Summary: Anger, unresolved anger is a very serious issue. At the heart of it is our lack of honesty with each other
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Lose bad temper and gain positive boundaries
We are starting a series on bad temper, so just in case any one is wondering that was a setup, an example of how anger can get out of hand.
Let me give you another example from the animal kingdom.
Ginger the bad tempered cat
Anger, unresolved anger is a very serious issue. At the heart of it is our lack of honesty with each other. Anger at what someone else has done, what they have said, the way they have looked at us. It can burn within us, and if left there, turns into bitterness and eats us up. For many years the way we handled anger in the church was to ignore it, sweep it under the carpet. The way we handled conflict was to avoid it altogether. But that is not healthy, nor is it the way God wants us to live. One of the key issues for me when I am doing pre marriage counseling is to try to give the couple tools with which to fight. Not power tools, or pots and pans to throw at each other, but rather healthy ways to express anger, disappointment, disagreement. Unresolved anger may be the most devastating emotion to relationships, within marriage, within families, within the church, within the community. It alienates people without them even knowing why, it promotes church division through stealth.
The problem is, many of us are angry, but fail to see it as such. We are clever at rationalizing it away. We might say we have forgiven people, but then manage to bring it back up as fuel for fire at our leisure. That is not forgiveness. Anger and unforgiveness are still there. Or, if we do recognize we are angry, then we tend to downplay it, as though that is no big deal.
Lets have a look at Ephesians 4
25So put away all falsehood and "tell your neighbor the truth"[d] because we belong to each other. 26And "don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you."[e] Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil.
Other versions might say, "Be angry and sin not." Basically both these versions are saying this same thing. You will get angry, and I would say there are times you must get angry, but it is what you do with that anger that is important, and what we are talking about this morning, Lose bad temper and gain positive boundaries,
So how do we deal with our anger?
A lady once came to Billy Sunday, perhaps the most famous evangelist and preacher of the early 1900s, and tried to rationalize her angry outbursts. "There’s nothing wrong with losing my temper," she said. "I blow up, and then it’s all over."
"So does a shotgun," Sunday replied, "and look at the damage it leaves behind!"
According to J. Adams, a leading reformed theologian, psychiatrist, and Christian counselor, "the prevailing school of thought in modern psychiatry, group therapy, and anger management programs is that angry and hostile feelings toward others is never wrong, but that the best way to deal with one’s anger is by venting one’s feelings in a controlled environment." Often the major thrusts of these groups is to provide an opportunity for angry people to express their "hang-ups" and hostilities by encouraging them to vent their feelings by beating pillows.