Last Friday morning I wrote and posted a response (link) to Michael Pearl’s blog post in which he answered the questions of a woman who, with her children, was living with an abusive husband (link).

The title of my post, “Dear Michael Pearl, this is what righteous anger looks like seemed self-evident. This is because, as it so happened, the previous morning someone else had written to ask me a question that in God’s providence prepared me for Friday morning.

She asked for my thoughts on a short lesson about anger from the Thomas Nelson Women’s Study Bible (WSB), edited by Dorothy Kelley Patterson and Rhonda Kelley. (There appear to be dozens of editions of this Bible available, but I’m linking to one of the most recent ones.)

Here is the lesson, found at Ecclesiastes 7:9. (in this edition it’s on page 982.)  

Anger can most often be defined as an emotional response to a perceived wrong or injustice. Hence, anger is normally expressed when a woman misinterprets circumstances, makes a mistake in judgment, or reacts quickly because she feels threatened or hurt. This anger is unjustified and sinful. This anger, in effect, denies the power of God to care for your needs and hurts and can even completely take over your life. There are many warnings about the danger of anger in Scripture (Eccl. 7:9, Matt. 5:22; Eph 4:26, 31). Most often, you should leave your anger or wrath at the feet of Jesus and allow Him to act in your behalf.

God’s anger is always perfectly controlled and expressed (Ps 30:5; 78:38). There are examples of righteous anger given in Scripture, such as Moses’ anger toward the children of Israel for not trusting in God and following Him (Ex. 32:19). Righteous anger can be described as one that results when God’s laws and His will are knowingly disobeyed. The concern must be for righteousness and reconciliation, never for personal vengeance coming out of our own hurts. We must be careful to take our anger to the Lord for Him to analyze and manage.

Do you act or react? The answer to this simple question will most likely reveal any weaknesses you have in expressing the emotion of anger. A person who acts knows who she is, what she believes, and how she should behave (Col. 3:23, 24). She not only knows this information, but she chooses to act upon it. Another person’s actions do not dictate her reactions, but rather the wisdom of the Lord is her mainstay (Col 3:16, 17).

The first thing I did was look up every Scripture the writer referenced and read and study them in context—an important thing to do when analyzing someone else’s Bible teachings. I’ll address those below.

But first, you may have noticed a few words that cause concern.

Anger can most often be defined as an emotional response to a perceived wrong or injustice.

From the very first sentence that word perceived invalidates the woman’s sense of wrong or injustice having taken place. It calls her perceptions into question. This is the very thing abusers do.

“You totally don’t get my sense of humor, babe. I said you weren’t a piece of meat. Don’t you get it?”

“You overreact to everything. When I talk about killing the kids, you don’t think I’m really going to kill them, do you?”

“Well, you think what I did was wrong, but I’m telling you, I wouldn’t be doing it if you weren’t such a piece of work. You need to get your s**t together and then everything will be ok.”

So, the abuser indicates, the wrong against her dignity, personhood, and safety, and that of her children, is only a perceived wrong. And then she comes to the WSB and reads the same thing.

Hence, anger is normally expressed when a woman

misinterprets circumstances,  

“See, what did I tell you? It’s all in your head. You’re a mental case.”

 makes a mistake in judgment,

“You know you can’t trust your own perceptions. You need me to help you see reality.”

or reacts quickly because she feels threatened or hurt.

“Whoa! Where did that come from? You always overreact, you know that?” 

This anger is unjustified and sinful.


The author has set up a straw man, which, of course, is very easy to knock down. The author assumes that in the majority of cases a woman has no good reason to be angry, and she’s mixed up about what she’s perceiving. Then this anger is named as sinful.









This is a more complete version of the study I did last Thursday morning, the day before I wrote the post on Friday regarding Michael Pearl’s counsel. As in any case of righteous anger, my anger was motivated by love, love for those who are being abused and love for the God who cares for them and was being misrepresented.

Also, in accord with the examples of righteous anger I gave above, my anger was controlled. No one else became the target of my anger, and I didn’t harbor it. Although I’m sure I haven’t executed my righteous anger flawlessly, and am truly sorry if there was any sin involved,  I did make a point, before speaking, while speaking, and after speaking, to go to God with my anger, as I’ve done many times through the past few years.

I went to Him in confidence that He is the Just Judge, the One who will one day fully and completely set all things right. Until that day, He calls on His people to be His hands and feet in this world, to judge justly, and to plead the cause of the oppressed.




Go here to download your free Guide, How to Enjoy the Bible Again (when you’re ready) After Spiritual Abuse (without feeling guilty or getting triggered out of your mind). You’ll receive access to both print and audio versions of the Guide (audio read by me). I’m praying it will be helpful.

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