Summary: Here's a sermon to help us deal with feelings of anger.
What Happens When You Explode?
26 "Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27nor give place to the devil.
28Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.
29Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
31Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
32And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.
Today's story is about Adam Willis. He and his wife bought a new house. Their new home was located in a new suburb and all of the houses were less than two years old. Adam and his wife were very pleased with their new home except for one little problem. In their front yard was this huge oak tree stump that the suburb developer had failed to remove. Mrs. Willis viewed that tree stump as an eyesore. Every time she looked at that stump she would begin to get angry.
More of that story a little later!
Anger can turn a normal person into a monster.
Anger can turn you into someone you don't want to be.
Because anger can be so explosive...
the best way to manage anger is to stifle it.
However Ephesians 4 gives us a different way of looking at anger.
Instead of dismissing anger as evil,
the Bible tells us that anger can be a good and healthy emotion.
Anger itself is not wrong.
It is the reasons and motivations for our anger...
that cause us to loose control.
Point #1. Anger is a normal emotion.
26 "Be angry, and do not sin":
Verse 26 proves it IS possible for a Christian to get angry.
But isn't anger wrong?
NO! God Himself gets angry!
In the Old Testament, God displayed His anger toward sin
In the New Testament, Jesus got angry.
The Bible tells us 2 times when Jesus became angry at the temple.
The first time was at the beginning of His ministry.
John 2:13-16 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers doing business. 15When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers' money and overturned the tables. 16And He said to those who sold doves, "Take these things away! Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise!"
Three years later just before His crucifixion,
Jesus goes to the temple.
What does He find?
The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us.
Mark 11:15-19 So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 16 And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. 17 Then He taught, saying to them, "Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it a 'den of thieves.'
When Jesus saw what people had done to corrupt the temple,
Jesus became angry.
What did Jesus do that allowed Him to express His anger...
and not commit sin?
The answer is found in His focus.
Jesus never allowed His emotions to take His focus off of God...
and onto himself.
Jesus was able to keep God as His first priority...
even when He was angry.
Our problem is we seldom become angry for the right reasons.
We become angry when someone does something that hurts us...
or hurts someone we love.
Anger is an offensive weapon we use to defend our pride.
Anger is like fire.
If the fire is controlled, it can be helpful and productive
but if the fire gets out of control it can be harmful and deadly.
Though anger is a natural emotion,
we must be careful how we use it
because it can have devastating effects.
That spring Mrs. Willis decided to plant some flowers around the stump hoping they would cover up that ugly eyesore. Unfortunately, the flowers didn't help much and Mrs. Willis began to nag Adam to do something about that stump. Her constant nagging words often escalated to heated arguments and began to create friction in the Willis marriage. Adam knew he had to find a way to get rid of that stump if he wanted to save his marriage.