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If someone tried to hurt my baby, righteous anger would motivate me to do what I could to stop my child from being hurt.

Righteous Jealousy and Anger

If someone tried to hurt my baby, righteous anger would motivate me to do what I could to stop my child from being hurt.
If someone tried to hurt my baby, righteous anger would motivate me to do what I could to stop my child from being hurt.

I have been listening to a podcast series on the attributes of God by Wayne Grudem from Systematic Theology. If you get a chance to listen to that part, it is really good! He was talking about God’s righteous jealousy and God’s holy wrath in the podcast I listened to today. And I want to be sure I am clear about something.

I talk about us:

But I do want to be sure that I talk about – that there is such a thing as righteous jealousy and righteous anger.

When we are sinned against, lied to, lied about, mistreated, truly abused, cheated on – that is not ok. If our children (or other people) are genuinely threatened or harmed – there is an appropriate time and place for righteous anger against sin.  If our marriage covenant is threatened – there is a place for us to feel godly anger in these situations and for us to want things to be made right. We want to see justice play out in our marriages and in our families when we or someone we love have been wronged. In such situations, we must be very sensitive to God’s leading and prompting about exactly what to say. 

Before confronting your husband about something, please read “Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin” and “When My Spouse Is Wrong.”

Sinful jealousy and anger:

  • is motivated by selfishness
  • dishonors God
  • lashes out to cause pain to others
  • desires to wound other people and make them pay
  • causes us to tear down our husbands, others, and our marriages with our own attitudes, actions, words, and behavior
  • gives us the boldness to sin against others
  • causes us to justify sin in our hearts
  • holds onto resentment and bitterness
  • will not forgive
  • takes vengeance for itself
  • results in hatred for people rather than hatred for sin

Healthy jealousy and anger:

  • is motivated by agape love (I Corinthians 13:4-8a)
  • wants to see relationships restored and reconciled
  • wants to honor God
  • hates sin
  • loves people with God’s love
  • hates to see people be hurt in any way
  • hates to see relationships torn apart and destroyed
  • gives us the power and boldness of God’s Spirit to seek to bring about godly change
  • gives us the courage to speak out against and confront wrong and sin
  • wants to see our covenant with God honored
  • wants to see our marriage covenants honored and promises kept
  • confronts sin in our husbands at appropriate times in godly ways
  • offers grace, kindness, gentleness, and forgiveness
  • does not hold on to resentment or bitterness
  • rejoices when true repentance occurs
  • wants the best for the other person
  • wants the other person to experience the treasure, peace, and joy of Christ
  • leaves the hurt, pain, and wrong in God’s hands and trusts God to avenge in the best timing and in the best way

When you hear someone express anger – look behind the anger to see what is hurting him/her.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

If a husband is unfaithful, a wife is right to be jealous and to want to protect and guard their marriage – and vice versa. She would be displeased to see her husband flirting with other women, as a godly husband would be equally distressed to see his wife flirting with another man. A godly spouse desires for his/her marriage covenant to be honored. She would want her husband to be transparent, trustworthy, and faithful to their wedding vows. Those are good, healthy, godly desires.

If a husband purposely spends no time with his family and is always away working on hobbies or chooses to work lots of overtime, a wife would be right to want her husband to be with their family more if it is possible. Those are good desires – for there to be balance between work and family and for the family to have time together. It is important for us to speak up respectfully in such situations if this is something that a husband could actually change. If he can’t change it, then a wife might simply pray for God’s intervention and provision, rather than confront her husband about something that is not in his power to change.

– If a wife attempts to usurp her husband’s position of leadership, he would be right to feel angry and to want to see her honor him as the leader (I Cor. 11:3, Eph. 5:22-33) and to desire for her to be cooperative, godly, loving, supportive, respectful, and full of faith and God’s peace. For a husband to just back down into passivity and allow her to do what God has called him to do is not a gift to anyone. Of course, God also calls him not to be harsh, either (I Pet. 3:7)

– If one spouse has a drug, alcohol, gambling, or pornography addiction, the other spouse would be right to be angry about the destruction and pain that sin is causing in their marriage and family and to want to see that person set free from that addiction and to see the family restored to health and godliness.

Anger is a gift when we use it properly.

Righteous anger can motivate us and empower us to have the courage to seek to change things that are not right, to confront sin in godly ways, and to bring about healing in our marriages and families and for those who are mistreated in the world. We can do this in the power of God’s Spirit in ways that don’t lead to sinful anger or sinful jealousy in our hearts. However, we must just be very cautious because it is very easy to be tempted into sinful jealousy and sinful anger that would be destructive.

It is so easy to allow righteous anger to turn into toxic bitterness or motivation for revenge.

RELATED:

Christianity Today – Righteous Anger

Verses about Anger

Verses about That It Is God’s Place to Take Vengeance, Not Ours

When My Spouse is Wrong

Do I Have the Right to Punish My Husband?

If someone - even my husband - attempted to destroy my marriage, righteous anger would motivate me to try to intervene to preserve our marriage covenant
If someone – even my husband – attempted to destroy my marriage, righteous anger would motivate me to try to intervene to preserve our marriage covenant

40 thoughts on “Righteous Jealousy and Anger

  1. My husband has recently been diagnosed with Leukemia and Lymphoma. At first he was texting/calling/on Facebook, and Twitter with two women. I absolutely trusted my husband. He has turned from his faith in God. I find even after his diagnosis he has decided to be unfaithful. I have two college aged daughters who are devastated by their father’s drinking and behavior toward them and myself. It is so difficult. At this moment, he is on a 6 day cruise which he told me was a sailing instruction class. I am caring for him. I am praying and trusting God everyday. I cry out to God for the pain for my family and myself. The sicker he gets the more his lies are easily found out. Please pray for me and my attitude. I know he was depressed prior to the diagnosis. I suspect there was some on-line indiscretion. This is not my husband I met at Bible study 37 years ago. As I support him, I pray God will use my example in some way. I pray I can be an example. Sometimes my heart is overcome with grief. I do have the support of a Christian counselor. We are starting marriage counseling soon but, I suspect my husband is doing it to please my daughters. He drinks everyday. I know once the chest port and chemo is started he can’t possibly drink. I ask for your prayers. I truly desire to be an example, be there for my husband, and three adult children. My college aged daughters are in so much pain. Thank you.

    1. Vickie,

      Oh goodness! 🙁 Such a big tangled mess. Of course I will pray and I will ask our sisters and brothers who are reading to join us in prayer, as well.

      Lord,
      You are the sovereign God of the universe. You are good and You are loving. You are just and righteous and holy. You have righteous anger against all sin and You carry out Your righteous wrath and vengeance against sin – whether each person pays for his/her sin, or whether Jesus paid for it.

      What a heart-wrenching situation our precious sister, Vickie, and her daughters find themselves facing. We know that Vickie cannot change her husband. But we know that You can. How we pray together that You might bring this wayward son of Yours to true conviction for his sin. Let him grieve deeply and have godly sorrow over what he has done that has grieved Your heart and his family. Let him turn from sin and repent and turn to Christ. Let him find healing and full restoration of fellowship with You. Let him put You first in his life and allow You to use his life for Your greatest glory!

      Please give Vickie and her daughters Your love, Your eyes, Your heart, Your mind, Your Spirit’s power, Your strength, and Your wisdom as they determine how to respond and how to love and care for a man who is walking in disobedience to Your Word. Let Your love flow through her. Let her know when to confront and speak up and let her know when to be silent and pray and help her to know how to bless this man even as he doesn’t deserve blessing. Help her be the wife and woman You desire her to be and let her be faithful to You by Your power no matter what happens. Use this for Your glory in her life!

      In the Name and power of Christ
      Amen!

      1. Dear Sister in Christ,

        Thank you for your prayers in my loneliness and pain. I know God is with me. It is my deepest desire to support my husband even without his love and respect. I want so much for God to use me and have strength for my family. I desire a peace that passes all understanding. Though my husband may make fun of my faith may I respond with Jesus touching him through me. Please pray for my attitude and my communication skills. I feel so lacking in comparison. Thank you for your gracious prayer. Though he has been unfaithful, I remain faithful to God and my husband and family.

        1. Vickie,

          It seems to me that your heart is in the right place. How I pray God will use your Spirit-filled example and love and respect to bring conviction and that He might bring your husband to true repentance and to full submission to Christ and to honor his marriage covenant wholeheartedly.

          Sending you the biggest hug!!!

        2. This is truly heartbreaking, Vickie. I also prayed for you and your family. Let God lead you through this trial, so you could be a winner even in this painful situation and come out strenghtened and transformed. We may have our own set of problems, but we can feel your pain. You are not alone. Be blessed!

          1. I covet your prayers. Knowing you have lifted me up has given me greater confidence. Many people say you must keep a distance from your husband to win him back. I can not. Lord provide away and healing for my family and myself.

          2. I have read “Do Not Lose Heart” by Dave and Jan Dravesky, “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, “Anger- Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way” by Gary Chapman, “Hope for the Separated” by Gary Chapman. I’m also keeping the Sarah Young, “Jesus Calling Journal”, and “The Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude”. I’ve started “One More Try” by Gary Chapman. I pray I am a better person but, the pain of infidelity can creep upon me. It is hard to decide what to address and also what to let go of on his cancer journey. I cared for my father who died of cancer and am acquainted with its challenges and pain. Many times I hear my husband lie and I do not address it. I observe and am quiet. This is not the man of integrity that I esteemed so highly. He misses the man he was and grieves. I actually feel sorry for him and the pain he must be going through. I know he has mental illness and is not getting the help he needs. I try so hard but, know that phrase is simple a need to give him to God. I live day to day. I live moment to moment calling out to Jesus to guide me. I have never walked so blindly trusting his rod and staff to comfort me. I do not know what the future holds but, my children and I will fight for the release of grip of these women on him. Everything about him to different. He looks different. His speech is different. He is willing to go to a woman with a five year old when he has daughters of his own in great pain.

          3. Vickie,

            I am glad you are feeding your soul. 🙂 And I am sure you are reading the Bible, as well, and praying often.

            I can’t imagine the pain you are experiencing. Dealing with cancer and mental illness and sin – it would be very difficult to know what your husband can really grasp and control and understand and what he can’t.

            I am sure you BOTH miss the man he used to be. How I pray God will bring him to Himself and heal His heart and soul and restore Him to fellowship with Christ and with you.

            I don’t know exactly what you should do. I know that God has that wisdom that none of us could have for you – praying for you to hear His voice clearly and to walk in step with Him each moment – empowered by His Spirit.

            I love you, my precious sister!

    1. Daisymae,
      Yes! I was thinking a bit ago,especially for a wife who has been very, very vocal about her anger in the past, prayer would be more important than talking, probably for a long time. But for any of us, prayer would be a wise place to start before we attempt to confront our husbands about anything. It is so important that we are right wtih God and have right motives before we try to address something!

    1. I am waiting…O my soul.
      Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts; do not forget the lives of your afflicted people forever.
      Psalm 74:19

  2. I have to admit that I feel conflicted about how to respond in conflict (ha!) . The verses in
    1 Peter 3 to wives that immediately follow the instructions to slaves and the description of how Christ suffered without a word are always right in front of me. So far, though, in my own experience, I haven’t been able to keep my mouth shut and my longing for transparency and healing through our conflicts has compelled me to handle things as you suggested (well, to be fair, handling them that way now that I understand respect and my man better).

    But, I’m always wondering if I’m getting in the way of God’s workings by not just entrusting it all to God and keeping totally quiet. The best explanation I have come up with lately is that perhaps you come to a point in certain relationships, situations where you can see that no matter what you say, something keeps blocking progress and things keep getting worse. I think you just know, then, that it is time to just trust God and stop trying to pursue a solution or resolution in the normal ways of conflict resolution.

    Or, are those verses in 1 Peter targeted specifically to my situation (married to an unbeliever) and so therefore, *anytime* I feel sadness over sin he has committed that has hurt our marriage or family, I shouldn’t be even bringing it up, but just believing God has a plan in this and this is His will?

    Or, are those verses speaking specifically to the point of salvation for the husband, not necessarily the normal trials of being in a marriage, regardless of whether it’s to an unbeliever or a believer?

    Apparently, this is something I am really unsure of.

    1. gigiqc,

      This takes great sensitivity to God’s Spirit for a wife to know exactly what to do in each situation. It is my understanding that I Peter 3 is primarily about not talking about spiritual things and about God, not trying to preach or witness with words. I think there will be times a wife with an unbelieving husband may have to confront a sinful behavior, with the understanding that his greatest need is Christ, and that he doesn’t have the Holy Spirit and is spiritually dead – see When My Spouse Is Wrong.

      At first, I went through a long period of silence after so many years of me saying everything I thought so foolishly. Then, gradually began to speak up more. But it was a long, long process!

      You can never go wrong with lots of prayer, maybe even fasting, and seeking God’s wisdom and studying His Word and waiting on His timing, His leading, and His prompting.

      Praying for His wisdom for you! 🙂

      1. My wordpress registered name is gigiqc, but I’ve changed it to Jennifer when commenting on this website the past couple of weeks. Forgot to change it this morning when I typed that comment.

        My initial belief of the 1 Peter 3 passages was the same, that I was not to be trying to persuade him with my words regarding spiritual matters. But, when I remember that there were no chapter breaks in that letter and I put it with the preceding verses, it seems to take on new meaning for me.

        But, yes, God is the One who will have to give me understanding :). He has opened up new things in that passage over the years – different phrases that just jump out in a new way and He reveals something new to me. Thankful that I can trust Him to keep doing that!

        1. I prided myself in being sensitive but, I have found I am not. I pray I can learn. Many times less is best in conversation. I strive to listen!

    2. Some additional resources for wives whose husbands are sinning against them – you may search my home page for:

      – Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin
      – 25 Ways to Respect Myself
      – Should I Stay or Should I Go?
      – Do I Condone Abuse?
      – Rage, Hatred, and Violence

      If you are experiencing emotional abuse, http://www.leslievernick.com may be a helpful site.

      If you are experiencing physical abuse – please check out http://www.thehotline.org

      If you feel that you can’t or shouldn’t confront your husband about sin, or that you just have to take abuse, please check out Nina Roesner’s eCourse Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity. http://ninaroesner.com/strength-dignity-ecourse/

      I don’t want anyone to be mistreated or abused in any way. I don’t want women to stay where they are not safe. Of course, all sin against others is abusive. I know we will all have to extend grace at times and that there is healing in forgiveness. But forgiveness and trust are not the same thing. If there is major unrepentant sin against you going on in your marriage, please seek godly, wise, experienced counsel. Praying for God’s healing and wisdom for each of you!

  3. April I hope it’s ok to share this. As I was drifting off to sleep I was bringing to Jesus prayers for our sister Vickie and prayers for my own problems too. I had a beautiful thought of the woman in the bible with the issue of bleeding who reached out and touched Jesus robe in the crowd and was healed. This thought gave me comfort and reminded me of clinging to my own mothers skirt as a small child in an unfamiliar situation that scared me. A little while later some noisy wildlife outside woke me from my lovely sleep so I thought I’d share as that picture (or the reminder of this bible scene) may bring comfort to someone else in a desperate and scary situation.

  4. Indeed. Righteous anger, I think, is the beginning of overcoming bitterness, I think because it identifies the wrong. Then you can forgive the wrong and approach things constructively (like you say). It’s very important to believe that wrong is wrong. Otherwise, it just feels like your own anger (“man’s anger does not result in the righteous life that God desires” –James 1:20). Righteous anger is a sense of justice.

    Great post. 🙂

      1. Oh, and I saw a video a while back about forgiveness that made a statement that really made an impression on me: sometimes you have to forgive someone like you would a child. I know we think of Jesus on the Cross, forgiving people who know not what they do. But that statement about forgiving a child put things in a new light too–partly because we still have to act sometimes (still always in love) and forgive without expecting the other to understand. 🙂

  5. I thought more about the difference. I think man’s anger has a lot to do with impatient at our personal hang-ups. For example, I might misplace something and get angry while I’m looking for it. Is that an “injustice” against some kind of sin? Someone may or may not be at fault, but the anger isn’t really directed at the sin, but just the hang-up. It’s HARD, but I think forgiveness therefore entails trust in God in such a way that we believe He restores the inconveniences. Like, when we’re done injustice, the belief that God will restore things on our end–the pennies our neighbors duly owe us.

    Lord knows I’m working on it. : Perhaps the key is anger mixed with patience? Like we don’t want to destroy anything while we’re angry at the injustice, but constructive.

  6. Just wanted to add prayers for Vickie and her husband ;
    Lord Jesus, I ask that You would meet Vickie’s husband in this place where the enemy has taken advantage of him, where he must be feeling so many things as a result of his serious diagnosis. I know Lord that enemy uses fear to topple he or she who would walk with you, and that its one of his greatest tactics. I ask You Lord, that You meet him on the way with Your love, that You would speak through the tangle of emotions and shame that he is no doubt feeling, and give him the grace to recover from falling. Let not the enemy rejoice over him Lord, but grant this man and his family victory over the evil one and sin in this situation. Lord, show him that his greatest need right now is you and that to turn away from You in this time would be the worst thing he could do. Lord, You give us Your righteousness when we have none, would You Lord give him your strength, your humilty and your fearless trust in the Father, that he might be strengthened ? Lord, I ask on his behalf that You would cause Your will to be done in his life and to bring him to the place of heart that You would have him to be. Lord, speak Your word to his heart that he might know it is surely You speaking; give him Lord, pictures of His future with You and rebuke the evil one on his behalf. Lord please regard the tears and heartbreak of his wife and daughters and show him the selfish sin he is engaging it. It is so understandable because he is likely grappling with fears about his life possibly coming to an end if he cannot recover, but Lord I see the evil one using those things to his dark advantage. Lord please send Your angels to minister strength to him in this time, and grant him to see that he needn’t hide his fears, shame or guilt from You but that You are the only safe one to trust with these things. Bring them comfort Lord Jesus, and pour out Your Holy Spirit upon this family. In Jesus name I ask, amen.

    1. My Christian Sisters,
      I believe my husband is trying to reconcile with me. His cancer treatments are beginning soon and a daughter was recently in the hospital with a blood clot. He has many issues but, has made steps toward being closer to God. He has not confessed his sin or asked my forgiveness. I have asked his forgiveness for my anger. I have taken many steps to bettering myself and in my growth in the Lord. He has to stop drinking to do his chemo treatments. Please, pray for me and my husband and family.

      1. Vickie, thank you for letting us know so we can pray. I will pray as God reminds me and praying right now. May God surround you with unimaginable peace and love that fills every part of you. Lord, we ask in unity with our other brothers and sisters reading this that You will do a mighty work in Vickie’s husband’s heart and that the enemy will no longer have his way in his life. You know how to bring this all about, You have a perfect plan in all of this and we thank You that You are a Redeemer and that you bring beauty out of ashes. We pray for You to be glorified in this situation and we look forward to what You will do here. We pray in faith and with boldness, because we can come to You as Your beloved children only because of what Jesus has done for us and because You delight to show Yourself strong. Thank You, Lord!

      2. Vickie,

        I’m so glad to hear from you and that you think things might be heading toward healing. Praying for God’s wisdom for you both! And for His healing spiritually for each of you individually and for your marriage and family. Sending you the biggest hug!

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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