ANGER Management – Doing it God’s Way
INTRODUCTION: In Ecclesiastes 7:9 we read, “Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry, for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.” Now notice these verses:
In Psalms 37:8, “Cease from ANGER, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.”
In Proverbs 15:1-2, "A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up ANGER. The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.”
In Proverbs 15:18, “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to ANGER appeaseth strife.”
In Proverbs 16:32, "He that is SLOW TO ANGER is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city."
I would say that many of us have a problem dealing with anger effectively.
Anger has a way of disarming us, robbing us of our testimony, and injuring our relationships in both the home as well as in the church.
Anger is no humorous matter: Unless understood, admitted, and kept under control, it will literally slay us.
The word anger or angry is commonly used in connection with two other words: FRUSTRATION and AGGRESSION. Generally speaking, when a person is ANGRY, he becomes FRUSTRATED, and then expresses his frustration in some sort of AGGRESSIVE behavior.
One defined anger in this way, "Anger is an emotional reaction of hostility that brings personal displeasure either to ourselves or to someone else."
They went on to say this, “It can begin with mild irritation (an innocent experience of being upset) then turn to indignation (a feeling that something must be answered or avenged). Both irritation and indignation can go unexpressed. If fed, indignation leads to wrath, which never goes unexpressed. Then it increases to fury, which suggests violence (even less emotional control) and finally rage.
The philosopher Aristotle said: “Anybody can become angry. That is easy; but to be angry at the right person to the right degree at the right time for the right purpose in the right way is not within everybody’s power, and not easy.”
Why then should we become angry and frustrated because things don’t go our way? There are going to be some hurts in life. Along the way somebody is going to hurt you, do you wrong. When this happens there are four ways you can respond:
1. You can hurt them more – that’s REVENGE.
2. You can hurt them to the same degree – that’s RETRIBUTION.
3. You can ignore them – that’s INDIFFERENCE.
4. You can forgive them – that’s CHRISTIANITY. That‘s the Godly way, the Biblical way.
Anger is emotional immaturity.
Anger is symptomatic of arrested development somewhere along the way.
Anger is a sign of weakness, not strength.
Anger is a selfish manifestation of vengeance.
Remember that the Bible says in Romans 12:18-19,
“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. (19) Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
You and I are not here to help God repay. We would and we do make a mess of it. God knows how to apply vengeance. So here is a word of caution. ANGER CAN BE VERY COSTLY. Remember, “When ANGER rules the head, SIN reigns in the heart.”
Now in the New Testament one of the key passages on Anger is found in Ephesians 4:26-32 where we read,
“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: (27) Neither give place to the devil. (28) Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. (29) Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (30) And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (31) Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: (32) And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”
Here we have three Greek words for ANGER.
In verse 26 the word ANGER is the Greek word ORGIZO.
In verse 26 the word WRATH is the Greek word PARORGISMOS. This is an anger accomplished by irritation and embitterment.
In verse 31 the word WRATH is the Greek word THUMOS. This is an emotion that boils up and soon subsides then boils up again and then subsides. This is an anger that is sin.
From verse 26 I call your attention to three important distinctions.
1. Anger is a God given EMOTION. God is saying, "Get Mad! Become Angry!" There's something inhuman about a person who never gets angry or who shows no compassion or love or who shows no joy or sadness.
Remember, even God is a God of love as well as a God of wrath. These emotions are God-given, and He says to express them.
2. Anger is not necessarily SINFUL. In the Old Testament "the anger of the Lord" is mentioned no fewer than 18 times. For example:
Nehemiah 9:17, "…but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, SLOW TO ANGER, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not."
Nahum 1:3, "The Lord is SLOW TO ANGER, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked…"
Psalm 103:8-9, "The Lord is merciful and gracious, SLOW TO ANGER, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his ANGER forever."
Psalm 145:8, "The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; SLOW TO ANGER; and of great mercy."
In the New Testament we have some classic examples of Jesus anger, here is one of them:
Remember the two times in John 2:13-18 and Matthew 21:12-13 Jesus went into the Temple and drove out the money changers and merchants saying, "Make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise, but a house of prayer."
But on the other hand you know it is interesting how Jesus was very loving, compassionate and forgiving to sinners. He met them, loved them and sent them on their way saved and not holding their sin over them.
Such as Zachaeus, the wee little tax collector found in a tree.
Such as the Woman at the Well, who had had five husbands.
Such as the Woman taken in Adultery.
Again back to Ephesians 4:26, God is saying, "Be angry, and yet do not sin." NOT EVERY EXPRESSION OF ANGER IS WRONG. Be angry, but don't carry that anger to the point it becomes sin.
3. Anger must have SAFEGARDS. When Paul said, "Do not let the sun go down on your anger," he meant don't prolong your anger. In other words clear it up before you turn in. Get up and address the issue even if you have to get up and make a phone call or get in your car and go to someone. Another safeguard in verse 27, "Do not give the Devil an opportunity."
Under the control of the Devil, anger will turn to wrath, bitterness, resentment and or lashing out with evil speaking.
In contrast, under the control of the Holy Spirit, the character of Christ will have its way, in His love, His gentleness, His compassion, His Joy and His concern that will flow freely.
Now when we give the Devil an opportunity – we enter into what we call UNJUSTIFIABLE ANGER. When is anger unjustified?
First: Unjustifiable anger comes from the wrong motive. A perfect example of this would be the Prodigal Son's older brother who did not share his father's joy over the younger son's return. Notice how his anger resulted from an unjustified jealousy in Luke 15:28-31,
"And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and in treated him. (29) And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: (30) But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. (31) And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine."
When we are jealous of some other person, our response is frequently one of anger, especially when that other person receives commendation or promotion or attention from others, we believe should have been given to us.
Second: Unjustifiable anger comes when things don't go our way. Jonah is a classic example here.
He was angry at God for even thinking of sending him to Nineveh, so he went against God and for that ended up in a Whale of a problem. Yes, he repented and he was vomited out of the belly of a whale.
After preaching repentance to the people of the city of Nineveh, he now gets angry because possibly up to a half a million people repented. Jonah did not want Nineveh to repent; he wanted God to destroy them. He got angry because things didn't go his way.
Afterward the Lord said in Jonah 4:4, "Do thou well to be angry?" But Jonah went to a hillside, refusing to answer the Lord. He sat down under a nice, leafy gourd vine to enjoy a little shade and forget about Nineveh. But a little worm ate up that plant. Jonah got hot and begged God to take his life.
Then God said to Jonah in chapter 4 verse 9 "Do thou well to be angry of the gourd?" And Jonah answered and said, do well to be angry, even unto death.”
The real test of our Christianity is not when we sit in church on Sunday or Wednesday's, but when we are faced with people situations throughout the week all around us that test our resolve and things don't go our way.
Third: Unjustifiable anger comes when we react too quickly without investigating the facts.
In Ecclesiastics 7:8-9 we read, "…the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry; for anger resteth in the bosom of fools."
In James 1:19 we are told, "…let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath."
Showing a patient spirit and hearing a matter out is better than just hearing its beginning. If we are eager in our hearts to be angry, we're foolish. How true that is even with spiritual matters as well as matters within the church.
Too much is made of things that have not been heard out completely from the person concerned or the situation at hand. All too often we just jump at a situation we hear of without investigating the facts. In many cases when we hear the other side of the story we will not be soon angry. Or perhaps even if it is true, steps have been made to correct the situation.
Too much is made of things and not enough is searched out in the Word of God and in prayer to find the Mind of God. We put too much of our human feelings into it with legalistic ideals and are not really concerned with the counsel from “thus saith the Lord."
In Proverbs 16:32 we read, "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he who ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city."
Fourth: Unjustifiable anger comes when children are dealt with unfairly by parents.
In Ephesians 6:4, we read, "…Fathers provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
In Colossians 3:21 we read, "Fathers provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged."
Discipline is right and proper, but discipline in anger is wrong.
How do we WIN over ANGER? In light of what has been said:
In Colossians 3:8-10 we read, “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. (9) Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; (10) And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:” Again notice verse 8, “But now ye also put off all these; anger…
In the book of Proverbs, God offers four specific directives for dealing with anger.
Number 1: Learn to ignore petty disagreements. In Proverbs 19:11 we read, "The discretion of a man deferreth his anger, and it is his glory to pass over a transgression." In God's eyes it is glory if you are big enough to overlook an offense. Don't be defensive about your rights. Be willing to give.
Proverbs 16:32, "He that is SLOW TO ANGER is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city."
Proverbs 14:17, "He that is SOON ANGRY dealeth foolishly; and a man of wicked devices is hated."
It takes two to quarrel. If you see an angry disagreement coming, back off. Learn to ignore petty differences. Learn to use these words:
I'm sorry, please forgive me.
I love you, how may I help you?
Number 2: Refrain from close association with angry people. Again from Proverbs 22:24-25 we read, "Make no friendship with an ANGRY man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go, lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul." We become like those with whom we spend our time.
If I hang around people who are negative, I become negative.
If I spend time with a rebel, I will become rebellious and angry.
If I spend time around those who gossip, I will become just like them.
Do not hang around an angry person. Rather keep anger in its place as a tool to help people, and use it only when you have decided that those you love need you to use it.
Number 3: Keep close check on your tongue. More than any slanderous event, any immoral act, or any unwise financial dealings THAT WHICH BREAKS UP A CHURCH QUICKEST IS AN UNCHECKED TONGUE. Someone said, "The only edged tool that gets sharper with use is a tongue."
Proverbs 15:1, "A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up ANGER."
Proverbs 21:23 "Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue, keepeth his soul from troubles."
Number 4: Cultivate honesty in communication. Don't let anger build up.
Again in Proverbs 19:11 we read, "The discretion of a man deferreth his anger, and it is his glory to pass over a transgression."
Proverbs 27:4-6, "WRATH is cruel, and ANGER is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy? Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful"
Returning to Ephesians 4:25 we read, "Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another." There is no substitute for total honesty, spoken in love.
Here are four more suggestions to consider in order to keep anger in control.
- List what makes you angry.
- List those things about which you will allow yourself to be angry.
- Try to avoid THINGS and PEOPLE who make you angry.
- Use anger to help or solve the problem.
Now, right after you have taken a swing at what makes you angry, then clean up your act by expressing your love for the individual and be sure to make suggestions on how the situation can be improved or solved..
It is a disgrace the way God's people often treat each other at home as well as at church. It is a wicked sin. It is selfishness. God's people need to decide to be decent and to get their tempers under control.
Again in Ephesians 4:31 we read, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:” Here we have the results of a devil controlled temper – "bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, and evil speaking…"
Again in Ephesians 4:32 we read, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.” Here we have the results of a Holy Spirit controlled mind and heart. Let me repeat –
Kindness – the gracious ability to wipe the slate clean.
Tenderness – the ability to weep with the ones who hurt.
Forgiveness – fully able to forgive like Christ did for us.
One day an elderly man stopped to see a pastor and asked if he would perform a wedding for him and his former wife. Here is his story.
"Both of us have been married before, TO EACH OTHER! Over 30 years ago, we got into an argument, I got mad and we separated. Then we did a stupid thing and got a divorce. I guess we were both too proud to apologize. Well, all those years we've lived alone, and now we see how foolish we've been. Our bitterness has robbed us of the joys of life, and now we want to remarry and see if the Lord won't give us a few years of happiness before we die."
BITTERNESS AND ANGER, usually over trivial things, makes havoc of homes, churches, and friendships. Let's not let the devil use this to wreck ours.
If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon "ANGER Management – Doing It God’s Way" right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please let me know. Please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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