps beyond the boundaries of God’s law—either to seek outcomes that He doesn’t honor or desire or to use methods that He condemns.