Summary: Anger is something we all experience. How does the Bible deal with it? Our text says, "Be angry and do not sin ..." Let us deal with that today.
Be Angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger. [NASB]
Who this week has been angry? Just out and out mad at someone or something?
▪ You have been stuck in a long traffic jam or you have got behind the slowest driver in the whole world and as usual you are in a hurry.
▪ You were waited on by the world’s rudest store clerk.
▪ Your boss or perhaps a family member has just made life miserable for you within your little kingdom.
** When these things happen, or something similar [you name it], we get angry! This feeling of anger just seems to be so natural for all of us. “Anger’ is something that we ALL identify with. At one time or another, we have All gotten angry at someone or something to one degree or another.” - [Ray Scott, Pastor of Priscilla Baptist Church, The Danger of Anger, a sermon on Ephesians 4:26, SermonCentral.com]
I. DEFINITION OF ANGER
A. World’s Definition
Many see anger only as a bad trait:
▪ Bad temper – often our fury gets the best of us and we loose our temper
▪ Rage – exasperation overtakes all emotions and we lash out to those closest
▪ Seething – indignation over some incident which will often just constantly churn away our insides
Funk & Wagnall Standard Desk Dictionary, Vol. 1, 1979: Anger – “a feeling of sudden and strong displeasure and antagonism directed against the cause of an assumed wrong or injury; wrath; ire.”
Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Ed., 2000: Anger – “a strong feeling of displeasure and usually of antagonism [opposition of a conflicting force, tendency, or principle].”
Greek meanings “within our text” seem to indicate that it is not a bad trait – instead anger is seen as a passion of nature that needs to be controlled and used properly:
▪ (1st usage) – Greek verb, orgizesthe, means: [you] to be angry, wroth (exasperated – [Strong]; filled with anger, furious, incensed – [F & W Dict.]), provoke to arouse to anger. - [Vine’s Expository Dictionary]
▪ (2nd usage) – Greek noun, parorgismo, means: provocation – carries with it a just occasion for the initial feeling. – [Vine’s]
II. PURPOSE OF ANGER
Anger is a natural instinct which prepares our body for survival.
▪ Perhaps a good example of this would be a soldier in battle. He is watching his comrades dying due to the enemy’s favorable position over them. This soldier’s anger begins building up to a boiling point as to where he will then react to destroy that which has threatened his and his fellow soldiers’ lives.
▪ “What happens if you see a stranger fighting with your child or grandchild. Maybe they are trying to force them into their car. You get MAD … you get Angry!
What happens? Your heart beats faster … the adrenaline begins to flow … more sugar is released into your body … your blood pressure rises … the pupils of your eyes open wide … you become highly alert. [Your] body is prepared for action … power becomes available for you to assert yourself.” - [Ray Scott. The Danger of Anger. SermonCentral.com]
** Anger is beneficial when put to proper use. It is a preservative of our well being. Unfortunately, due to our fallen nature and being left to our flesh anger becomes more destructive than productive in our lives.
Anger is righteous indignation – this we see illustrated by Christ.
▪ Jesus was angry at the Pharisee’s hard hearts
He entered again into a synagogue; and a man was there whose had was withered. They [Pharisees] were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. He said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” And He said to them [Pharisees] “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent. After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.
▪ Jesus was angry with the money changers at the cleansing of the Temple
The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house will consume me.”