Summary: How do you handle hurt feelings? Where is your line? Do you have any offense defense?
(Slide 1) Offense Defense
Pt. 4 - Anger Management
You will remember in the first message of the series I told you that Jesus made it plain that it is impossible for offense not to come. There will be moments in our life where we will be confronted with actions, attitudes and words that cause our blood to boil, our face to flush and our fists to clinch. The truth is this even happened to Jesus! Although perfect He experienced this emotion that many of us experience called anger. I can instantly recall an example from His life where He became so enraged that He grabs rope and forms a whip to drive money changers out of the temple. Jesus knew what it feels like to want to punch somebody. And, yet we are told that Jesus never sinned. Then Paul comes along in Ephesians 4:26 and he instructs us to "Be angry, and do not sin." What? How can we manage our anger so that it doesn't become sin? How can we walk that fine line where we figure out how to toe the line where we “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”
Come on be honest haven't there been times when you can honestly say you have allowed anger to control you. So, if it is impossible for offense not to come and we are human and experience human emotions like anger, then I think we would be well served to try to figure out how to pattern our anger after Jesus rather than after our society. Our society makes it clear that it is OK to say, act any way we want and to post it on social media for the world to see when we are angry.
I think the best thing to do is to first take a quick look at what should not make us angry. I think this is an essential place to start because so many of us are so easily angered. Anger has become our go to emotion. We wear our anger like a badge of honor. We have a hair trigger. If we can be angry and not sin, then we need to figure out what should not anger us because if we are not careful we will allow things that shouldn't anger us to set us off.
1. We should not be offended by sinners. Jesus was never offended by sinners who sinned. Sinners are supposed to sin. In Jesus' day He spent His anger on religious folks rather than being mad at sinners. Go read the account of the woman caught in adultery. Jesus was offended by religious who misrepresented His Father.
2. We should not be offended by other people's opinion. Paul and Peter had a confrontation based on their opinions but the confrontation as blunt as it was wasn't allowed to break relationship. Other people's opinion shouldn't offend us because we know who we are. We are secure in our own identity.
3. We should not be offended by someone else's actions. I point you to the account of Joseph. Remember his brothers sold him into slavery. But rather than becoming angry he comes to the conclusion that what the enemy meant for harm God meant for good. We have to be careful because if we become offended someone's actions, then we allow them to determine destiny rather than trusting God with our destiny. Some of us are standing around waiting on explanations, apologies, and closure and God is unwilling to give us those things if they will cause us to camp out and revisit what should be buried.
4. We should not be offended by other people’s obedience. Remember Cain was offended/angry to the point that he murders his own brother simply because his brother obeyed. We have to interact with our brothers/sisters and come to the conclusion that if they are obedient then you can't be offended. If you are being obedient and you have permission to do something they don't . . . don't be offended by it and vise versa.
So, if these things shouldn't anger us what should and how do we manage anger so that it doesn't manage us? And if we aren't supposed to be this push over, door mat, wimpy version of a man or a woman how do we manage anger appropriately?
(SLIDE 2 & 3) Anger must be directed toward the appropriate target!
I am reminded of an instance when Peter bowed up on Jesus. Not wise. Peter rebukes Jesus! He wasn't the smartest guy in the group. One of the teacher's students tries to put the teacher in his place. This would be like your child publicly correcting you! That is offensive and anger causing right? But notice Jesus immediately directed His anger toward the appropriate target. He didn't jump down Peter's throat. He didn't put him in his place. Instead, Jesus addresses the real cause of this . . . In Matthew 16:23, He says "Get thee behind me Satan." He goes around Peter and addresses the real culprit and takes aim at the appropriate target.