Summary: This sermon looks at how to overcome anger in a godly way based on Ephesians 4:26-32

Breaking Free Series Part 5


June 29, 2008

Acknowledgement (Doug Fields, Saddleback Church)

We are in part 5 of a series we’re calling “Breaking Free”. This series is about sins that entangle us. We want to look at what the Bible has to say about these sins and how to be set free.

Most people view anger only as a problem, something negative, and something to be avoided. Why is it that of all the various emotions anger has such a bad reputation? Why is it that so many people have a totally negative view of the emotion of anger? Is all anger bad? Is it always a sin to be angry? Is it possible for the energy of this "enemy" emotion to be constructively redirected? Can anger be used to mobilize us rather than neutralize us? In what ways can this unwelcome and potentially destructive emotion be considered a gift rather than a time-bomb?

Today we’re talking about anger. Anger is a big issue in people’s lives. We often think of an angry person as someone who explodes. But that is only one side of anger. Anger is often shoved down and not expressed. I see it in people’s lives, they tell me about it. I watch what anger does. Anger is very destructive.

I did a Bible search for the word anger or angry. Those words came up 384 times. God has a lot to say about anger.

There is God’s anger and peoples anger. There are those who are victims of anger.

In my world I often come across people who have been on the receiving end of someone’s uncontrolled anger. The results have been abuse, physical or emotional or mental. I am so sorry for your pain. I want to say as a pastor my desire is that the Holy Spirit heals you. My desire is to come alongside you and help you. Many who are victims of anger are very reluctant to come forward and get help and that it takes great, great courage. So one I’d say I’m sorry for your pain and two, let Calvary come alongside and help you in that pain.

We don’t want to repeat that cycle of anger. So you want to get help on how you deal with anger. That’s what we’re talking about, what happens to you and me when we get angry, and how do we deal with it in a godly way.

Personally I have a lot of experience with anger. For me it shows up in impatience. It is impatience when something does not work. When the door handle falls apart. When the car breaks down. When the eavestrough leaks. When the toilet doesn’t work. Impatience is a form of anger.

I don’t like what anger does to me. I don’t like the emotion that I feel when I experience it. I know for a fact that my misappropriated anger has hurt relationships. I had to apologize to my wife last week about it. I have had to apologize to my kids. I know I’ve wounded friendships. I know that I’ve scared my children. I know that I’ve said things to my wife out of anger that I regret.

Sadly I know anger well.

But as I said last week, this is not just about me. This is about you, how the Holy Spirit wants to cleanse your life. This is about how the Bible can apply directly to your life. Are you open to the Spirit of God cleansing you?

You may think that’s not me. You may think I am not swearing, punching things, kicking things. Anger has many faces. I have seen Christians get really angry at another believer because they don’t believe something in the same way they do. Many have anger and live in denial.

On your outline are the many faces of anger. Now were going to do a little self-inventory. I want you to check off the ones that apply to you.

Impatience comes over me more frequently than I like

I nurture critical thoughts quite easily

When I am unhappy with someone I shut down communication

Tension amounts within me when I tackle a demanding task

I feel frustrated when I see someone with fewer struggles than me

When I talk about my irritations I don’t like hearing an opposing viewpoint

When someone confronts me with a misinformed position, I am thinking of my rebuttal as they speak

I struggle emotionally with the things in life that are not fair

When someone openly speaks ill of me, my natural response is to think of how I can defend myself

Sarcasm is a trait I use in expressing humor

Although it may not be right, I blame others for my problems

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