Summary: This sermon deals with the destructive power of Anger looked at in a Christmas context.
My Dangerous Companion--Anger
We are now in the middle of the Christmas season. We are told "tis the season to be jolly" and "it will be a time of peace and good will to all." But if we would actually look into the Scriptures to discover what the first Christmas was really like, we would not simply find everybody with smiles on their faces, laughing and getting all they wanted for Christmas.
We would find hurt, disappointment, sorrow, pain, agony, rejection, fear, revenge and anger. All of these feelings and emotion are as much a part of the Christmas story as the good news from the angels, the babe lying in the manger, and the wise men presenting gifts of gold frankincense and myrrh.
One dangerous companion we have that travels in the background with us throughout our life, ready to spring up at a moment’s notice is our friend anger. How many of us have ever been so angry, we just wanted to reach out or yell out and hurt somebody? How many of us have been surprised by how quickly our friend anger sprang to life and we allowed it to take over our actions? How many of us know that thousands of people will spend this Christmas in jail, because of what they did in a moment of anger? Anger can be a cruel traveling companion.
There are times when we like to joke about our anger or we like to excuse it. We say things like , "well, he or she just has some hot blood inside
Or, you know me, "I’ve always had a temper." Or, she’s just a hot head. How many of us have tried to justify our behavior by saying, "well I was mad" or "they should not have made me upset", or "she knew I didn’t mean it, because I was angry when I said it."
Do not get me wrong, about anger. Anger can be a powerful force to lead us to make some positive changes. When I was in 11th grade, my parents would fight and argue and call each other a host of names when they started drinking. I would get so angry, but I used my anger positively in saying that, I would never drink alcohol because I saw what it was doing to our family. Anger can cause us to make changes for others when we see how they have been abused.
Anger in itself has a place to play in the life of a Christian. The bible tells us in Ephesians 6:26, we can be angry, but we are not to sin because of it. It also tells us to put a time limit on our anger. If we hold on to it overnight, we allow the devil to get a foothold in our lives. That’s like opening the door to a whole lot of things which are not of God.
Iin our Old Testament reading, Cain was so angry that God had said yes to his brother’s offering and no to his, that he could not even think straight. Abel had offered God his best, but Cain had just sort of offered God what he had on hand. Instead of attempting to change his behavior, he chose to get mad at his brother. How often do we do this. At school we act up, and do not do our work. When we get the D’s and F’s we deserve, we get mad at the teacher and our parents for losing our privileges and being disciplined. On the job, we’ve been late more times than we can count and leaving early, and now now we’re mad at the manager because he did not recommend us for a promotion.
Our spouse has been asking us to do something or to stop doing something and we haven’t or we wouldn’t and now the person is gone and we’re angry they’re not here anymore. When these situations arise, just like God told Cain God is telling us, "Cain, sin is right there on your shoulder, and its trying to take over you, but you must master it." Cain had the option of killing the anger or killing his brother. What choices are you and I making today with anger.
This Christmas is going to be filled with situations which will produce anger in our lives. Kids, some of your parents have already told you, don’t even ask for that because it costs to much. You’re angry about it. Some of you think you’re going to get something for Christmas, and even though your parents have not told you yet, you’re not going to get it. You’ll get angry about it. Some of us will look at other families and know they are going to have so much more than we will for Christmas, and we’re angry about it.