Summary: Third in a series on managing anger.
“Managing Anger God’s Way” Pt 3
Ephesians 4:26 tells us to be angry. Only four verses later we are told to “put away all anger and wrath.” Which is it? Be angry or put anger away. We have learned that there are two sources of anger. There is Spirit-generated anger and flesh-generated anger.
Spirit-generated anger accomplishes eternal purposes and should be recognized and directed.
Flesh-generated anger does not and should be refused and defused.
Hopefully we can learn the difference and act accordingly.
I have two objectives for this series.
Help you to comprehend or understand anger.
Help you control anger.
I. COMPREHEND (UNDERSTAND) ANGER
A. Understand the basic character of anger
Anger is an inner mental/emotional power surge that readies us to act against evil. At its core, it is morally neutral. It can lead to good or evil. It can be either harmful or helpful. We must always seek to utilize it for God’s purposes.
B. Pinpoint the purpose of anger
The purpose of anger is to alert us and empower us to address evil either in our life or the world around us. It motivates us to act decisively against evil. Anger can encourage us to either address pockets of sin and selfishness in our life or evil in our world.
Anger is an automatic
inner mental/emotional stirring in response to
perceived or actual events, people or circumstances
perceived as wrong, evil or threatening to my well being
that empowers me to act.
C. Discover the cause of anger
Anger arises out of personal beliefs, expectations and perceptions. Anger stirs when I perceive a violation of those beliefs, core values or expectations. The reason some respond with anger and others do not depends on their belief system. It has to do with what we believe to be right according to our personal value system. The Mariners current losing season does not make me angry because it is not high on my value system. Now if I was an owner, I would probably have to deal with anger.
The key to managing anger centers in our thinking – beliefs, expectations, perceptions.
Anger will either be triggered by a fleshly thought process or a godly thought process.
When our thinking is godly, our anger will be godly and can be directed for godly purposes.
When our thinking is fleshly or self-centered, our anger will drive us and rarely accomplishes godly purposes.
1. Beliefs and values
Beliefs and convictions are the way we think things should be.
Fleshly anger arises out of faulty beliefs and convictions.
Godly anger arises out of sound beliefs and convictions.
It is absolutely vital that we embrace God’s truth and continually adjust our beliefs and convictions to conform to God’s standard as revealed in the Bible. When we view life as God does, our anger will be a tool for eternal purposes.
2. Personal expectations / goals
We also adopt certain expectations according to our personal beliefs and convictions
This is the way we want things to be.
Fleshly anger arises out of unrealistic and even self-centered expectations.
Godly anger arises out of reasonable and God-centered expectations.
Any time we establish and pursue personal goals that require the cooperation of other people or things we become highly susceptible to anger when we fail to reach those goals. Any time our sense of well-being centers on the cooperation of others, we will battle anger. Why? Because people are fallible. We become a slave to the actions and response of others.
If you expect meaning in life to come from any person or place, possession or experience, then you become its slave and it becomes your god. The higher your expectation, the stronger the anger when it doesn’t produce what you expected. Our anger will center on the person or thing that blocked that goal. We must continually adjust both goals and expectations according to truth and God’s direction.
3. Personal perception
In addition to beliefs and expectations, there is the matter of my particular perception.
Perceptions are the way I perceive things to be.
I must continually ask God to help me see life from His perspective and seek to know the truth.
Fleshly anger arises out of a faulty or inadequate perception.
Godly anger arises out of an accurate perception.
D. Consider the consequences of fleshly anger
The Bible addresses the destructive consequences of fleshly anger and urges us to defuse it.
Godly anger must be Biblically directed, fleshly anger must be Biblically defused.
E. Follow the course of anger (circle of emotion)
Both fleshly and godly anger follow a particular course.
1. Anger begins in the soul (beliefs, expectations, perceptions)
2. Anger is automatically triggered by an event
perceived as evil, hurtful or threatening
3. Anger requires strategic personal reflection and evaluation
4. Anger prompts a chosen response or action