Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Everyone experiences anger, everyone handles anger differently and each of us handles anger differently according to the circumstances or timing. The Good news is the Bible has a lot to say on the issue of anger. This morning we are going to lay out five thoughts or ideas according to scripture about issues of anger.
1. Anger is not always bad. Anger can mean that something is not right, expectations are not being met. Turn with we to Ephesians 4:26 “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry”. Notice the Bible does not say do not get angry. It says “in your anger.” The Holy Word of God acknowledges that there will be times when you are going to get angry. But there is a difference between being angry and sinning. James 1:19 “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” Anger in its self is not a bad thing but when handled in the wrong way, that is when it can lead to bad things.
2. Anger makes us acceptable to greater dangers. Anger can cause us to do or say things we wish we could take back the nanosecond they occur. Proverbs 25:28 “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.” The image here is that our self-control is like a wall around a city, the thing that protects us, it comes crumbling down and we will be exposed to things we never been exposed to before, we will cross boundaries and lines in our life we never ever intended to cross. Anger is the gateway. My last mission trip to Honduras did not go as planned. I had promised Abby for her 16th birthday she and I would go to Honduras on a mission trip. All was well until we actually landed and approached customs. Abby had gone through with the group, I went to go through, the lady smiled and took my passport and left, they would not let me through. They took my luggage as I stood over to the side as everyone else on the flight went through. So I am standing there at customs, my passport has been taken, the group has already gone into the country, I can see the group, and they are not letting me through. I begin to go from laughter, confusion, to anger. So here comes this little 4’6’ man in a suit. You know it’s serious when the suit guy comes. He tells me I can’t go with my daughter into the country. I can see Abby crying and I am livid. Seeing all shades of red. Someone somewhere was going to pay. I could crush this little dude with one punch and go on into the country. I felt extremely violated in some way. Anger in our life is really a wall around one statement: “I am not getting what I want.” When we begin to dissect anger in our lives, the majority of the time it comes down to: “I am not getting what I want.”
3. Anger makes us do foolish things. Ecclesiastes 7:9 “Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.” Anger makes us do foolish things. I am not going to spend a lot of time here because each of us has done or said some foolish things out of anger. Its like the breaks from our mind to our mouths stop working. As the little 4 foot dude in the suit, looks at my passport, looks at me, I’m sure I look vicious as I’m red with anger, He shakes his head, “No!” I might not know Spanish but at this moment I know I’m not getting in the country. I see my daughter crying, I am busting with anger, remember I can take this dude with on punch, I know it, instead I say in my louder that already loud voice, “You are crazy, you are a evil person.” That is when the guys with guns showed up and took me to another room. They put me in time out. Here is why.
4. Anger never produces what we hope it will. James 1:20 “because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” Anger never leads us to where we hope to go. Getting mad, didn’t let the little dude in the suit go,” Ok senior you are anger, sure come on into our country.” Doing foolish things out of anger never leads us closer to God. Doing foolish things out of anger never leads us to be a better spouse, a better job, a better boss. We are never better parents because we acted out of anger. We are not better church members when we allow ourselves to speak out of anger. Acting out of anger never leads to the righteous life God wants for us. I got put on a plane to New Jersey, snowed in in New Jersey, but eventually I return home back to Centralia. It wasn’t the journey I wanted but the results were the same. I left Centralia, traveled to Honduras, and returned home. But my journey was not what I imagined. Anger is like that. It is not that you can’t complete the trip, its just it is harder, takes longer, and is further to get to the destination you were trying to get to. So when we parent out of anger, it is not that you won’t get the result you want, your just adding time, to the journey you are taking your kids on. When we lead out of anger there are these unexpected circumstances that come because feelings get hurt, relationships get severed, respect gets lost, the wall of self-control goes down and anger has influenced how we are leading and managing our lives.
5. Anger is our own punishment. Proverbs 19:19 A hot-tempered person must pay the penalty; rescue them, and you will have to do it again. A hot tempered person has to pay the penalty. Simple put when we live out of anger there will be a price to pay. When we act out of anger maybe that price is a severed relationship, yes the relationship can survive but it will never be the same. Maybe the price is distance between someone we love. Maybe the punishment comes in the form of a loss of respect, hurt feelings, regrets, embarrassment, we have all been there, but when we act out of anger there will be a price to pay. I didn’t get to share Abby’s first mission trip experience, but in November with others from our faith family, I’ll get another shot.
My prayer for the next five weeks is that God through the power of the Holy Spirit will do some work on your heart. It starts now. I want you beginning today to be aware of when and how you are getting angry. Be conscious of when and how you get angry. Where are those moments that get you angry. When angry rises up pause, rise above your anger and ask yourself why. Why am I angry? Why did that upset me? Why did that tone of voice upset me? Why does that person or this situation get you angry? Pause and ask yourself “What is it that I want, that I’m not getting” that causes me to get angry.
During this series I strongly believe God is going to do a lot of maturing of us as individuals and as a faith community. I believe that if you and I give God permission to do what He wants to do, that is put a light on those areas, this is how we get better, this is how we grow, it’s not complicated, it’s simple saying, : “God, I’m open, help me get better.” Help me to live an examined life.If we do that God will show up is some weird and crazy ways in our life. We will begin to see life changing stuff. Marriages, relationships, distances closed. Ife change will happen.
Some of us here have hurt someone out of anger and there is a distance intentionally or unintentionally. But there is a distance between a parent and child, a coworker, a family member, a spouse. Some of you know exactly what that is and are feeling it on the inside. That is called a conviction. Not at condemnation, so own it. Some of us need to make a phone call, send a text, write a note of email, and simple say I’m sorry for the way I acted, I’m sorry for the thing I said and begin to let God do some healing in your life.
Pray for you, simple is this. “Lord, you have permission to show me those times and places where I have seen red and help me to dig my way out and restore what I have lost. Amen”