Summary: How anger can be good and bad


Part 5

It’s Just Emotion Taking Me Over

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pastor Brian Matherlee

Last week’s Fighter Verse—Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (NKJV)

Emotions are powerful, aren’t they? Are you an emotionally expressive person? Do you keep things close to your vest? When Loretta and I were planning to marry we went to pre-marital counseling. Dr. Clifton Wood gave us a personality inventory to see our compatibility in key areas. The results came back and he went through them with us. Our personalities tracked in a very similar way and that’s good. The negative side, he said, was that we could get in a rut because we were very similar with how we looked at and dealt with life. One of the categories explored how calm or anxious we were. The scale was 1 to 100 and mine actually charted off the scale on the low end. Dr. Wood asked Loretta if I was really that calm. She said, “Yes”. He then asked if anyone every wondered if I was alive! When we first married Loretta would tell people “he’s steady”. Now, that calm personality trait is described as “boring”.

It’s interesting how we put emotions in categories. According to the way I see people operate there are two basic categories of emotions:

A. Spiritual (one’s that God is pleased with)

a. Love

b. Joy

c. Patience

B. Demonic (one’s that Satan is pleased with)

a. Jealousy

b. Hate

c. Anger

Is it possible that we are looking at emotions wrong? Perhaps we should ask ourselves what our emotions are revealing about ourselves.

For instance, love is a powerful emotion. It causes us to do things we wouldn’t ordinarily do. It causes us to invest in things with great sacrifice because we value them so highly. But just because we love something doesn’t make it right. Jesus illustrates this fact when He told His disciples that the love of money was a divergent path away from God.

Another powerful emotion is jealousy. If someone is jealous we perceive that as a negative thing. But is it always? Not so. God describes himself as a “jealous God”—jealous for the benefit of the people of Israel. His desire was their purity and blessing because He knew how wonderful it would be. He was jealous of their affection and attention, their commitment. They would be blessed by these traits.

Today we’re going to look at an emotion the devil uses to get hold of us. It is most often perceived as negative but we’ll discover from the Scripture the good and the dark sides of anger.

What’s so good about anger?

• It was created by God to tell us something is wrong!

o It can be something is wrong that we should be offended by and need to act to remedy (Jesus in the temple courts enraged by the cheating money changers—Jesus angry with Peter for trying to interfere with His mission)

o It can be something is wrong within us and anger alerts us to our improper/even sinful response to something that needs to change within us.

• Anger is a protection against others violating us or attempting to improperly control us.

• Anger is a mechanism that forces pent up emotions to the surface. (That’s why communication is so important so that we ease open the flood gates and don’t allow the dam to burst.)

This isn’t exhaustive but it gives us a picture of the benefits.

What is dark about anger? When improperly expressed….

• It is used to manipulate, intimidate, squash any opposition to the expression of my, mine, and me.

• It is used to cover insecurities, sin, hurt.

• It is internally desired murder (Jesus said so in the Sermon on the Mount)

• It is destructive, divisive, demeaning.

• It separates us from people and most importantly God.

If anger is designed by God and twisted by the devil then how do we stomp out the snake bit pattern?

James 1:19-25

1. Pull up a chair

Everyone should be quick to listen (1:19)

2. The E. F. Hutton approach

Slow to speak (1:19)

(show video clip)

3. Lengthen your fuses

Slow to become angry (1:19)

4. Clean up

a. Get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent.

b. Paul was writing to believers.

c. Anger makes everyone around feel dirty

d. Immorality opens us up the “me first” mentality where anger begins.

e. Cain was told to beware because sin desired to have him and he was to master it. He didn’t and it led to the murder of his brother.

5. Have a teachable spirit

a. “humbly accept the word that was planted in you”

b. Jesus told a parable about 4 kinds of soil. A sower scattered seed and some fell on rocky soil, some along the path, some among thorns and some among good ground.

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