Summary: A Biblical approach to managing anger
How to handle anger
September 6, 1998
I. Mikey Mantle and Billy Martin’s hunting trip
A. Go to Mantle’s friend’s farm: Mantle and Martin go out to the farm, when they arrive Mantle goes to speak with his friend, friend has a dying mule and asks Mantle to shoot it for him, Mantle agrees
B. A bad joke: Mantle decides to play a joke on Martin, He gets into the truck acting angry, “That guy makes me so mad, I’m going to shoot his mule”, Martin objects but Mantle insists and pulls the truck up to the barn, runs in and shoots the mule, on the way out of the barn Mantle hears gunshots, he sees Martin out of the truck with his rifle out, “Martin what are you doing?” Martin yells back - “we’ll show him! I just shot two of his cows”
II. The problem with anger
A. What is anger: Anger is an extremely intnse response to a difficult situation, in christian cirles we avoid the subject of anger, it is the fuel for confrontation, so we don’t really know how to handle proper anger, many things ought to make us angry - social injustice, abortion, drunk driving billboards
B. Negative anger: We often apply anger to things in it’s negative sense, we see our society falling deeper and deeper into violence and destruction, we see how anger disrupts and destroys lives, can anger be positive?
C. Biblical perspective: “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.” Ephesians 4:26-27, there are two sides to anger - negative or sinful and the positive unsinful,
1. The anger of Jesus was caused:
Verse 11: Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
a. Jesus goes directly to the temple: Jesus has just entered the city, He was hailed by the people and had raised a great deal of enthusiasm with the crowds, Jesus goes straight to the temple, it had been a long day and a difficult journey, now he wanted to take some time to be in prayer in the Father’s house, Jesus arrives at the temple but does not worship, the sight he sees is so troubling to him that he does not stop to pray
b. Jesus sees everything: Jesus looks the temple over and sees everything, He more than likely looked over the outer courts and the inner courts, this is where the true problem existed, the outer court of the temple was for the gentile “God fearers”, this was to be a place for them to come and to pray, it was now filled with money changers and animal merchants, there was no possible way for gentiles to pray in this section of the temple, to make matters worse the merchants and money changers were dishonest with the people, they were making a fast buck off of people coming to worship
c. Jesus knows the time is not right: Jesus was anger at this point, he did not go into the temple to worship, action was needed to correct this problem, it was late in the day - creates two complications 1. Most of the common people were gone from the temple and this took away any chance to teach, 2. Jesus would face greater opposition from the chief priests, the timing was not right, so Jesus leaves Jerusalem for Bethany, no doubt planning a return visit for the next day
What we learn from Jesus: Be angry about things that matter, we often times get angry over petty issues that have no eternal significance, we argue and fuss over trivial things when the crucial is ignored, Jesus was angry because a social injustice was occurring
2. The anger was communicated
Verses 15 & 16: On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts.
a. Jesus puts anger into action: Jesus walks into Jerusalem and goes straight to the temple to do what he could not have done the earlier day, he takes care of business, Jesus immediately begins to drive out those in the courts both buying and selling, he faced the problem head on, he stopped it cold, he completely stopped the selling of merchandise, then he overturns the money changers tables, coins and currency went everywhere, the problem seemed to solved for the moment
b. Jesus is specific: In his anger Jesus does not take it out on innocent people, he is specific to those who were causing and perpetuating the problem, we often take our frustrations and anger out on the wrong people, the kick the cat syndrome, Jesus kept his focus on the problem and he did not lose that focus,