Summary: An Inductive sermon on How To Overcome Anger
A "Do it yourself" catalog firm received the following letter from one of its customers: "I built a birdhouse according to your stupid plans, and not only is it much too big, it keeps blowing out of the tree. Signed, Angry
The firm replied: "Dear Angry, We’re sorry about the mix-up. We accidentally sent you a sailboat blueprint. But if you think you are mad, you should read the letter from the guy who came in last in the yacht race."
I’m going to have to start out this morning by being dreadfully honest with you. I had an anger problem in high school. It was horrible. I remember one instance where I really got in trouble. I was sitting in accounting class my junior year of high school, minding my own business. There was a girl in my class, and we generally got along. However, there were those times when she got on my nerves.
She kept tapping her pencil on the table. Tap tap tap tap tap tap tap….I was just getting more and more frustrated. I asked her to stop. *Stop Tapping* It just lasted a little while then….tap tap tap tap. I asked her to stop again. She said sorry, but…the taping continued. I probably asked her to stop four or five times. I was going bananas. I grabbed her pencil, snapped it in half and grabbed my books and walked out of the room.
My principal, Mr. Chance found out about my “heinous crime” and told me he wanted to talk to me in his office after lunch. Uh-oh, I was in deep, deep trouble. I became even angrier because she told on me. It was just a stupid pencil I broke. I planned on giving her another one. However, I didn’t except her to go tell.
I went into the mens restroom madder than a hornet. I was plotting revenge and just grunting and pacing. I slammed my fist into the paper towel dispenser. I put a decent little dent into it. Of course, I wasn’t smart enough to check to see if anyone was in the stalls before I went on my temper tantrum. Mr. Chance was in there…It was a bad day. It always seems like to me, anger is always out to stab me in the back. I get mad, something happens to make me angrier, then I do something else…it’s a never-ending circle of rage.
However, here’s the thing that got me. I didn’t want to be angry. Do you? I mean c’mon, it’s a frustrating, annoying way to live isn’t it? Wouldn’t you prefer to live without high blood pressure and constant headaches? Not to mention the relationship troubles that anger has a tendency to cause.
I think it would be safe to say that none of you, deep down inside, really want to live lives full of anger and frustration.
So what can we do to end it? We can get counseling, or go through an anger management class, or even to jail. But is that going to really help? Perhaps if we look at some of the reasons people get angry, and we can extinguish this rage.
One of the earliest possible examples of anger that I can find is in the Bible. The story of Cain and Abel is really a sad story of jealousy, resentment, and anger.
Cain was a man who loved to work with the ground. He would grow fruits, and vegetables of all sorts. Abel on the other hand was a shepheard. He was the guy who kept the eye on the sheep.
It came time for them to give an offering to the Lord, and Abel brought the best of his young sheep. He brought the fattest youngling to give as an offering, and Cain brought some of his vegetables. God smiles on Abel’s offering, but not Cain’s. We don’t know why this is. Some speculate that it wasn’t the best of his crop, which was likely the case. Regardless, God did not smile upon Cain’s offering.
Cain was mad. He was really mad. In fact, it must’ve been bad enough for God to check Cain about it. In verse 6 God says to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."
However, Cain did not listen. He tricked his brother by telling him to come out to the field, and he attacked him and killed him, just because he was jealous.
There are people today who still get so jealous they kill someone else. I am glad I have never been at that point, but so many have. I’ll tell you another reason we get angry. This one is especially prevalent among children: When some people do not get their way? They get mad. One of the students on my bus has a major problem with this. He is likely spoiled at home. His mother walks him to the bus every morning, hugs him and kisses him and says, “Have a good day.” I really hate when she says that, because he responds with, “I will.” And comes onto the bus and is a terror.