Summary: Anger is a big universal problem, so we need help, See Christ’s solution in building us up as new people in Him!

How to follow Jesus without embarrassing ourselves: Handling Anger

One preacher once said that we live in a world that has gone mad. I believe this statement. We are now hearing new terms to describe uncontrollable anger.

Yesterday, I heard a new term "rink rage"- phenomena of Hockey dads beating up on coaches cuz of goon tactics. Hockey coaches beating up on umpires. It is not limited to hockey, see Canadian wrath falling on pairs skating judges in the Olympics at Salt Lake City this past week.

Then we hear Road rage, Air Rage, rage here, rage there, rage everywhere...

The US beating up with air strikes on Afghanistan. Osama’s ilk beating up on American security. Richmond RCMP is hopping mad about picking up dead bodies from the street because of street racing. Teachers are angry, people in BC are angry because of Campbell’s cuts in the civil service. Everyday when I drive to work, I can’t help but feel people are mad at me because I drive too slow, not fast enough, or too fast. Kids are angry because their favourite TV shows on CBC are pre-empted for the Olympics. Allan Rock is angry at Paul Martin, and vice-versa as they publicly vie for who will succeed Jean Chretien as the head of the Liberal Party, that is if he ever retires from politics. Whole hosts of people are angry at Enron for losing their money. Slobodan Milosevic is angry that the prosecutors at the international war crimes tribunal is gholding him responsible for the massacres and mass deportations during the wars in Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo. If lynch mobs are legal the Pickton brothers, of the infamous Piggy Palace, would be tarred and feathered already. The whole world is mad indeed!

Oh yes, I am convinced that the battle of the ages still rages. And it’s white-hot. No matter how you label it, anger, or rather management of our anger, is a big problem. We must learn how to deal with our anger! And we need help! The Bible tells us to manage our anger. Eph 4:26-27 (NIV) says:

"In your anger do not sin" : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,

and do not give the devil a foothold.

Good that the Good Book says don’t sin in anger, but tell me how!

Here’s how: First thing, this text must not be isolated, or extracted from the rest of the context in which it was first written… so we must review the context of the text…

Review of our series so far in Ephesians:

A. God’s main occupation: God is madly in love, obsessed with one major building project: you and I. “I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it” (Matt.16:18, NLT)

B. God’s joy: The Apostle Paul was inspired to write about the “grace and peace” that’s ours from God (1:2). He outlined for us the fact that God’s blessing His church “with every spiritual blessing” in Christ out His pleasure and will (1:3) by telling us this was his plan even before he made the world and he enjoyed doing it (1:4-9) and it is now our “inheritance” from Him from his glorious riches (1:11).

C. God’s intimacy: This blessing is guaranteed by His deposit of His Spirit in us to be experienced (1:13-14). See this in this exciting intimate expression of the bride and bridegroom romance: “…Christ LOVED THE CHURCH and GAVE HIMSELF UP FOR HER to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (5:25-27, NIV)

D. God’s praise: All of these blessings ought to evoke a response of worship, of trust, of relationship with the Creator and Lover of all humankind (1:6,12).

E. Our Christian experience: That is why Paul prays that his readers will know, with faith and depth of spiritual insight and from their core of their being, that God loves and promises a glorious future for His bride, the church, whom He is committed to forever based on His covenant love, demonstrated with His blood through the Cross and firmly entrenched in the power of His resurrection from the dead. With that act of sacrificial love of atoning for the sins of the bride and snatching her from the grave by grace, God has demonstrated His power over all other powers or leaders to put life into order (1:15-23).

F. Our failure is God’s opportunity to shine: We were once dead unresponsive to God’s overtures of love (2:1-3). We can live out in impact of God’s love and grace and experience it more powerfully by remembering how frail and unresponsive to God we once were. The consequence of not remembering how far we have come has the result of us becoming arrogant and feeling less need for grace and God’s love to cover us and be dependent upon. “But because of his GREAT LOVE for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is BY GRACE you have been saved.” Eph.2:4-5(NIV). Our failures give opportunity for God to pour out His mercies, His grace, show off His kindness in Christ: “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” (2:6-7, NIV).

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