Summary: Using Board Games as a jumping off place we looked at our Christianity. This sermon deals with anger.
The Games People Play
Anger is probably the most powerful emotion we feel.
Mickey Mantle had a friend who would let him hunt on his ranch. One day, along with teammate Billy Martin they went to the ranch to hunt. Billy stayed in the car while Mickey checked with his friend. Mickey was given permission to hunt, but the rancher asked him for a favor. His old mule was going blind and had become crippled, but the rancher just didn’t have the heart to put him out of his misery -- so he asked Mickey if he would shoot the old mule as a favor. When Mickey came back to the car, he decided to play a trick on Billy and pretended to be angry. "What’s wrong?" asked Billy. "My friend told me NO HUNTING!!!" Mickey pounded his fist on the dashboard feigning anger and said, "Why, that guy got me so mad I’m going into the barn and shoot one of his mules." With that, Mickey jumped out of the car and headed for the barn. In quick order he took care of the mule and started back to the car to tell his friend it was just a joke. At that moment Mickey heard two shots fired and found Billy Martin standing over two dead cows. "What are you doing?" asked Mickey. Martin answered, "Why I saw how mad you were and so I wanted to let the rancher know he couldn’t fool with me either."
Even though that is a funny story anger is always a serious business
Please turn to Mt. 5:21-26.
I. FIRST, AS CHRISTIANS, WE MUST BE AWARE OF THE SERIOUSNESS OF UNRIGHTEOUS ANGER.
1. In (Mt. 5:21-22), Jesus quoted (Ex. 20:13) to show us that murder is a series offense. It is an ungodly act of violence that is totally against the will of God.
2. If Jesus had stopped right there, all of us would probably clap our hands and cry out, “Amen, that’s right, murder is wrong. Show no mercy to those who take innocent lives."
3. But when Jesus went on to suggest in (v. 22) that being angry with your brother is just as serious as murder, our amens would soon stop because each one of us just became guilty before God.
4. Killing is a terrible sin, but unrighteous or unjustified anger is a great sin as well because it also violates God’s command to love.
5. Before I move on, I must tell you that righteous or justified anger is not forbidden in the Bible.
a. For example, Jesus in (Jn. 2) became angry with the dishonest merchants who were polluting God’s temple. However, in His anger, He did not sin.
(Eph. 4:26) “In your anger do not sin…”
b. When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai and saw the people worshipping a golden calf, he had every right to be angry.
c. When Jonathan became angry with his father Saul for treating David shamefully (1 Sam. 20:34), he had every right to be angry.
Some anger, brethren, is not wrong. If we have valid reasons to get upset, then our angry feelings are not immoral. On the other hand, some anger is wrong and destructive.
A. ANGER THAT IS UNJUSTIFIED IS WRONG.
1. For example, When Abel offered a better sacrifice to God, his brother Cain became angry. His anger was prompted by his jealousy. That is unjustifiable anger.
In Dadeville, Alabama, a man shot and killed another man because he was a better Bible quoter. They were arguing over a subject, and one man became so jealous and angry because he couldn’t keep up scripturally with the other man, he shot and killed him.
B. ANGER THAT PROMPTS US TO SAY HATEFUL THINGS TO OTHERS IS WRONG AND MANY TIMES DESTRUCTIVE.
1. Jesus in (Mt. 5:22) warns us of the awesomely destructive potential of words.
But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell (Mt. 5:22).
2. When we are angry and say hurtful things to others, we are sinning.
3. We need to be very careful with the words that we offer to others.
4. We must remind ourselves daily that angry outbursts of lethal words can damage self-concepts and destroy personal relationships.
In his book “The Power Zone,” Dr. Larry Calvin wrote an article that can help us understand that words can damage people.
He wrote, several years ago, a young lady walked into my counseling center. She was 25 years old, five foot two inches tall, and weighed well under a hundred pounds. When she was asked to describe herself, every word she used was a “fat” word.