Anger and forgiveness in the bible

I’ll admit that I’m an introvert. Somebody who’d rather be alone. Completing some task by myself. I enjoy being that way but at other times I wish I was more of an extrovert. Somebody who is naturally friendly and needs companions. To be that someone who people feel comfortable to confide in and get advice. Therefore, in the mold of a typical introvert, I found it interesting to read on the subject of friendship.

One book I enjoyed was entitled, “The Friendship Factor – How to Closer to the People You Care For”. The author, Alan Loy McGinnis, is or was a Christian psychologist in Glendale, California. It is always interesting to see how the practice and experience of psychologists can often reflect the wisdom of God which is already established in his word. The subject of the book is how to develop deep and lasting friendships.

As I read the topics I realized that much of what he was saying was so typical of one of my good friends Chris who had died back in 1999. Chris was a natural at making friends. What made Chris so special for so many people is listed in McGinnis’ five guidelines for cultivating intimacy:

  1. Use your body to demonstrate warmth
  2. Be liberal with praise
  3. Schedule leisurely breaks for conversation
  4. Learn to listen
  5. Talk freely about your feelings

I’ve taken the time to do other classes on these subjects but for this morning I wanted to deal with some other topics in the book. More specifically we’ll be looking at the destruction emotion of anger and how to practice the art of forgiveness.


Anger can be a very destructive emotion but is it always bad? Usually it is bad. The majority of the time that anger is dealt with in the Bible we are given a warning.

(Psa 37:8-9) “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. {9} For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.”

(Prov 15:18) “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.”

(James 1:19-20) “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: {20} For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”

Anger is an emotion that each one of us battles against. It’s how we deal with it that counts. Notice that these verses are not so much against anger but against being quick to anger, or having a short fuse. Anger unchecked is a very dangerous thing that can in an instant leave a relationship in ruins that will take years to build up again. James’ words are so true, “swift to hear… slow to speak… slow to wrath”. Makes me wish the Bible translators would have put some extra Os in the word slow to get the point across.

Being “slow to anger” or “longsuffering” is one of the great qualities of God. Anger, that is righteous anger, is often demonstrated by God.

(Psa 7:11) “God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.”

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as the perfect manifestation of the Father frequently displayed this emotion.

(Mark 3:4-5) “And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. {5} And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.”

(Mark 10:13-14 RSV) “And they were bringing children to him, that he might touch them; and the disciples rebuked them. {14} But when Jesus saw it he was indignant, and said to them, “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”

And who can leave out his fiery indignation while driving out those who sold in the temple (John 2:13-17). So is wrath and anger always wrong? No it is not, but for us who are so prone to the flesh and to making wrong judgments our wrath and anger are often misplaced. To be slow to anger for us, brethren and sisters, must have a serious time lag. It must be in another time zone.

There is another way that anger can be destructive. The author, McGinnis, brings this out when he says,

“Psychologists disagree about almost everything, but on one point they display surprising unanimity: There is no such things as a person who never gets angry — there are only those who suppress anger. And sending anger underground can produce a thousand psychosomatic problems, such as ulcers, migraines, and hypertension, and also some serious relational difficulties.” (pg. 129).

“Sending anger underground can produce a thousand . . . problems”. Paul puts it this way in Eph. 4:26,

“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:”

So Paul here leaves some room for being angry (even though he lists it as something to be put away in v. 31). The trick is to be angry and sin not. How do we let it not become sin. By not suppressing the anger or in other words “by not letting the sun go down upon our wrath”.

I think we’ve all been guilty of playing the game of “passive hostility.” Something somebody else has done has angered you. We let it boil and steam inside of us. We display a body language or a tone of voice to subtlety clue the other person in. And when that other person says, “Is there anything wrong?” our reply is “No”. They respond again, “Are you mad or something?” “Who me? Of course not.” It’s a dirty way to fight and not what I would consider the example of “being angry and sinning not.” It is much harder to deal with a person who is passively hostile then with someone who is direct and honest with their anger.

Another danger of sending anger underground is the pressure cooker syndrome. This is people who bottle up their anger until all of a sudden they explode in a very irrational way. The means of this outburst can often be disproportionate to the immediate concern because the person is venting a lot of past grievances. No one can understand what’s wrong because it just doesn’t make sense. The result is communication shorts out and rifts get made. This type of anger is also often misplaced. The anger can explode on unintended victims. The most obvious example is a husband and father who has tension at work that he takes out on his family. They may have no idea of the pressures he’s under so they think the anger is directed towards them and so family harmony goes awry.

Anger is something that we personally have to manage in our own lives but it is also something that we have to allow room for in relationships with others. Any deep and lasting love must leave room for negative feelings and anger. A friendship not only stays healthy because you control your anger but that you also let others vent at you. People need to know that they can be grouchy and still be accepted. We must realize that sometimes negative emotions are not directed towards us. Sometimes we are just in a vile mood and we need to drain some of the vile poison out of our system with a little help from our friends.

When anger and confrontation occur it is something that we must turn for the better. It is something we must use to deepen our relationships. It may sound funny but we can still love and be angry at the same time. Just because a loved one is railing against you doesn’t mean that it’s all over. All relations go through these emotions. The author gives a cute story of a husband who after an argument with his wife received this note on the kitchen counter:

Dear Charlie,

I hate you.

Love, Martha

So we will have these mixed emotions. The only thing wrong with them is when we continue to hurt and cut and drive the other person from us. The problem is when we let these emotions broil within us until there is no remedy. Be open and honest about your feelings. Let confrontations be a stepping stone to a deeper and more lasting friendship. Constant battles are not healthy but when the infrequent arguments do occur there can often be a new freshness that comes from reconciliation. There is a new openness and a new understanding.

The Art of Forgiveness

When there are wounds the healing is forgiveness. There is an art to forgiveness. It is not any easy thing to implement. It takes skill and patience. The awful thing is when we don’t practice forgiveness but rather hold grudges. True love does not hold grudges. Paul in 1 Cor. 13:5 says,

” Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;”

That word “thinketh” is the Greek word “logizomai” which can literally mean “to take an inventory”. That is why the NIV translates it as love “keeps no record of wrongs”. Love does not sit there and say, “Oops there’s another one. That’s the tenth time you’ve done that to me.” The author has this to say about hate,

“The sad thing about hate . . . is what it can do to the hater. I talked with a young mother who was bristling with bitterness. Her husband’s parents had said some unkind things to her, there had been a bad scene, and she said, “I’ll never feel the same toward my in-laws again. Oh, they’ve apologized, but I can’t forget what they’ve said.” I felt sorry for that woman, for she was the one who was suffering most from her hatred, not her in-laws.”

Indeed, there is a great danger in this woman’s attitude for it is a poison that will eat away at her whole being. Paul says in Eph. 4:31-32,

“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and angerand clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: {32} And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

These are not just nice platitudes. They’re life giving principles. You will never find true happiness if you hold grudges. Go ahead and collect stamps or baseball cards but don’t collect grudges. Get rid of them. There is a vicious cycle to hatred that will act like compound interest.

Thank God that love also is like compound interest. The little acts of kindness each day will continue to grow and surmount your most wildest dreams. Our calling is to defuse any acts of hatred, anger and violence with love.

Forgiveness is a very powerful positive force. In our relationship with God forgiveness only comes through confession and contrition. Hopefully this also takes place amongst ourselves. Whoa be to us if a brother asks of us forgiveness and we do not grant it to him. We may say we forgive him with our lips but do him the disservice of bearing a grudge. To this Jesus said that our forgiveness with God would then be in jeopardy.

(Mat 6:14-15) “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: {15} But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

It may be a difficulty but when we get an apology we can usually displace our anger enough to forgive. But what happens when you’ve been wronged (or think you’ve been wronged) and the offender doesn’t even admit his error? What about the brother who will never say “I’m sorry”? Does our commitment to forgive another always entail an apology on their behalf? This is where love meets its toughest challenge. This is where love is at it’s greatest.

(Mat 5:43-44) “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. {44} But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”

If such things are commanded of us towards our enemies then how much more to our brethren? How did Joseph react to the wrong his brethren did him? How did David deal with the persecutions of Saul? What was Jesus’ attitude on the cross? How did Paul deal with his Corinthian brethren who questioned his authority? They all took it as faithful men who showed forth the love of God.

If we are to love one another we need a tolerance of others as generous as that tolerance we display toward our own errors. Nobody is above reproach. Often in heated arguments there are wrongs done on both sides and there is no clear indication of who’s right or wrong. It is simply remarkable how understanding we can be of our own errors. We know that we didn’t intend it, or it happened in a moment of stress or weakness, or we weren’t feeling right that day or we’ll do better next time. But how often do we allow that latitude to others. We tend to see ourselves not for what we are but for what we strive to be whereas we see others for just what they are. Jesus didn’t do this with others. For instance, with Peter or the woman at the well. He knew their faults yet he loved them for their potential. If we could just assume the good of others first off and extend to them kindness and understanding, then we would be a far way to building everlasting friendships.

Surely the best thing to help our forgiving of others is to ask for God’s help. Is it not important that Christ tells us to “pray for them which despitefully use you”? Amazing things happen when we pray for others. Our whole attitude changes towards that person. That power then comes from God who is there helping us in our problems and our dealings with others. It is comforting that we are not alone if we ask for God’s help in these matters.


In conclusion, we’ve seen some keys to repairing relationships when there are problems. Certainly it’s not all that can be said on the subject but hopefully a good start. You’ll just have to come to the camp out to get more.

Anger management is crucial for our discipleship. Anger is not always wrong but it usually is in our case. Being slooooow to anger is the very quality of God which we must strive for. Anger becomes sin when we let it harbor within us and let it stew so that it comes out on unintended loved ones or blows up on an irrational moment. We must learn in our relationships that anger is something we will have to deal with in others. Negative feelings do happen between loved ones but hopefully we can use it for the better, to build stronger more lasting relationships.

Forgiveness is then at the heart of the healing. To hold a grudge is to suppress anger. Forgiveness is the only way to release this poison and bring happiness and stability into our lives. We have considered also the case were apologies might not be forthcoming yet love does not keep an inventory of wrongs. Our calling is to accept rebuke and suffering and to love no matter what. It is helpful in this case to first all consider ourselves, our shortcomings and how easy we are on ourselves when we screw up. If we truly consider this, then our attitude towards others should change too.

Finally, forgiveness is something that we can call upon God for help with. Pray for those who despitefully use you. God is there willing to give us the power of his love. Consider now how great God’s love was and is towards us who were such sinners. Consider how much God has forgiven us.

(Rom 5:6-8) “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. {7} For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. {8} But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

We come now before the emblems, a symbol of our unity and love for one another. It is a symbol of Christ’s love for us in that he laid down his life for the brethren. Every week as we gather here the conclusion is inescapable. We must also lay down our lives for the brethren.
anger and forgiveness in the bible

Forgiveness can be difficult. In our day-to-day people will do or say things that offend us, rather than hold a grudge – the Bible teaches us to forgive them. Having an unforgiving heart leads to bitterness, and a heart that is bitter can not love as it ought to love.

This is something I’m putting into practice myself. I often demanded an apology in order to forgive someone. But when it’s done this way we – more often than not, are reacting based on the desires of our flesh. We feel an apology is owed to us.

In scripture we can find encouraging, and inspiring verses that encourage us to be forgiving.

These are some of the verses I like to turn to for encouragement when I’m struggling with the difficulty of forgiveness.

Ephesians 4: 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Matthew 18: 21-22 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.

2 Corinthians 2:5-8 Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him.”

Colossians 3:13  bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-6  Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

Luke 6:37 Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

John 8:7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Matthew 5:23-24 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,  leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Luke 23: 33-34 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”And they cast lots to divide his garments.

Hebrews 12:14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

James 1: 19-20  Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

Do you have any verses you turn to when you are struggling with forgiveness?

For more Bible Verses by topic go HERE.

Grab you journal and write these verses down so you can quickly turn to them whenever you’re finding it difficult to forgive. Don’t have a journal? Grab one here:

125 occurrences in 14 translations

You are to say to Joseph, Let the wrongdoing of your brothers be overlooked, and the evil they did to you: now, if it is your pleasure, let the sin of the servants of your father’s God have forgiveness. And at these words, Joseph was overcome with weeping.

Let me now have forgiveness for my sin this time only, and make prayer to the Lord your God that he will take away from me this death only.

And on the day after, Moses said to the people, Great has been your sin: but I will go up to the Lord, and see if I may get forgiveness for your sin.

But now, if you will give them forgiveness–but if not, let my name be taken out of your book.

And he said, If now I have grace in your eyes, let the Lord go among us, for this is a stiff-necked people, and give us forgiveness for our wrongdoing and our sin, and take us for your heritage.

And he shall do with this bullock as he did with the bullock of the sin, so shall he do with this; and thus the priest shall reconcile them, and they shall obtain forgiveness.

and he shall burn all its fat upon the altar, as the fat of the sacrifice of peace; thus shall the priest reconcile him as concerning his sin, and he shall have forgiveness.

And he shall take away all its fat, as the fat was taken away from off the sacrifice of peace; and the priest shall incense it upon the altar in a very acceptable aroma unto the LORD; and thus shall the priest reconcile him, and he shall have forgiveness.

And he shall take away all its fat, as the fat of the lamb of the sacrifice of peace was taken away; and the priest shall incense it upon the altar in an offering on fire unto the LORD; and thus shall the priest reconcile him from his sin that he has committed, and he shall have forgiveness.

And he shall offer the second for a burnt offering, according to the ordinance; and thus shall the priest reconcile him for his sin in which he has sinned, and he shall have forgiveness.

Thus shall the priest reconcile him from his sin in which he has sinned in one of these things, and he shall have forgiveness; and that which remains shall be the priest’s, as with a present.

And he shall pay for the sin that he has done in the holy thing and shall add the fifth part thereto and give it unto the priest; and the priest shall reconcile him with the ram of the expiation of his guilt, and he shall have forgiveness.

And he shall bring a ram without blemish out of the flock, in thy estimation, for the expiation of his guilt, unto the priest; and the priest shall reconcile him from his error which he committed in ignorance, and he shall have forgiveness.

and the priest shall reconcile him before the LORD, and he shall have forgiveness for any of all of the things in which he is guilty.

And the priest will take away his sin before the Lord with the sheep which is offered for his wrongdoing, and he will have forgiveness for the sin which he has done.

May the sin of this people have forgiveness, in the measure of your great mercy, as you have had mercy on them from Egypt up till now.

So the priest will make the people free from sin, and they will have forgiveness; for it was an error, and they have given their offering made by fire to the Lord, and their sin-offering before the Lord, on account of their error:

And all the meeting of the children of Israel, as well as those from other lands living among them, will have forgiveness; for it was an error on the part of the people.

And the priest will take away the sin of the person who has done wrong, if the wrong was done unconsciously, and he will have forgiveness.

But if her father, hearing of it, makes her take back her word, then the oaths or the undertakings she has given will have no force; and she will have forgiveness from the Lord, because her oath was broken by her father.

But if her husband, hearing of it, makes her take it back, then the oath she made and the undertaking she gave without thought will have no force or effect, and she will have the Lord’s forgiveness.

But if her husband, on hearing of it, made them without force or effect, then whatever she has said about her oaths or her undertaking has no force: her husband has made them without effect, and she will have the Lord’s forgiveness.

At the end of every seven years there is to be a general forgiveness of debt.

This is how it is to be done: every creditor is to give up his right to whatever he has let his neighbour have; he is not to make his neighbour, his countryman, give it back; because a general forgiveness has been ordered by the Lord.

And see that there is no evil thought in your heart, moving you to say to yourself, The seventh year, the year of forgiveness is near; and so looking coldly on your poor countryman you give him nothing; and he will make an outcry to the Lord against you, and it will be judged as sin in you.

So now, let my sin have forgiveness, and go back with me to give worship to the Lord.

And may the sin of your servant have forgiveness: for the Lord will certainly make your family strong, because my lord is fighting in the Lord’s war; and no evil will be seen in you all your days.

Then give ear in heaven, and let the sin of your people Israel have forgiveness, and take them back again into the land which you gave to their fathers.

Then give ear in heaven, so that the sin of your servants, and of your people Israel, may have forgiveness, when you make clear to them the good way in which they are to go; and send rain on your land which you have given to your people for their heritage.

Answering with forgiveness the people who have done wrong against you, and overlooking the evil which they have done against you; let those who made them prisoners be moved with pity for them, and have pity on them;

But may your servant have the Lord’s forgiveness for this one thing: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon for worship there, supported on my arm, and my head is bent in the house of Rimmon; when his head is bent in the house of Rimmon, may your servant have the Lord’s forgiveness for this thing.

And because of the death of those who had done no wrong, for he made Jerusalem full of the blood of the upright; and the Lord had no forgiveness for it.

Then give ear from heaven, and let the sin of your people Israel have forgiveness, and take them back again to the land which you gave to them and to their fathers.

Then give ear from heaven, so that the sin of your servants and the sin of your people Israel may have forgiveness, when you make clear to them the good way in which they are to go; and send rain on your land which you have given to your people for their heritage.

Then give ear from heaven your living-place, answering with forgiveness, and give to every man, whose secret heart is open to you, the reward of all his ways; (for you, and you only, have knowledge of the hearts of the children of men;)

Then give ear from heaven your living-place to their prayer and their cry, and see right done to them, answering with forgiveness your people who have done wrong against you.

And the seed of Israel made themselves separate from all the men of other nations, publicly requesting forgiveness for their sins and the wrongdoing of their fathers.

And for a fourth part of the day, upright in their places, they were reading from the book of the law of their God; and for a fourth part of the day they were requesting forgiveness and worshipping the Lord their God.

They would not listen, and did not remember the miracles you did among them. Instead, they became stubborn and appointed a leader to return them to their slavery. “But you are a God of forgiveness, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and rich in gracious love; therefore you did not abandon them.

Because of your name, O Lord, let me have forgiveness for my sin, which is very great.

Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is he who has forgiveness of his transgression continually exercised upon him, whose sin is covered.

For this let everyone who is godly pray — “pray to You in a time when You may be found; surely when the great waters overflow, they shall not reach him.

But he, being full of pity, has forgiveness for sin, and does not put an end to man: frequently turning back his wrath, and not being violently angry.

The wrongdoing of your people had forgiveness; all their sin had been covered. (Selah.)

He has forgiveness for all your sins; he takes away all your diseases;

And kept in mind his agreement with them, and in his great mercy gave them forgiveness.

Let the Lord keep in mind the wrongdoing of his fathers; and may the sin of his mother have no forgiveness.

But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.


Upright acts will be the price of Zion’s forgiveness, and by righteousness will men be living there.

And the poor man’s head is bent, and the great man goes down on his face: for this cause there will be no forgiveness for their sin.

And the men of Zion will not say, I am ill: for its people will have forgiveness for their sin.

Let the sinner give up his way, and the evil-doer his purpose: and let him come back to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for there is full forgiveness with him.

Go quickly through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and get knowledge, and make a search in her wide places if there is a man, if there is one in her who is upright, who keeps faith; and she will have my forgiveness.

How is it possible for you to have my forgiveness for this? your children have given me up, taking their oaths by those who are no gods: when I had given them food in full measure, they were false to their wives, taking their pleasure in the houses of loose women.

And no longer will they be teaching every man his neighbour and every man his brother, saying, Get knowledge of the Lord: for they will all have knowledge of me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord: for they will have my forgiveness for their evil-doing, and their sin will go from my memory for ever.

And I will make them clean from all their sin, with which they have been sinning against me; I will have forgiveness for all their sins, with which they have been sinning against me, and with which they have done evil against me.

It may be that the people of Judah, hearing of all the evil which it is my purpose to do to them, will be turned, every man from his evil ways; so that they may have my forgiveness for their evil-doing and their sin.

In those days and in that time, says the Lord, when the evil-doing of Israel is looked for, there will be nothing; and in Judah no sins will be seen: for I will have forgiveness for those whom I will keep safe.

We have done wrong and gone against your law; we have not had your forgiveness.

So that, at the memory of these things, you may be at a loss, never opening your mouth because of your shame; when you have my forgiveness for all you have done, says the Lord.

And it shall be the prince’s part to furnish the burnt offerings, meal offerings, and drink offerings at the feasts and on the New Moons and on the Sabbaths, at all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel. He shall prepare and make the sin offering, the meal offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offerings to make atonement for, bringing forgiveness and reconciliation to, the house of Israel.

Compassion and forgiveness belong to the Lord our God, though we have rebelled against Him

Just as it is written in the Law of Moses as to all this evil , so it has come upon us. Yet we have not earnestly begged for forgiveness and entreated the favor of the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and have understanding and become wise in Your truth.

O Lord, give ear; O Lord, have forgiveness; O Lord, take note and do; let there be no more waiting; for the honour of your name, O my God, because your town and your people are named by your name.

And after that she gave birth to a daughter. And the Lord said, Give her the name Lo-ruhamah; for I will not again have mercy on Israel, to give them forgiveness.

Take with you words, and come back to the Lord; say to him, Let there be forgiveness for all wrongdoing, so that we may take what is good, and give in payment the fruit of our lips.

Who is a God like you, offering forgiveness for evil-doing and overlooking the sins of the rest of his heritage? he does not keep his wrath for ever, because his delight is in mercy.

For if you let men have forgiveness for their sins, you will have forgiveness from your Father in heaven.

But if you do not let men have forgiveness for their sins, you will not have forgiveness from your Father for your sins.

And they took to him a man stretched on a bed who had no power of moving; and Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the man who was ill, Son, take heart; you have forgiveness for your sins.

For which is the simpler, to say, You have forgiveness for your sins; or to say, Get up and go?

But so that you may see that on earth the Son of man has authority for the forgiveness of sins, (then said he to the man who was ill,) Get up, and take up your bed, and go to your house.

So I say to you, Every sin and every evil word against God will have forgiveness; but for evil words against the Spirit there will be no forgiveness.

And whoever says a word against the Son of man, will have forgiveness; but whoever says a word against the Holy Spirit, will not have forgiveness in this life or in that which is to come.

Then Peter came and said to him, Lord, what number of times may my brother do wrong against me, and I give him forgiveness? till seven times?

So will my Father in heaven do to you, if you do not everyone, from your hearts, give forgiveness to his brother.

For this is My blood the covenant; it is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.

John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to him, Son, you have forgiveness for your sins.

Why does this man say such things? he has no respect for God: from whom does forgiveness come but from God only?

Which is the simpler, to say to a man who is ill, You have forgiveness for your sins, or, Get up, take up your bed, and go?

But so that you may see that the Son of man has authority for the forgiveness of sins on earth, (he said to the man,)

Truly, I say to you, The sons of men will have forgiveness for all their sins and for all the evil words they say:

But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:


So that seeing they may see, and it will not be clear to them; and hearing it, they will not get the sense; for fear that they may be turned again to me and have forgiveness.

And whenever you make a prayer, let there be forgiveness in your hearts, if you have anything against anyone; so that you may have forgiveness for your sins from your Father who is in heaven.

to give His people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.

He went into all the vicinity of the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,

And seeing their faith he said, Man, you have forgiveness for your sins.

And the scribes and Pharisees were having an argument, saying, Who is this, who has no respect for God? who is able to give forgiveness for sins, but God only?

Which is the simpler: to say, You have forgiveness for your sins; or to say, Get up and go?

But so that you may see that on earth the Son of man has authority for the forgiveness of sins, (he said to the man who was ill,) I say to you, Get up, and take up your bed, and go into your house.

And so I say to you, She will have forgiveness for her sins which are great in number, because of her great love: but he who has small need of forgiveness gives little love.

And he said to her, You have forgiveness for your sins.

And those who were seated at table with him said to themselves, Who is this who even gives forgiveness of sins?

May we have forgiveness for our sins, as we make free all those who are in debt to us. And let us not be put to the test.

And everyone who makes a statement or speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit , it will not be forgiven him .

Give attention to yourselves: if your brother does wrong, say a sharp word to him; and if he has sorrow for his sin, let him have forgiveness.

And if he does you wrong seven times in a day, and seven times comes to you and says, I have regret for what I have done; let him have forgiveness.

And Jesus said, Father, let them have forgiveness, for they have no knowledge of what they are doing. And they made division of his clothing among them by the decision of chance.

anger and forgiveness in the bible

About a week ago, I received an email from a reader. She saw my post on overcoming disappointment, and she asked if I could help her. She is suffering in an unbearably unjust situation, and she is angry and resentful at the person causing it.

I can’t share her whole story, but the details are unimportant. Your anger and resentment are as real and honest and justified as hers are. They’re understandable.

And she’s looking for answers, just like you are.

I prayed about this woman and her family, and I prayed for you. I prayed that God would give me the words to help both of you.

My therapist says that anger is always masking a more vulnerable emotion. I think it’s helpful to look at that more vulnerable emotion and to deal with that, but you can come back to that later. For now, let’s just talk about the anger and resentment you’re feeling.

12 Bible Verses & 5 Steps to Overcoming Anger and Resentment

Concrete steps make sense to me. Give me a numbered list, and I’m a happy camper. So I created a numbered list for you.

Following the steps isn’t as easy as 1-2-3. The steps are where the real work lies. I am praying that you are challenged by these steps, and that you find a way to get through them all.

  1. Control your temper. (Let’s start right away with the hard stuff!)

When people mistreat us and there’s nothing we can do about it, we get angry. It isn’t fair. Parents see it in their young children who are constantly on the lookout to make sure everything is fair.

The gut reaction to get angry in the face of unfairness never really goes away. God’s Word says that we are to control our tempers, even in the face of unfairness.

Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs. -Proverbs 19:11

Earn respect. What if the respect of men isn’t what you’re after?

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. -James 1:19-20

The righteousness God desires. Ouch. We may be able to brush off the respect of men, but the righteousness of God doesn’t go away so easily.

Do to others as you would like them to do to you. -Luke 6:31

When we overlook wrongs, we treat others the way we want to be treated. But what if the wrong is something really big? What if we can’t just get over it?

We still have choices. If the wrong is something monumental – abuse, neglect, criminal – then DO SOMETHING. Don’t just get angry, but take action. Enlist the help of someone who can stop it.

The reader who wrote to me has endured her situation for five months. Certainly, she has been slow to anger. But now, she is angry.

What next?

2. Don’t let your anger control you. God recognizes that sometimes, we do get angry. Often, we need to get angry to remedy a situation or to spur us on to action.

Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent. -Psalm 4:4

He is saying to think about your situation, and see if it merits getting angry.

Are you saying something like, “YES! It does! I have a right to be angry. Is that wrong?”

Being angry isn’t a sin, but being controlled by anger is a sin.

And don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. -Ephesians 4:26-27

So you’re angry. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry. Find a way to work out the anger, pray through the anger, move past the anger before you give the devil an in-road to your psyche.

Need a pick-me-up? Go do something kind for someone. Volunteer your time. Do good, forgetting about the person who’s made you angry for a while.

Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper – it only leads to harm. -Psalm 37:8

All scriptures are God-breathed, right? Every word is true. So what of this? Stop being angry?! How do you just stop?

3. You pray. Pray for yourself. Pray for the person who is making you angry. Pray for the situation. Pray that your heart will be softened and you’ll forgive.

People can’t change people. Only God can change people.

Right now, you need to be changed, and the person who’s hurt you needs to be changed. Give yourself permission to just focus on you for now. Ask God to change you and get rid of your anger despite the rotten situation you’re in.

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. -Colossians 3:8, 12-13

You are holy and beloved, my friend. You are, and you deserve better than what this anger and resentment are doing to you.

4. Forgive. I said these steps weren’t going to be easy. Pray that you can forgive the person who’s making you angry. Pray it every day, every hour, every minute if you have to.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. -Ephesians 4:31-32

It’s the Golden Rule again. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Treat the person who’s made you angry with the same tenderhearted kindness that you treat your kids with.

I heard once that holding unforgiveness in your heart is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Unforgiveness is toxic to your soul. It affects every part of your life, and it manifests in sickness, in tension, and in anger.

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. -Luke 6:37

We are required to forgive as the Father has forgiven us. It is not optional – and it does not come easily.

5. Love. Forgiveness is one thing, but loving is another thing entirely. Loving your enemy – the very person who’s hurt you – is also required by scripture.

Not suggested, required.

The very thought makes me feel sick for you.

You don’t want to act in a loving way towards the person who’s hurt you. Not at all.

That’s where prayer comes in again. Pray that you’ll have compassion and kindness for that person. (And keep praying it until it happens.)

Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. -Luke 6:35

This passage goes on to say that even sinners are kind to those who love them, but it takes something special to be kind to an enemy.

You see, we don’t get to have vengeance. It’s not ours; it’s God’s alone. We are called to love God and love one another, the end.

Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God.

For the Scriptures say,

“I will take revenge;I will pay them back,”says the Lord.

Instead, If your enemies are hungry, feed them.

If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.In doing this, you will heapburning coals of shame on their heads.

Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good. -Romans 12:17-21

You see, Jesus didn’t just die for you, my righteous friend. He died for the person who’s hurt you, too. He loves both of you the same. It doesn’t seem fair (there’s a parable about that), but it is so.

Jesus died for both of you because you’re both sinners.

Different stories, different sins, same black marks.

For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. -1 Thessalonians 5:9-11

Download these Bible verses on anger and resentment in a convenient black and white printable below. You can work on memorizing and meditating on them, one at a time.

If you need help with a system for memorizing verses, check out this post on our family’s memorization habit.

© 2015 – 2019, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

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