Summary: Dealing with Anger

Turning Anger into Forgiveness

A sermon on Matthew 5:21-26

This morning I would like to talk about anger, and what we do with our anger.

Would you like that gift wrapped?

I read last week how: ‘A man’s went out one Saturday running errands. After spending five hours waiting in line at the Department of Motor Vehicle Services, he stopped at Toys-R-Us to pick up a birthday present for his son. He picked out a baseball bat for his son’s birthday present and went to the cash register. "Will that be cash or charge?" the clerk asked. "Cash," he snapped back. Then he caught Himself. “Oh I’m sorry” he apologized. “I just spent the entire afternoon waiting in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles and then they told me I didn’t have the correct information! And I’m a little angry!” "Oh I see” replied the cashier. “Would you like me to gift-wrap that bat or are you going right back there?"‘

January’s Sermon Series

Sue and I are preaching this month a series entitled, ‘Extreme Makeover Christian Edition’. And this morning I would like to talk about anger, and what we do with our anger. We’ll be looking in the fifth chapter of Mathew’s Gospel. If you have your Bibles with you, why don’t you take them out and turn to the fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. We’ll be looking at verses twenty one through twenty six.

Anger is commonplace

Anger is a very common theme in the Bible. If you got out your concordance and looked up words like anger and wrath, you’d see that those words are used hundreds and hundreds of times in the Bible. [1] And that is because anger and frustration are very common experiences in life.

If you don’t like it find another job!

I remember, one summer in Grad School I was hired for the summer as a Coordinator at a city owned day care center. It was an enjoyable summer, working with children, especially taking them on field trips, which we did twice a week. But the second week I was there, we took a field trip to a big regional park and during the free time segment the staff took the children wading. But the next day the area supervisor came to our center and told me that we had violated city policy and I was being given a two day suspension because I was in charge. I protested the suspension. We had not been informed of this policy I reminded him because there had been a meeting scheduled the previous week to go over the specific policies for bringing children to pools and water events, something we did every week, but my supervisor, the man standing there in front of me giving me this suspension, had personally cancelled the meeting at the last minute and had not yet rescheduled it. And he hadn’t yet distributed any of the printed information that would have informed us of the policy, a policy we would be more than glad to carry out. I protested that I shouldn’t be held responsible for violating a policy that neither the staff nor my self had been informed of by him. He had cancelled the informational meeting and had not rescheduled it. I protested that this suspension was unfair. But my supervisor’s only words to me after my diatribe were, ‘If you don’t like it find another job!’ And I got angry. What he was doing was unfair. Really it was his fault that we had violated the policy and I imagined he was getting grief from the higher ups and was now shifting the blame to me. And now he was adding insult to injury by informing me that I was totally expendable. There was no corporate loyalty here. But he was a hard man. He said again, ‘If you don’t like it get another job.’ So I took the suspension. It isn’t easy to find summer jobs and I needed the money. But I was angry. I was being treated unjustly. And I thought, ‘I have a right to be angry.’

‘Be angry but do not sin’

We all get angry at times. Life hands us many frustrations. Everyone gets angry at times. In the Bible, God gets angry. [2] Jesus got angry. Anger is not necessarily sinful or bad. It can be. But it is not categorically so. But what we do with our anger is a different story. That is why, for example, that the Apostle Paul wrote, as we see up on the screen, ‘Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger. [3] The thought is along the lines of, ‘Be careful what you do with your anger. And don’t hang on to anger for ever.’ And those are the two themes I’d like to explore this morning as we think about the Extreme Christian Makeover of our lives.

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