At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
The north wind driveth away rain:Proverbs 25:23
So doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.
As a general rule, forbearance is a good thing. As a general rule, long-suffering is a virtue, one of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). “With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love” (Eph. 4:2). Of course. Yes, and amen. “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense” (Prov. 19:11, ESV). It is good to be slow to anger.
But our virtues and graces are not built out of blocks of wood. Ecclesiastes teaches us that there is a time for very different responses—including a time to kill, and a time to heal (Ecc. 3:3). We are dealing with people, and relationships between people cannot be managed with a one-size-fits-all approach. If we respond to every single thing with an identical response, then the chances are good that we are not responding in wisdom.
This means that there are times when a backbiter needs to really catch it. The same way that the north wind drives off the rain, so also an angry countenance drives off a backbiting tongue. Put another way, there are times when slanderers and gunk-mongers need to deal directly with the consequences of their behavior.
So is it a sin to get angry? No. Jesus got angry with those who wanted to catch Him out that time when He healed the man with the withered hand (Mark 3:5). But when Jesus got angry, the result was a man with a healed hand. When we give way to carnal anger (Jas. 1:20), the results are not in line with God’s righteousness. The contrast is between a healed hand and a hand with bruised knuckles from punching the sheetrock—a healed hand or a broken one.
It is therefore a sin to get angry in ways that are contrary to the Scriptures, but anger per se is not a sin. In Ephesians, we are told to “be angry” (and it is an imperative, a command), and “sin not.” The way we would sin is by letting the sun go down on our anger, letting it fester (Eph. 4:26). Righteous anger is like manna in jars—it goes bad overnight. So just a few verses later (v. 31), we are told to “put away” all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking.
So a backbiting tongue is an example of evil speaking, and the implication is that one of the ways for putting it away in ourselves is by getting (righteously) angry with the backbiter. But be careful. The edges of this knife are sharp, and a lot of people have cut themselves.