Summary: Part three of this series demonstrates how even our righteous anger , depending on how we deal with it, can cause us to sin against God.
Anger – Part 3
This message is part 3 of my series on anger. Last week I told you that there are people who have gotten angry on their jobs, spoke out their supervisors and got fired. These same people ultimately got another job and testified about how good God was that He promoted them to another position and company. In reality, God probably had nothing to do with them getting fired, but it was a result of their own anger. My point with this is that we often justify the results of our anger by saying the end results were a blessing from God. Our anger, when released in a sinful manner, is never a blessing of God. We need to understand this now. This morning we will examine a situation where someone’s anger caused them to be terminated from what God had called them to do. Yes, our anger and get us to a point where God may not be able to fulfill His plans for our lives. Before we go there, please turn with me to the book of Ephesians, chapter four. We will begin reading at verse twenty-six.
“BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” (Ephesians 4:26-32; 5:1-2)
Paul wrote that we should be angry and not sin. Now, do you recall the story I shared with you in part two from Numbers chapter sixteen about the 250 princes of Israel who came against Moses and Aaron? Remember how Moses responded? He became very angry but he withheld himself from doing anything against those men. What he did do was go to God in prayer. It was God who handled the situation on Moses behalf. We may not experience those “Moses” moments, but the Spirt of God who dwells within us is able to help us experience a level of control over our anger that we otherwise could never achieve on our own. This is why Paul could say “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.” It is possible that we can get angry and not sin.
During our last Bible study we talked about these verses. I asked the class why we tend to believe that if someone is angry with us and they are “going off” on us either through a live conversation, phone call or text message we feel obligated to listen to them and hear them out. We talked about the fact that we are not required to stand or sit by and allow someone to verbally abuse us because they are angry. Why do I say this? Because many times their anger is transferred to us in how they are talking to us. We might not be angry at the level that they are but half way through their yelling we too have reach the boiling point and respond in kind. What I shared with the class is that we should always keep control of ourselves. When we allow someone else to get into our heads through their anger and influence us to act like them we release control of ourselves over to them. We should never allow someone else to control us and cause us to step outside of the boundaries that we have set for ourselves. When we allow someone to control our emotion and our responses, we do exactly what Paul said we should not do, “…give the devil an opportunity.” Our enemy will take that small opportunity and before we know it we are caught up in a situation that causes us to sin against God.
This is the situation that Moses and Aaron found themselves in when leading the Children of Israel out of Egypt. For thirty-eight years they had led these people through the wilderness because they refused to enter the Promised Land when they first arrived. Moses and Aaron therefore could not enter either and had to wonder the wilderness with these people until the adults who originally refused to enter died off. In this next example, we will see how easy it is to allow the anger and frustrations of others to make us angry and frustrated to the point where we actually sin against the God we are serving. The first example we discussed in part two where Moses had men coming against him and he went to God in prayer, he responded correctly. Now turn to Numbers chapter twenty. This situation with Moses happened after the 250 princes had come against him and perished.