Summary: This series aims to narrow the gap between scriptural instruction and our day-to-day challenges.
Help Me, I’m Angry
Tuff Stuff Series - #7
Gages Lake Bible Church
Sunday PM, October 4th, 2009
Pastor Daniel Darling
Everybody it seems is angry these days. You turn on the cable news shows and instead of getting your fix of news, you get loud opinions, angry shouting, and harsh words.
You drive down the road and instead of peacefully enjoying the scenery, you’re subjected to honking, flipping, and cutting off.
Some go home and instead of finding their castle to be a place of refuge, it’s a place of anger, shouting, and threats.
You go online and read news articles and what do you see in the comments section? Anger. Unbridled, uncontrolled anger.
Anger is even taking control of churches. In the last month, I’ve heard of two or three shouting matches that have taken place among believers in churches.
Uncontrolled anger has its nasty fingerprints all over our society. But does it have to be?
What Does the Bible Say About Anger?
One thing that may surprise you is that the Bible doesn’t call anger a sin. In fact, anger is a natural, normal, God-given human emotion.
It is uncontrolled anger that is a sin. We read in Proverbs:
"A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control." Proverbs 29:11
In Ephesians 4:25, we’re told to “be angry and sin not.” I like the way the New Living Translation reads. It reads, “Don’t sin by letting anger control you.”
Tonight I’d like to divide this study up into three parts. 1) Misplaced Anger 2) Good Anger 3) Controlling our Anger
1) Misplaced Anger - Misapplied Justice
The Bible records several places of misplaced anger and its damaging, devastating results. Perhaps the most powerful story is that of Moses.
Moses had an unusual life and was called by God to lead His people from the bondage of Israel. If you study the life of Moses as I have, you’ll quickly realize that Moses knew, from a very early age, that he was marked for something special.
Hebrews says there was a time that Moses purposefully rejected the throne of Egypt, because He felt God tugging his heart toward his people.
And the longer Moses looked out at the plight of his people, the more his anger stirred at the injustice. We read in Stephen’s account in the book of Acts:
And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel.
And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian:
For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.
Acts 7:23-25 (KJV)
Moses cause was right. Moses heart pricked at the injustice of his own people. Furthermore, Moses was in a position to do something about this situation.
But Moses was impulsive, quick tempered, and instead of seeking God’s will, instead of relying on God, Moses relied on his instincts.
Proverbs 14:17 says, “He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly.”
Here is something we need to learn as believers. We can be right in our cause, but wrong in our reaction. And in a split second, we take the place of God and may do something that will cause a lifetime of regret.
As a parent, I’m keenly aware of this. So often our kids will do things that absolutely disappoint us and anger us. And our first reaction is to respond with anger, uncontrolled anger. And we could easily do more damage to them in our response than the initial issue they had.
I’m not saying we should be wimpy and never stand up and confront issues. We’ll see later that Jesus Himself demonstrated some anger at injustice. But we must be surrendered to the power of the Holy Spirit and not act impulsively in our flesh.
One of the best verses to know this:
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
James 1:19-20 (KJV)
James is saying this. The wrath of man doesn’t work the righteousness of God. When we act outside of God’s will and try to control people by fear and intimidation and anger, we try to do God’s work for them.
I’ll never forget a time, many, many years ago, when I foolishly reacted in anger. I was in a staff meeting and felt that one of the other staff people had really gone out of his way to embarrass one of my pet projects that I felt was a worthwhile ministry project.
I got back to my office and fired off a nasty email. I mean I didn’t hold back. I didn’t mince words. And then I hit “send” without hesitation.