When is anger a sin?


Short question - when is anger a sin?

Longer explanation: I’ve been dealing with an ongoing situation in my life, where the same person keeps treating me poorly, despite the fact that I have tried to speak frankly about how their actions are making me feel and what I expect in the relationship on a number of occasions. I find myself frustrated quite a lot, and feeling a little bit powerless, and sometimes I think I’m verging into anger - both at this person because they keep repeating this action and at me for not being able to do anything.

At the end of the day, though, these feelings don’t go anywhere. I get frustrated, disappointed, maybe even a little bit angry; I breathe through it, hope for better, and go on with my day. But is just getting angry itself a sin?


No Jesus got angry when they used his Fathers house as a market place. It depends where and what the anger leads, sometime frustration can seem like anger.

Pray for this person when you feel the anger comming. It truly helps.


Here’s what the Catechism says about anger. (Emphasis is my own.)

2302 By recalling the commandment, "You shall not kill,"94 our Lord asked for peace of heart and denounced murderous anger and hatred as immoral.

Anger is a desire for revenge. “To desire vengeance in order to do evil to someone who should be punished is illicit,” but it is praiseworthy to impose restitution "to correct vices and maintain justice."95 If anger reaches the point of a deliberate desire to kill or seriously wound a neighbor, it is gravely against charity; it is a mortal sin. The Lord says, "Everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment."96

2303 Deliberate hatred is contrary to charity.** Hatred of the neighbor is a sin when one deliberately wishes him evil. Hatred of the neighbor is a grave sin when one deliberately desires him grave harm.** "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven."97



Anger, as an emotion, is not sinful in itself. Christ exhibited righteous anger when he cast out the money changers from the temple. It is only when you allow your anger to effect your actions towards others in a non-righteous way that that anger becomes sinful.

One of my favorite Bible verses is also one I struggle with regularly. Those who pray the Liturgy of the Hours encounter it every Wednesday during Night Prayer.

Ephesians 4:26-28

If you are angry, let it be without sin. The sun must not go down on your wrath. Do not give the devil a chance to work on you.

God Bless
Br. Ben


If the object of anger is the true and good then anger acted upon would be evil.

If the object of anger is a present evil then acting to remove evil from one’s presence would be good.

Anger is one of the irascible appetites.


I’m sure it’s more to do with the actions of your anger which would become a sin. When you’re over-emotionally angry you naturally don’t think properly and therefore potentially risk sinning.


Adding to what others have said…let us remember too the various sayings of Jesus about forgiving and turning the other cheek etc.


I agree with this response; especially the remark “anger, as an emotion, is not sinful in itself”.



Yep. I’ve been reading the book “overcoming sinful anger” and anger is not the issue, but rather how we chose to react. Loosing your cool in the heat of the moment is bad, but it is when we let the anger simmer into acts of vengeance that the Enemy waits for.


Anger as an emotion reflects a spiritual “defect,” a stain on the soul that one ought to work hard to overcome. Left alone, it’s highly likely that it will cause sin sooner or later. The same goes for the other Deadly Sins, such as lust. There is a fine line between these emotions and sinful thoughts. As Christ points out, one who lusts in their mind has already committed a sin. The same goes for all the Deadly Sins, including anger.


This is what I’m struggling with. I knew it was a Deadly Sin, but didn’t know what that meant. Obviously I try not to get angry, but I do. So when does just becoming angry amount to sinful behaviour - and by which, I really mean a sin I should take to Confession?


Sexual lust has been my Achilles’ heel, but as long as I did not will it and instead truly despise it, I personally would not consider it a sin. Indeed, I consider myself victorious! But I still consider it to be a stain on my soul that needs to be purged.


No it does not. Christ Himself exhibited anger, and He had no stain.

As Aquinas noted,Anger is the response to perceived injustice. It is a good when the injustice is real ( this why God’s Anger is always good, His perception is always true, His acts always in accord with Reason). It is good when it motivates us to correct the injustice according to reason… It is a malum when it is combined with hatred, or when the injustice is untrue.


Christ is God who is allowed to get angry, He was in perfect control, but for the rest of us, it’s almost always a Deadly Sin that reflects a spiritual flaw. Even in the face of injustice, although maybe not sinful, it is a flaw. It’s much better for us mortals to pray when faced with injustice than to respond with anger. It’s possible that I’m wrong here, but I firmly believe that one can become a great saint by not feeling any anger when faced with a perceived injustice (indeed, our perceptions can easily be wrong in the eyes of God). The crucifixion was an injustice, yet there is no mention of anger on anybody’s part! Maybe Peter was angry when he cut off the guard’s ear, but Christ condemned the action and expressed no anger whatsoever. Indeed, He pleaded with His Heavenly Father to forgive His persecutors!



Though often the way is not to be anger. And with us human persons - with our fallen nature - we can easily go too far even with what would be occasion for just anger.


Jesus taught us about turning the other cheek and love of enemies and forgiveness and going the extra mile too…doing good …praying for persecutors …etc

And other parts of Sacred Scripture - Paul and Peter in their letters for example - give us various sayings to out into practice.


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