Summary: What are the effects of anger and how does it impact others.
Anger - Forgiveness Series
January 3, 2010
About one week before Zachary was supposed to be born, Debbie’s mom flew into the airport in Springfield, Illinois. I picked her up and then we stopped and got some Chinese food to bring home to celebrate her arrival. On the way to Ashland, the cell phone rang and Debbie was telling me that she talked to the doctor and they wanted her to come to the hospital now. She hadn’t felt the baby moving all day, and they were concerned. When I received the call I was about 25 minutes from home, and would have to head back into Springfield, another 40 minute drive. Traffic was slow and people were driving too slow! I was anxious and my anger was rising. After all, I had an emergency and people were dawdling at 55 mph. Finally, after getting home, I brought the luggage and the Chinese food into the house. I looked down and realized that the sauce had gotten all over my shirt and pants. My anger increased as I angrily took my clothes off, I said they would pay for new clothes and we would never go back. Then on the way to the hospital, traffic was being slowed by someone from Ashland who owned a business. They were going 45 mph in a 55 mph zone. There’s always that view people have when the pastor goes flying by you on a 2 lane road. I vowed never to go back to their store again. Of course, all turned out well in the end. But have you ever noticed that when you’re angry, you have a way of saying things and doing things you really don’t mean. By the way, we did go back to the Chinese restaurant and to that slow driver’s store.
Have you ever made statements when you’re angry that you know are unrealistic, but it feels good at the moment? Powerful statements like “I hate you!” Or “I don’t ever want to speak to you again!” “I wish I never had you, you are miserable!” And we can add lots of other expressions.
Anger has a way of taking hold of us that turns us into people that we really don’t want to be. For many of us, say the wrong thing, receive a wrong look, be inconvenienced more than you think you should, and look out!
Did you hear about the two Washington Wizards basketball players this week. Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton got into an argument about a gambling debt after playing cards on a flight back from the west coast. Supposedly in the locker room Crittenton wanted Arenas to pay up, so Arenas pulled a gun on Crittenton, so Crittenton pulled a gun on Arenas. Fortunately, nobody got hurt, but the potential was so huge. All because they could not and would not control their anger.
Have you ever been in the checkout line that is taking forever, you’re running late, only to find that the checker is enjoying a conversation with someone regarding what’s wrong with the world? There are so many things that make us angry, when maybe they should not. But there are also moments in our lives where we need to become angry.
Unfortunately too many of us don’t understand the powerful emotion of anger. So we misuse and abuse it. We let it fly out like a volcanic eruption, or we keep it bottled up inside, or maybe we show a passive-aggressive style of anger.
Most often we can admit to being angry at someone else’s situation, at some injustice that has occurred in the world or our neighborhood. Yet, we deny being angry at something that is occurring in our lives. That is one of the ways we protect ourselves from really feeling and dealing with our emotions. In fact, many Christians believe anger is a sin. They don’t believe it’s ever appropriate to become angry or for that matter, to display it. I don’t agree with this type of teaching. The Bible is very clear, anger is normal and acceptable. It’s acceptable as long as we display it in ways that are consistent with being called a Christian.
In order to help us begin to look at anger, I want to mention a number of situations that occur in the Bible. This is to help us see that anger is mentioned not only from God’s frame of reference, but also through people like you and me.
God was angry at Moses’ unbelief; when he resisted the command to go to Egypt and confront Pharaoh (Exodus 4:14). God is angered by the mistreatment of those who are helpless; the strangers, widows, and orphans (Exodus 22:22-24). He was angered when people turned from trusting and worshiping Him, to worshiping idols (Exodus 32:10; Deuteronomy 6:14-15; Judges 2:13-14). He is also angered by the grumbling and complaining of His people (Numbers 11:1, 10).