Summary: This series is about anger and how it affects us personally (mentally and physically) and how our enemy will use our anger to hinder our growth and testimony for the Lord.
Anger – Part 1
The title of this series is “Anger.” Anger is an emotion that is a part of all of our lives – some more than others. I want you to think about what you see when a cartoon character gets angry. Anyone see the movie “Inside Out?” That movie was about the emotions within a person. My favorite character in that movie was anger. When you see a cartoon character get angry, you see steam coming out of the ears, red creeping over the body from head to toe and then there is an emotional explosion. While it might be funny to watch in a cartoon, it's not as entertaining to witness in real life; in fact it can be extremely scary.
Anger is defined as “A state of indignation and outrage, often resulting from distress caused by injustice or insult.” People get angry all the time but the problem is what we are actually getting angry over. We oftentimes get angry over the wrong things and subsequently do not get angry over those things that we should get angry about. For example, some of us are angry about what is happening in America today which we should be, but we limit it to things that are “unacceptable” by the world’s standard. Racism, exploitation of women and children, and all types of discrimination and/or abuse against another person are situations that the world accepts as being okay for people to be angry over. However, things defined as sin by God, whom we claim to serve, do not make us angry. In some cases people get angry at us if we get angry at the things that angers God! The Scripture affirms God’s righteous anger against sin so we too should be angry at the sin that angers God.
As I have worked on the Bible study lesson and this series on anger, I have had to really examine my life. I won’t share with you how many times my anger has been displaced and displayed for all to see. There were times when I was growing up that I would walk around the house being angry. I would purposely make sure that my family knew that I was mad. My mother would look at me, smile (which angered me more because she was not responding the way I wanted her to) and say “Boy, why you walking around this house looking all swoll up?” I know the word “swoll” is not a word, but that’s what she would ask me. Four or five years ago my baby sister came to visit us and we all went to the mall. I was ready to leave but she and Nikki were not. I immediately started getting angry and my sister Kim said, "there he goes starting to get all swoll up!” I had to turn my back away because I was getting mad but I also did not want them to see me smiling at the memory of what my mother used to say. When I was a teenager I expressed my anger in different ways and it sometimes got me in trouble at home and in school. When I was in the 10th grade I was almost kicked out of school because of my anger but my grades got me a second chance. When I was in the military I had to learn to control my anger when I witnessed injustices so I learned to get quiet, which is the coping mechanism that I use today, so I do not say something I cannot take back. So knowing me the way that I do this message is very much so for me. In this series we will examine the effects of anger, the difference between righteous and unrighteous anger, and what the Scriptures say about anger (especially human anger.)
Let’s begin with our first example of human anger. You all remember the story of Cain and Abel. Let’s read Genesis 4:3-7. “So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it." (Genesis 4:3-7) When you examine what Cain experience, first he was disappointed that God did not accept his offering. We do not know, but for a moment he could have been disappointed or even angry at himself. Regardless, whatever he was feeling festered and his brother became the reminder of God not accepting his offering. Whenever he looked at his brother, he was reminded of his failure versus his brother’s success. Have you ever been there? Someone got the promotion that you wanted and/or deserved and every time you saw that person you were reminded of it so you got angry at that person? God recognized what was going through Cain’s mind and He attempted to guide Cain. He asked “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?” Then He told Cain, “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”