Sermons

Summary: First in a four part series on managing anger

“Understanding and Managing Anger Pt 1”

INTRODUCTION

In our study of bitterness, we discovered the devastating effects of sustained anger and unforgiveness not only for the individual but also for everyone they touch. Bitterness has to do with negative thoughts and feelings toward someone who has offended me or someone I care about. The continued simmering of these negative feelings and thoughts in the soul results in further negativity and a host of inevitable other negative and hurtful words, attitudes and actions. We learned that the inability to eradicate bitterness and respond to life’s difficulties in a godly manner is due to our own selfish ambition and bitter jealousy springing out of a self-centered focus. Roots of bitterness thrive in the soil of self-centeredness. Scripture clearly warns against cultivating bitter roots which not only entangle us but defile those around us.

Negative emotions, thoughts, words, attitudes and actions are but one expression of the initial emotions we call anger. Close encounters with the evil in a sinful world naturally stirs up an emotion we call anger. The intensity of our anger measures anywhere from mild frustration to a full blown fury. Just as everyone struggles with bitterness from offenses, everyone struggles with anger.

What does the Bible say about anger?

BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil a place. Ephesians 4:26-27

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Ephesians 4:31

I observe at least six foundational principles from this passage.

1. Anger is a godly emotion “Be angry!”

Paul used a present active imperative which is a command to do something on a regular basis.

2. Don’t express anger sinfully. “Do not sin!”

This is also a present imperative commanding us to continually refrain from sinning, falling short of God’s standard.

3. Resolve anger quickly! “Do not let the sun go down on your anger!”

Here is a third present imperative. Always deal with your anger quickly.

4. Unresolved anger gives Satan a foothold in your life. “Do not give the devil a place!”

Now a forth present imperative. Never allow Satan a foothold in your life by allowing anger to remain undirected or unresolved. Preferable address it before you go to bed at night.

5. Humbly allow God to eradicate fleshly destructive anger from your life.

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 4:30

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Ephesians 4:31

Paul changes verb type here. He uses a point time passive imperative. This means to allow something to be done to you. Namely, allow God to once and for all (or whenever is needed) to remove any trace of fleshly relationally damaging emotions and actions from your soul that grieve the Holy Spirit.

6. Continually pursue godly attitudes and actions.

This passage encourages truth speaking over lying, working to give the needy over stealing, speaking words that build others rather than accomplish nothing, continually acts of kindness, development of a tender heart, forgiveness and sacrificial love.

Some of our confusion regarding anger comes from Scripture itself. We read passages that instruct us to put away anger. We read other passages that tell us to BE angry but don’t sin.

We read warning after warning about the angry person. James clearly states that the anger of man never achieves the righteousness of God. Many of the chosen servants of God expressed extreme anger over the behavior of sinful men. We know that God is absolutely holy and sinless and yet feels and expresses anger. Jesus was sinless and yet the Bible records several occasions when He felt and expressed anger. Since the Bible does not contradict itself the only conclusion we can draw from the data is that anger has two sources.

There is Spirit generated anger and flesh generated anger. There is the anger of man I will refer to as fleshly anger which does not achieve God’s purposes and the anger of God which I will refer to as godly anger which is intended to promote God’s purposes in God’s way.

There are many more passages related to the management of sinful fleshly anger than godly anger. We learn more about godly anger from examples told in narrative passages than direct teaching.

OVERVIEW

I. Analyze anger

A. Understand its character

B. Pinpoint its purpose

C. Discover its cause

D. Follow its course

E. Track its conduct (expression)

II. Manage anger

A. Purposefully direct godly anger

B. Persistently defuse fleshly anger

TODAY’S MESSAGE

I. ANALYZE ANGER

A. Understand the character of anger

1. Biblical terms

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