“The history of the human race is largely the history of it’s anger.” So spoke an old-time televangelist. He was referring to unrighteous anger. The Apostle Paul spoke of two kinds of anger, however. “Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath” (Ephesians 4:26). He makes it clear that there is anger that is sinful, just as there is anger that isn’t.
Historically, we know that Satan and the fallen angels made war in heaven in an attempt to overthrow God and His throne. Their demonic efforts were squelched, but their anger wasn’t! The Apostle John records: “Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time” (Revelation 12:12). He has come down to us with exceedingly great wrath. The fact that Satan actually thought he could conquer God reveals to us that his anger is irrational.
Irrational or unrighteous anger is destructive, which is why John said “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea.” We know firsthand that Satan’s unrighteous anger is contagious. “In which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). His anger is spirit-driven and it is manifested in those who unwittingly allow themselves to be enraged with it. Outbursts of anger in air travel, road rage, street violence, or just for having a different opinion than someone else, are commonplace — whether seen in the news or in person.
Having been influenced by the spirit of this world in the past, true believers must be diligent when it comes to sinful anger. We quoted: “Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath” (Ephesians 4:26). When we allow ourselves to let anger linger on day after day, instead of quickly overcoming it, we are submitting to the wrong spirit. That is giving place to the devil. In simple terms, uncontrolled anger is a means of leaving our mind open to demonic influence or even possession.
We need, through God’s Holy Spirit, to master our thinking. “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20). The history of the human race is largely the history of its anger. However, as believers of God, we are to rewrite our collective history when it comes to unrighteous anger.