The deadly sin of anger is unusual in that it is the only one of the Seven that is also an attribute of God. Anger itself is not sinful; in fact, anger is in many ways a dimension of love. God’s anger is driven by his love for the world and his love for us. God is angry at all that distorts his good creation and his beloved people, and he desires and intends that evil would be combatted and removed.
But while God’s anger is always driven by love, our anger is nearly always driven by selfish desire. Anger shows up in our lives in all sorts of ways when our personal needs and ambitions are blocked: through passive aggression, through active attacks, or through a slow nursing of bitterness. This kind of anger is deadly because it separates us from God and separates us from each other. Through Jesus Christ, God seeks to heal our anger and make it his kind of anger, an anger driven by love.
Proverbs 19:11, ESV
11 Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
Ephesians 4:26-27, ESV
26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.
James 4:1-3, ESV
1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
In this week's image from Hieronymus Bosch's Table of the Seven Deadly Sins we have a pretty unambiguous picture of the way anger twists and makes fools of those who are ruled by it. Set outside of what could be a tavern, the scene of overturned (or wearable) furniture, shoes and cloaks cast aside for a brawl, and a woman restraining a man with a sword in one hand and an jug of ale in the other reminds us that the stakes are actually very high when our pride, envy, gluttony or other sins lead us into unthinking wrath.
About the Series
“Seven | Finding Freedom from the Darkness Within” is a Lenten sermon series on Pride, Envy, Anger, Sloth, Greed, Gluttony and Lust, known for nearly 1500 year as “the Seven Deadly Sins.” For a full description of the series, including week to week schedules, click HERE.
STUDY GUIDES for this sermon will be available on Sunday afternoon, with audio being added on Tuesday morning, both found by clicking the banner image for the sermon on the homepage. We encourage all small groups to use these resources to foster self-examination in community, in addition to privately, and as a way for our whole church to be participating in this season of preparation together
Join the Conversation
Looking beyond our walls, our sister congregations, Christ Presbyterian and City Church, are joining us in this series on the Seven Deadly Sins, partners with us in repentance and renewal, as well as in sharing the gospel.
Pastors Corey Widmer, Kevin Germer, and Erik Bonkovsky are hosting a collaborative blog where they and readers can contribute additional thoughts and responses to the scriptures and sermons we'll hear during lent. If you'd like to join that conversation, click below.