Thesis: It is not a sin to be angry if anger is handled properly.
1. Illust. Everyone has his/her pet peeve. Mine is bonehead motorists. You know the type-- the kind who see a sign that says, "Right lane closed ahead, merge left," and zoom past a long line of cars on the left and push in at the last possible minute. What gets to you? What "rattles your chain?" An insensitive boss/co-worker? People who are not courteous enough to be on time? A selfish family member? Someone who insists on being the center of attention?
2. Phil Slate, a professor of preaching and missions at HGSR, once said that the number one struggle of Christian people on a day-in, day-out basis is anger. I think he may be right!
a. PROBLEM: Most Christians feel anger in & of itself is wrong. Not so.
b. Anger can lead to sin, but it doesn't have to.
c. Paul gives us some practical teaching on anger in Eph. 4:25-27.
I. BE ANGRY.
A. The Bible takes a realistic view--are going to be angry.
1. Illust. Have you ever got into an argument with someone and accused them of being angry? "You're getting angry," you might say. "I am not angry!" they scream back. Why do we deny anger? Because we think it's wrong.
2. Anger in and of itself is not wrong.
a. What anger may lead to is wrong.
b. God told an angry Cain to "get a grip on himself" because "sin was crouching at his door" (Gen. 4:7).
B. When anger rears its ugly head in your life, remember "sin is crouching at your door." You do, however, have a choice of doing three things:
1. REPRESS ANGER.
a. Rather than express anger, keep it inside.
1) Not a healthy thing to do--either spiritually or psychologically, or even physiologically!
2) Illust. Dr. Walter Cannon, a pioneer researcher in psychosomatic medicine at Harvard Univ., describes what happens to the human body when it becomes angry: "Respiration deepens; the heart beats more rapidly; the arterial pressure rises; the blood is shifted from the stomach and intestines to the heart, central nervous system, and the muscles; the processes of the alimentary canal cease; sugar is freed from the reserves in the liver; the spleen contracts and discharges its contents of concentrated corpuscles, and adrenalin is secreted." You don't want to hold all of that in! It will make you sick!
b. Repressed anger will eventually come out!
1) Anger is a subtle emotion--it's often veiled behind other emotions because we're afraid to acknowledge it.
2) The number one cause of depression is repressed anger.
3) The Bible says: "Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many" (Heb. 12:14-15).
2. EXPRESS ANGER.
a. Don't keep it inside--let it out--vent it!
b. Advice given in not-too-distant-past by many counselors.
1) Beat pillow, pound board with a hammer.
2) Found that this feeds anger; trains body.
c. Giving full vent to our anger is not the teaching of Scripture:
1) Prov. 29:11--"Fool gives full vent to his anger; wise man keeps himself controlled."
2) Ps. 37:8--"Refrain from anger & turn from wrath; do not fret--it only leads to evil"
3. PROCESS ANGER.
a. Someone has said: "If you don't talk it out, you'll take it out." Anger turned OUT leads to aggression; anger turned IN leads to depression.
b. The key to anger is doing something constructive about it quickly (Eph. 4:26-27).
II. BE ANGRY ... AND SIN NOT. < A plan for dealing with anger >
A. Analyze the Situation.
1. What is my responsibility?
a. Is this person in my life for only a moment? (Forget about it and go on.)
b. Is this person in my life on a regular basis? (Requires something more.)
2. What is my part in the problem? (Does my behavior make others hostile--and then I become angry in return?)
B. Confess Your Anger to Another Person.
1. This is a good way to keep from expressing/repressing anger.
2. It helps simply to say, "I'm angry and here's why ..."
3. If you can't say that to the person who makes you angry, say it to someone else who can help you analyze the situation.
C. Determine to forgo vengeance.
1. Illust. Blind man was guided thru busy traffic by his seeing-eye dog. Dog took man across street at wrong time, nearly killing him. Man took dog home and gave him a fat, juicy steak. Friends couldn't believe he'd be so nice. "I'm not, he said. As soon as I find out which end he eats with I'm going to kick his teeth out!"