Sometimes I Get Angry

https://rhm.podbean.com/e/sometimes-i-get-angry/

 

Let’s look at the rather dangerous issue of anger:

“Sometimes I Get Angry” – “Rage Rash” 

Mark Twain once said: “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

So, we want to look at this commonly occurring issue and see if we can find out what the Bible says about … “Neutralizing the Acid of Anger”

Now I have a few things that make me angry … that makes my blood boil

      • People who don’t use their turn signals or turn them on after they move over to the turn lane … “Too late jerk. They are meant to tell us ahead of time what you plan to do”
      • Drivers who use their horn when arriving to pick someone up at the house next door and lean on it continually until the people comes out … “The horn works, try the windshield wipers!”
      • People who decide they need one more thing while checking out at the grocery store and leave to find it … “Never mind me, I wasn’t planning to do anything else with my life today”
      • People who call and get my answering system that tells them to leave a detailed message and so they leave their name and phone number which I already know because it registers on my phone … “What do you want?”
      • People who don’t stand to the right side on the moving sidewalks in airports
      • People who don’t treat others with dignity and respect – take them for granted, use and abuse others
      • People at Starbucks who wait until they are being served to begin to think about what they want
      • Believers who are still reading the King James Version and think it is the only accurate version of God’s Word
      • Sports being reported on during the nightly newscast … “There are hundreds of sports channels and ESPN reports every detail on 8 or 10 channels. Sports is not news!”

You are welcome to laugh at me for letting such little, petty things bother me so much 

It might even irritate you that I make a big deal out of such small stuff

But how about you:

What causes your blood to boil?

What are your pet peeves?

What are some of those little habits of other people that make you want to push them down the escalator at the mall?

Now here’s an even bigger question:

How do you deal with your anger on a daily basis?

Or, do you deal with it at all? (Rage Rash)

So many little things can get under our skin… causing an inner “smouldering inferno” 

A volcano that eventually explodes and erupts

      • Someone cuts in front of you in traffic
      • Someone’s rude to you, or speaks rudely to a person you care about
      • Someone you talked to today said something really arrogant — like they think they have all the answers
      • Those you are teamed up with to accomplish a project are not pulling their weight and it makes you look bad
      • Your husband leaves his dirty clothes on the floor
      • Your wife squeezes the toothpaste from the middle, mangling the entire tube in the process

Yes, little things can irritate us

And there are more than enough big things to make our blood pressure skyrocket

      • Natural disasters claim thousands of lives
      • Poverty runs rampant in many parts of the world
      • Children go to sleep at night hungry while people only a few miles away throw away pounds and pounds of uneaten food from overpriced buffets
      • Girls and boys suffer abuse from teachers, coaches, and even family members
      • Innocent bystanders are shot and killed in the crossfire of drug wars
      • People are tricked, kidnapped, taken advantage of — even sold as slaves
      • Human traffickers who thrive and become rich treating people like they are cattle

Do these issues upset you — keep you awake some nights — Make you angry?

Do they force you to change the channel or leave the room?

What really makes your blood boil?

What are the things that eat at you … stressing you out … robbing you of peace and joy in life?

Where does this anger come from?

And, maybe more importantly, what are we supposed to do about it?

The Bible has a few things to say about anger

In 15 different instances, the Bible mentions both the word anger and the word fire in the same verse

The comparison is not only dramatic and colourful but very revealing about the qualities of this volatile emotion … fire building until it erupts as a voluntary

Fire is a gift that can sustain life

 

When it’s contained, when you control it, when you manage it 

Fire can warm you

You can cook with it

You can use it to heat water for a warm bath

Or use it to light candles or lamps to brighten up a dark night

However, when a fire rages out of control and is not contained

It can destroy everything in its path

It can consume in minutes everything that you have spent a lifetime building

Wildfires can destroy thousands of hectares of timber, wildlife, and natural resources

Fire can even claim lives

The Bible points out that just like fire, our anger can be used constructively or destructively

Anger can cause us to fight for justice 

Anger can cause us to stand up and pursue God’s righteousness

Anger can cleanse, restore, and unite

But if we allow our anger to rage out of control (“Rage Rash”) it can lead us to hurt others, destroy relationships, and permanently wound people

Our anger can reflect God’s character

Or it can distance us from Him

Anger can invite God’s Spirit into our lives to examine a hard truth

Or it can allow the devil to come into your life and bring serious destruction

Question: 

When was the last time you invited the devil into your heart for a sleepover?

Strange question?

Not if you consider Ephesians 4:26-27

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”

 

The Message Version: “Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.”

The opening comment is important to note:

“In your anger do not sin” … this comes from Psalm 4:4

This tells us – it is important to note – that anger in and of itself is not sinful

Again, just like fire, there are two types of anger

The first, the “good” kind, is what we might call sanctified or righteous anger

It’s the powerful emotion we experience when we get upset at something that affronts God

Something that opposes His truth

This kind of anger leads us to a righteous reaction

We take a stand

We speak the truth

We openly express the problem in a way that accurately represents God’s heart

The second – the “bad” kind of anger usually results when we lose control of our emotions and take matters into our own hands … “Don’t let the sun set…”

Sinful anger is getting angry at something 

Maybe even something legitimate

Maybe something that also angers God

BUT – a big BUT – then allowing that anger to lead us to do the wrong thing

The second part of our verses from Ephesians says:

“Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry”

If you’re angry, you should deal with it

Why?

Because the Bible tells us what happens if we do go to bed angry

We give the devil a foothold

The Greek word for foothold is ‘topos’

It literally means “opportunity” or “location”

It’s an occupied territory

If you open the door to the devil through your anger, you are offering him a guest room inside your heart

Talk about sleeping with the enemy!

Scripture is full of examples of people who allowed the devil to set up camp in their hearts

The story of Cain and Able … the first recorded sibling rivalry between Adam and Eve’s sons 

Both made offerings to God

God accepted Abel’s sacrifice because he made it exactly as God had instructed

But God didn’t accept Cain’s because Cain decided to do it his own way

When God rejected what Cain brought, Cain became extremely angry

He opens the door and allowed the devil to walk right in

Consider what God said to Cain:

“Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right., sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it” (Genesis 4:6-7)

You know the rest of the story

Cain let his anger overtake him and he murdered his brother, Abel

God warned Cain that sin was crouching at his door because of his anger

But instead of dealing with the anger and locking the door of his heart and then barricading it

Cain opened it wide and allowed the enemy occupation

By allowing his anger to rule over him and not dealing with it correctly

His lack of containment led straight to sin

And not just any sin, but taking a human life (murder)

Hopefully you have never allowed your anger to reach the boiling point of taking someone’s life

However, if you’ve allowed your anger free reign enough to even wish someone else were dead, then in God’s eyes, you’re as guilty as Cain

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explained…

Matthew 5:21-22 ““You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister, will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”

Jesus said that we don’t have to physically murder someone to be guilty of killing them

We can murder them in our thoughts … with our angry thoughts

Jesus said that if we even call them “fool,” we are endangering our souls

“Raca” was an Aramaic term of contempt, similar to the way we use “idiot” or “jerk”

And, if we were being honest with each other, the terms we have thought of, and even said, when mad at someone are far worse

The lesson: Yes, God’s Word is very clear that if we don’t get a handle on our anger, it will get a handle on us – grab hold of us and destroy us!

How does your anger usually manifest itself?

What is your default style of conflict management?

There are basically two ways people handle their “bad” type of anger….

1> Spewers

When you explode and then look around … if you see substantial collateral damage in the wake of your rage

Then you are a “Spewer”. You erupt like a volcano and spew over everyone who is near you and some who are not

Or, as the bible calls us – fools.

Proverbs 29:11a “Fools give full vent to their rage…”

2> Stewers

If you deal with your inner anger by bottling it up – then you are a “Stewer”

You might not explode and lash out, but your anger is still there

Instead of an exploding volcano, you’re more like a wildfire hiding below the tree line after a lightening strike

The sparks of your anger come out by rolling your eyes or being sarcastic

The quiet / silent treatment

You hold a grudge and look for the opportunity for payback

You could even be hypercritical and judgmental as a result of your slow-burning coals of anger

David in the Old Testament was a frequent “Stewer”

Psalm 32:3 records a time when David was really upset and angry … but holding it all in 

“When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.”

David bottled it up, like many of us do

We get upset, and rather than talking things out in a healthy way, we pour them into an internal crock pot and pressure cook them

Sure, on the outside, you might look like you have yourself under control

But just below the surface, you’re smouldering, building up heat that could erupt into flames any minute

The water behind the dam is rising and the dam will one day break

What “Stewers” practice is the opposite of love

1 Corinthians 13:5 says that love “is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

But Stewers keep a long list of offences:

 

      • “She did this…”
      • “He did that…”
      • “I’ll never forgive them for…”

They stew and stew on the ways they feel others have wronged them

Whether served cold or hot, “anger stew” is a poisonous dish that will grow a cancer inside you

In the story of the prodigal son, you may remember the younger brother said, “Dad, give me all my stuff” (see Luke 15:2)

His father gave him his inheritance, and he left and partied hard – blowing through the cash faster than a first-timer in Los Vegas

When he finally came home, empty-handed and ashamed, everyone was shocked when his father loved him openly and took him back in

And not only did he take him back, he actually threw a huge party for him

When the older brother found out what was going on, however, he got so angry, he wouldn’t go in the house.

Stewing and storming around outside, the older brother finally let it out when his father came out to talk with him

“I kept all your stupid rules. I’ve worked like a dog for you and always did everything you asked. You never gave me a party! It’s just not fair (Luke 15:29-30)

No doubt the older brother was a classic stewer

Proverbs 17:14 says, “Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out”

Regardless of whether we are a Spewer (volcano) or a Stewer (dam), we are likely going to wind up in the sewer unless we learn to control our response to our anger and express it productively

If you know (and you do) that your anger is leading you to sin 

Either inside your heart

Or with external behaviour

Then you must do something about it – and put the fire out before the volcano erupts or the dam breaks and people around you get hurt

While putting out the fire might feel impossible – it is a choice, a decision you make

You can control your anger with help

Ask God to dry up the rising waters with His Spirit before the dam breaks (Stewers)

Ask God to put the fire out before the volcano erupts (Spewers)

The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) …

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

“Self-control” is ‘control of self by the Holy Spirit’

Add to this seeing things in the right perspective

Some things (in fact, a lot of things) are just not worth getting angry about

James 1:19-20 “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”

We need to grab hold of this truth….

Your anger won’t ever fulfill what God desires – His righteousness seen in your life

 

In the Bible we see that “slow to anger” is one of God’s amazing character traits

Seven different Bible writers noticed that God is slow to anger

And, along with this trait they mention a second one: “Abounding in love”

With the help of the Holy Spirit – the fruit known as “self-control” — we can become slow to anger and abounding in love in all of our relationships and in all situations as He shows us the right perspective and the big picture

So there are basically three things we can do

In order – the way to be “slow to anger” is:

1> Listen

2> Take time to process before speaking

3> Don’t jump straight to being angry

In closing let’s quickly look at the other kind of anger that I mentioned at the start – sanctified anger

This requires a totally different type of response

Scripture offers several examples of Jesus getting angry – but He never sinned

His was a righteous anger – sanctified anger

One of my favourites is the story in Mark 3:1-6 about the man with a shrivelled hand

This man happened to be in the synagogue on the Sabbath

The Pharisees were there, too, watching Jesus to see if He might dare to heal someone on the Sabbath

Apparently, they considered performing a miracle on their holy day to be a monumental sin

Jesus seemed to know what they were thinking

In verse 4 Jesus asks them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?”

They refuse to answer

In verse 5 it says, “He looked around at them in anger … deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts.”

Jesus was mad

He was angry

All He wanted to do was demonstrate God’s love to people in need

But His detractors were watching His every move, hellbent on keeping God’s freedom out of their synagogues and temple

If I had Jesus’ power, I don’t know if I could have been so kind

I might raise my hands, and bam! They’d all have hemorrhoids

Okay, so maybe that’s just me

And that would be letting my anger lead me to sin

Instead, Jesus “said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand,’ He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored” (Mark 3:5)

Rather than allowing His anger to bring about an argument or the giving of a rebuke – causing Him to sin – Jesus redirected His anger to do something righteous

We can do the same

CONCLUSION:

It’s okay to be angry

You can be angry and not sin

Let the Spirit of God control your heart and mind

If you are in a relationship that seems to bring out the worst in you – “makes you angry”

Get angry

Not at the person or the situation

 

Get mad at the devil – the evil one – who’s moved his stuff into your home

Put him on notice

Kick him out

No more sleep-overs

Deal with the anger so it does not lead you into sin … don’t let the sun set while angry

Don’t be a Stewer or a Spewer

And, with righteous anger….

Are you sick of seeing disease and poverty and cruelty, maybe in another country or even in your own city

Get angry – and do something righteous about it

Do you love someone who’s wallowing in self-destruction, making one bad decision after another?

Get angry – reach out to them with everything in you – do something righteous

Get angry about the things that anger God

So, who’s in charge of your life?

Sin is crouching at your door

Don’t let your hair-trigger anger tell you what to do anymore

Be wise – don’t give your enemy even a spot of ground to stand on – not a nanometer

Don’t spew like a volcano 

Don’t stew about it – love keeps no record of wrongs – like a dam holding back the water

Allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you 

Let the fruit of the Spirit grow and flourish in your heart and life

Especially the fruit of self-control

Then, at all times be “slow to anger”

1> Listen

2> Take time to process before speaking

3> Don’t jump straight to being angry

And then “Rage Rash” will be something in the past in your life…