Summary: Anger or wrath is very much a part of our life and our world. We see it every day. You can’t turn on the news without seeing a story about some guy who got angry at his kid’s baseball game and nearly killed the referee or a violent crime of some kind in t
A trucker was driving down the road when a motorcycle gang surrounded the truck and almost caused him to lose control. The trucker started to yell at the bikers and honk his horn, his face getting redder and redder. He even threw in a few obscene gestures. A couple of hours later, he pulled into a restaurant for dinner. He was minding own business when that same motorcycle gang walked in. Not wanting any trouble, he kept to himself. One biker got in his face. "Big man in the 18 wheeler, out of your truck, you’re a wimp", he shouted, pouring coffee all over his food. The trucker didn’t say a word, paid his bill and walked out. The biker turned to the waitress and said, "He’s not much of a man out of his truck" The waitress causally shot back, "not much of a truck driver either, he just ran over 6 motorcycles on the way out." Anger can lead to many things. It can lead to injustice, violence and retribution.
Anger or wrath is very much a part of our life and our world. We see it every day. You can’t turn on the news without seeing a story about some guy who got angry at his kid’s baseball game and nearly killed the referee or a violent crime of some kind in the street of New Orleans. Anger is all around us. We see it in others. We feel it in ourselves.
We’re in the middle of a series on the Seven Deadly Sins. And today we’re looking at wrath. The word for wrath in Latin is ira which is where we get the English word irate. Now wrath and irate are very strong words describing extreme emotion. Today as we look at wrath, we’re going to talk about the entire spectrum of emotion from being angry to being irate. Many believe that anger is a sin. When we think that, we fail to remember that anger is one of the emotions God created in us. That means being angry can be good but like anything else that God creates, it can be bad when taken to the extreme. It’s OK to eat, but you don’t want to be a glutton. It’s OK to have passion for your wife, but you don’t want to lust after others. It’s OK to be angry, you just don’t want it to lead to wrath.
Today, I want us to consider two different kinds of anger. The first is anger that is slow and simmers inside us. Think of it like a crawfish boil pot put on its stand. When you begin to boil for crawfish, it takes a long time for the water to come to a boil. Crawfish boil anger is the same, slowly simmering inside us. It doesn’t get expressed very much. We keep it inside, bottling it up. But what happens if we keep it bottled inside us is that it becomes a poison and begins to change us and our soul. For example, in a marriage there’s always the little habits of our spouse which get on our nerves. We don’t say anything but the habits continue and they begin to grate on us over time. As they do, we begin to look at our spouse with a critical eye. Our spouse innocently continues to do those things which get on our nerves because we haven’t said anything until the pressure finally builds up and the pot overflows. We see this a lot in families where there’s an anger which exists just below the surface for many months, years or even generations. It’s an anger that no one talks about but as long as people can remember, it’s always there. We’re afraid of speaking about it because of the affects it might cause. It can be anger at a parent, a grandparent or even a brother or sister. Or it can even be an anger focused on someone who’s not even alive.
Then there’s a second type of anger which I’ll call dynamite anger. It has a short fuse and then explodes. The thing about dynamite anger is that it damages everything that is in close proximity. This is the type of anger that you can’t help but notice when it explodes, whether it comes out in yourself or in other people. Dynamite anger is very unstable. You may never know when it will explode and makes other people walk on eggshells. An example of this is road rage. While driving, someone cuts you off and then you want to honk your horn, show them a sign you’re angry or even try to get retribution by cutting them off. It may also happen when you get an email that pushes your buttons and you immediately respond by attacking the other person with a message back and hit ‘Send.” In its more violent form, dynamite anger leads to physical abuse and even crimes of passion.