Summary: We learn that anger is an important emotion, and is a signal that something needs to be addressed. We also learn some strategies to help have a love that is not easily angered.
A. The story is told of an elderly woman who was preparing to pull her expensive Cadillac into a parking space when a teenager cut her off and quickly stole her parking space.
1. The young man jumped out of his car and shouted, “Oh, to be young and fast!”
2. The elderly lady didn’t flinch, but began using her Cadillac as a battering ram to demolish the young man’s car.
3. The teen boy helplessly stood there, unable to stop the elderly woman.
4. When the woman was finished, she rolled down her window and shouted, “Oh, to be old and rich!”
B. Fact is, young or old, we all struggle to some degree or another with anger.
1. People in the mental health profession say that we live in “the age of rage.”
2. And if you spend any time in public, then you have witnessed people’s rage, whether it be behind the wheel of a car, or at the customer service desk.
3. Studies reveal that the average man loses his temper about 6 times a week and often gets mad at things more than people.
a. Whereas the average woman loses her temper about 3 times a week and gets mad at people more than things.
4. Studies show that anger is usually expressed in 2 extreme ways – we either “blow up” or we “clam up.”
5. And sadly, we are more likely to express our anger at home than anywhere else.
a. On average, over half of the murders in the U.S. are committed by people who knew the victim.
b. On average, 6 million wives are beaten by their husbands every year.
c. And 10 million children are beaten by their parents every year.
6. This is all very tragic and it should not be done, especially to people we supposedly love.
C. So we are in a sermon series called “All You Need is Love,” and we are trying to learn how to make love a way of life.
1. So far we have learned that love is the most important thing, and that love comes from God.
2. We have learned that it is important for us to learn how to love ourselves as well as love others.
3. We have also learned that love is an action as well as an emotion.
4. As an action love is kind, patient, and forgiving, and that love is not proud, rude, or selfish.
5. Today, I want to help us wrestle with the truth that love is not easily angered.
6. Perhaps this is the one in the list that you were hoping we weren’t going to cover, while others were praying that we wouldn’t skip this one.
7. Before we explore how to have a love that is not easily angered, let’s understand a few things about anger in general.
I. Anger is an Important Emotion
A. God has created us with the capacity to become angry, and therefore, it is an important and useful emotion when it is kept under control and is properly directed.
1. So anger, in and of itself, is not a sin, but it can lead to sin.
2. In Ephesians 4:26, Paul clarifies that point saying, “In your anger do not sin…”
3. We know it is possible to be angry and not sin, because the Bible tells us that both God the Father and Jesus the Son are angry at times, and we know that neither of them are sinners.
B. So let me ask this question: Is love incompatible with anger?
1. No, in reality, apathy is incompatible with love, because apathy doesn’t care, but love cares!
2. Actually, anger can be evidence of love.
3. If someone intentionally hurts my family and I wasn’t angry, then I’d be heartless.
4. Anger is often an appropriate response to evil, but too often anger leads to evil.
5. But when anger is managed well, it can accomplish God’s purposes, it produces healthy relationships and growing people.
C. So an important clarification for us is this, 1 Corinthians 13:5 doesn’t say “love doesn’t get angry,” rather it says that “love is not easily angered.”
1. Look at how that same word is rendered in other translations:
a. Love is not “touchy” (TLB).
b. Love is not “irritable” (NLT, ESV).
c. Love is not “quick tempered” (CEV).
d. Love is not “quick to take offence” (NEB).
e. Love “doesn’t fly off the handle” (The Message).
D. James 1:19 instructs us: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
1. Interestingly enough, if you do a Bible search with the words “slow” and “anger,” or “slow” and “angry,” you will find that there are 10 times when those words are in a verse together.