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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

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

19 thoughts on “Righteous Jealousy and Anger

  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!

  2. 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!!!

  3. Praying for peace for your heart Vickie and a truly good and perfect miracle for your precious family.

    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

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

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