Righteous Jealousy and Anger

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.


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