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Longing for God Longing for God

Sinful or Holy Anger?

How can I tell the difference between sinful anger and holy anger?

Jesus is our model. One trait of holy anger is sorrow. In Mark 3:5, the Lord was grieved. The implication of the Greek word translated as “grieved” is that His grief and sorrow were deep. In His holy anger, there was deep grief and sorrow for the hardness of the heart of these religious people. We could say that Jesus felt sorrow for the people. When we see people living in sin and unyielding to the overtures of God’s grace and compassion, it should break our hearts with sorrow and grief.

On the other hand, sinful anger is destructive and never brings hope and healing. Jesus was angry and grieved, but He healed the man with the withered hand. Holy anger restores and heals; sinful anger destroys and kills.

BY Dr. Winfred O. Neely

Dr. Winfred Neely is Vice President and Dean of Moody Theological Seminary and Graduate School. An ordained minister, Winfred has served churches across the city of Chicago, the near west suburbs, and Senegal, West Africa. He is the author of How to Overcome Worry (Moody Publishers) and a contributor to the Moody Bible Commentary and Moody Handbook of Preaching. Winfred and his wife Stephne have been married for forty years and have four adult children and nine grandchildren.

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