USING ANGER AS A TOOL
INTRODUCTION: Anger is often given a bad name in our minds. Yet, God has given anger, just as every other emotion, to us. The issue is not to be or not to be angry, but how we can be angry biblically. So for the next few weeks, we are going to look at the issue of anger, with the goal of learning to act rather than react with anger.
So, lets first look at what anger actually is:
ü Anger by definition is a strong emotion of displeasure
o Anger occurs when a need is not met
o Anger occurs when an expectation is not met
o In the Bible anger is described as being hot-tempered, or quick-tempered
Proverbs 29:22 An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.
Proverbs 15:18 A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel.
ü The Old Testament word for this is “aph”
o It means literally “nose or nostrils”
o Came to mean a flaring of the nostrils – kind of like the fire breathing dragon
o Two idioms developed with the Hebrews
Psalm 145:8 The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.
ü The term “slow to anger” is “long of face/nose”
Proverbs 22:24 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered,
ü The term “easily angered” is “short of face/nose”
ü In the New Testament the term is “orge”
o Originally, this meant, “any natural impulse or desire”
o Later, it came to signify anger as the strongest of all passions.
o The word is also translated as wrath
ü Anger is like heat – it has degrees
o Anger can range from mild and controlled to explosive and uncontrolled.
o Anger is a general term that describes several levels
ü Level 1 -- Indignation
Luke 13:13-14 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. 14Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, "There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath."
o Means to be fell pain, be grieved, internal indignation
o This level of anger comes from something appearing unjust or unworthy
o Typically, the person having this kind of anger thinks they are JUSTIFIED in being angry!
o Indignation is the lowest level of anger and could be compared to a pot spaghetti sauce simmering
ü Level 2 -- Wrath
Romans 1:18-20 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
o This level of anger is a desire to avenge
o This is the level that move anger from internal simmering to external expression
o This level can be defined as: Anger, temper, wrath, and indignation. It is not an uncontrolled, unthinking, violent reaction. It is deep, permanent, settled, thoughtful, controlled anger and temper.
o When used of God, it is always an anger that is righteous and just and good. It is an anger that stands against the sin and evil, violence and slaughter, immorality and injustices of men. It is an anger that abhors and hates sin and evil and that dishes out a just revenge and equal justice. However, it is an anger that is deeply felt;
o This is the second level of anger and could be compared to that same pot of sauce, but now instead of simmering, it is boiling.
ü Level 3 – Furious
Acts 5:30-33 The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead--whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. 32We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him."
33When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death.
· Meaning is to be cut to the heart or to have the heart cut in two
· This level of anger comes with the removal of common sense
· This level of anger is intense enough to control our actions
· This is the level that results in some sort of harm or destruction
o See it again in Acts 7
Acts 7:54-57 When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56"Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."
57At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him,
o Take the same pot of Sauce and now envision it as boiling over the edge of the pot!
ü Level 4 – overwhelming fury
Proverbs 27:4 Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?
o This is the highest level of anger and is characterized by a loss of self-control, insanity
o This level of anger was such that God specifically provided protection against it
Deut. 19:4-6 This is the rule concerning the man who kills another and flees there to save his life--one who kills his neighbor unintentionally, without malice aforethought. 5For instance, a man may go into the forest with his neighbor to cut wood, and as he swings his ax to fell a tree, the head may fly off and hit his neighbor and kill him. That man may flee to one of these cities and save his life. 6Otherwise, the avenger of blood might pursue him in a rage, overtake him if the distance is too great, and kill him even though he is not deserving of death, since he did it to his neighbor without malice aforethought.
o This is the level where the lid comes off the boiling pot of spaghetti sauce!
ü Dealing with the misconceptions of anger
o Because anger is perceived less than positively, we often seek to hide, or deny anger in our lives
o Anger is not a sin. What is important is they way in which we respond to anger. God has given us the emotion of anger. It is not sinful in and of itself, our response determines whether our anger has become sinful activity
Ephes. 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
o Anger is an indication that something is wrong. Anger is the warning light. It is the “check engine” light of your life. When you are feeling angry, you need to determine what you are angry over
Mark 3:5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.
§ Jesus was angry at all the hypocrisy of the religious leaders
o The Scripture often talks about God being angry, and that seems to conflict with the fact that Scripture also says God is love. So how can we get the two together?
§ God anger is directed at those areas which affect his plans for you
§ God’s anger is never independent of his love
§ So, then, God’s anger is ALWAYS expressed based on his ultimate good for our lives
Psalm 30:5 For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
o God wants us to deal with anger
§ To examine the source
§ The search may bring you to a point of repentance because the anger you are feeling is wrong
§ The search may bring you to the realization that you need to depend on God more
Psalm 4:4 In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.
o Anger is an emotion and feeling that does not need to be visible to be present. We cannot go around and say that we are not angry simply because we don’t look angry.
§ Can repress feelings
§ Sometimes we do not even recognize that we are angry.
§ Outward activity is not a realistic measure of anger
1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
ü It is important that we take every opportunity to avoid misusing our anger
o We need to avoid prolonging anger (“I will never forgive my mother for what she did.”)
§ Holding onto it beyond the issue
§ Angry at a past offense
§ Unforgiveness that brings resentment
Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
o We need to avoid hidden anger (I never really get angry, just a little irritated.”
§ We hide anger by denying we are angry
§ We hide anger because we do not want to face these emotions or we do not want to deal with them
§ When I do not deal with my anger, I leave myself open to the “selfs”
§ This kind of anger makes it impossible to communicate truthfully with others and ultimately fractures relationships
Proverbs 26:24 A malicious man disguises himself with his lips,
but in his heart he harbors deceit.
o We need to avoid reactive anger (“I cannot believe you said that! Haven’t you outgrown that kind of thinking yet?”
§ This is an anger that comes when we are instantly irritated.
§ It is seen in criticism, and sarcasm.
§ It is often brushed aside as “teasing”
§ It is an indication that we are not resting in God’s Spirit the way we should
Eccles. 7:9 Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.
o We need to avoid the eruptive (volcanic) anger (You jerk – if you ever do that again, you will wish you had never been born.)
§ Very destructive
§ Hard to control
§ Violence, abuse, and contempt
Proverbs 29:22 An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.