Wednesday, January 16

Another example of unrighteous anger

Scripture: Genesis 39-41, Luke 16

Genesis 39:19–20 Now when his master heard the words of his wife, which she spoke to him, saying, “This is what your slave did to me,” his anger burned.  20 So Joseph’s master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined; and he was there in the jail.


Lots of good stuff in these chapters, but these two verses stood out to me as another example of the effects of unrighteous human anger.

Potiphar’s wife got the hots for Joseph, and kept propositioning him, but Joseph refused her.  One day, she caught Joseph by his garment; Joseph fled, leaving his garment in her hand.  Spiteful, she accused Joseph of attempted rape first to the other servants, and then to her husband when he got home.  

Potiphar’s anger burned and he had Joseph thrown in jail, even though he was innocent.  Did he give Joseph a chance to explain or tell his side of the story?  Not as far as we know.  Would it have mattered?  Maybe not, especially if he was angry.  Potiphar’s anger resulted in an innocent man being jailed.  It wasn’t “righteous anger,” even though it thought it was; it was unrighteous anger!


James 1:19–20 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

What might have happened if Potiphar had been quick to listen and slow to become angry?

Our anger doesn’t produce the righteousness God’s desires.  We like to think that we have “righteous anger.”  James challenges that.  Our anger is almost always tinged with selfishness.  God alone has righteous anger.  Anger never made anyone smarter.  It clouds our judgment and rather than ending injustice, it often creates injustice, as it did for Joseph.

Ephesians 4:31–32 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

  Get rid of all anger.  It doesn’t result in righteousness.

Prayer: Lord, I’ve gotten better, but I can still flare up in anger.  Forgive me, and help me to get rid of all anger, and be kind, compassionate and forgiving.  Help me be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.