James 1:20 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

James 1:20, NIV: "because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires."

James 1:20, ESV: "for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God."

James 1:20, KJV: "For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God."

James 1:20, NASB: "for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God."

James 1:20, NLT: "Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires."

James 1:20, CSB: "for human anger does not accomplish God's righteousness."

What does James 1:20 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Why should we, as God's children through faith in Christ, learn to control our anger, to slow it down, to keep it in check? For James, the bottom line is this: Anger doesn't work. Practically speaking, anger is an ineffective tool for contributing to the righteousness of God. Letting anger fly may be a great tool for getting our own way. The world tells us that anger can manipulate or intimidate those around us. Anger gives us the feeling that we are in control of the people in our lives, even making ourselves feel better for a few moments. But even from a non-spiritual perspective, this comes at a high price. We lose our integrity, the trust of others, and our self-control when we live by anger.

James' teaching here reveals a huge idea: We were created for far more than simply getting the superficial things out of life. Part of our purpose as believers is to be used by God to help contribute to His righteousness, to help accomplish His purpose in the world. We have a glorious, eternal purpose, far greater than what we can achieve through anger or sin.

James distinguishes between "human anger" or the "anger of man" and, presumably, God's anger. Everything God feels and expresses is righteous, including His anger. Human anger, by contrast, is nearly always an expression of human selfishness, fear, or desire to control the world around us. Those who trust the Father to be in control, to provide what is needed, to bring justice when the time is right, can afford to let go of human anger.