Bible Faith Fellowship: Substance Over Form

Anger Management

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Joseph Tokar

Anger Management Anger Management

Date 2011-06-06
Series Anger
Document (PDF) BFF-20110606-AngerManagement.pdf
Call to Worship


Anger is part of our lives almost every day. We see anger in others; we see anger on TV, in movies, hear it on the radio and see it in our daily lives. Where does it come from? Why does it have such power over people and lives and countries? To see anger all we have to do is drive around for a little while, or look in any public high school. The other day was graduation for Beaufort High. Approximately 370 students graduated in the class of 2011. After the graduation, there were 9 fights, 6 hit-and-runs and numerous destructive acts in the parking lot and school. Why? Why are we so angry as a nation?

In the classroom I was stunned at how many of the students at Beaufort High are self-destructive in their anger. Watching them explode and then implode because they have no control over their emotions.

So what is anger really? I looked up anger and it was not a very helpful definition.

Definition of ANGER transitive verb: to make angry <he was angered by the decision> intransitive verb: to become angry

So I looked up angry - also not very helpful.

Definition of ANGRY 1: feeling or showing anger 2 a: indicative of or proceeding from anger <angry words>b: seeming to show anger or to threaten in an angry manner<an angry sky>

Is our nation so angry all the time that we don’t even need a definition for the word? We all know what it means - how sad.

Wikipedia says that anger is a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.

God’s word speaks about anger in so many places, God never says not to become angry, but He does warn us about anger.

James 1:19-21 (NIV) 19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

“Slow to become angry” Not: Do not be angry, but slow to become angry.

Proverbs 29:11 (NIV) 11 Fools give full vent to their rage,     but the wise bring calm in the end.

Proverbs 29:22 (NIV) 22 An angry person stirs up conflict,     and a hot-tempered person commits many sins

Proverbs 15:18 (NIV) 18 A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict,     but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.

Proverbs 14:17 (NIV) 17 A quick-tempered person does foolish things,     and the one who devises evil schemes is hated

See, what God says about people who get angry quickly is that they are fools and are prone to commit many sins. When we lose our tempers, we don’t hear God, we don’t hear the Holy Spirit and we say and do things that are not Godly.

But it is SO easy to let anger have control, so easy to respond to someone else’s anger with anger of your own. How many times do we get into arguments and lose our tempers? Especially with people we love, they seem to be able to “push our buttons” better than others. And once we’re angry, we lose control of our tongues.

James 3:1-12 (NIV) 1 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.  3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.  7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.  9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Humans become angry fast; Scripture says it has been this way since the fall of man. And we do very stupid things when we are angry.

Genesis 4:3-11 (NIV) 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.  6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 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.”  8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.  9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”    “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”  10 The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.

God asks Cain why he is angry, He doesn’t tell Cain to stop being angry, He does however tell Cain to do what is right, warning him that sin is “crouching at the door” and that he must rule over it. God warns Cain to rule over his anger and not let it rule over him. Paul writes the same message in Ephesians.

Ephesians 4:26-27 (NIV) 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.

So how do we deal with our anger? What advice does God give us to handle our tempers?

Ecclesiastes 7:9 (KJV) 9Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools

Ephesians 4:31-32 (KJV) 31Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you

Colossians 3:8 (KJV) 8But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

Basically, God tells us to put our anger aside, be slow to anger, be patient, be kind. Treebeard says “Don’t be hasty.” We must put aside ourselves and put God first, others second and ourselves last. So difficult sometimes, but again, God knows that we need help and in His word He gives us perfect advice.

Proverbs 19:11 (ESV) 11 Good sense makes one slow to anger,    and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

Proverbs 16:32 (ESV) 32 Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty,    and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

Proverbs 12:16 (NIV) 16 Fools show their annoyance at once,     but the prudent overlook an insult.

So how do we avoid anger? We stay away from things that are un-Godly. Choose carefully what we watch, be picky about what we listen to, shun angry people. It is up to us to do what God wants, to answer softly.

Proverbs 15:1 (ESV) 1 A soft answer turns away wrath,    but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 22:24 (NIV) 24 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person,     do not associate with one easily angered,

In summary: God allows us to be angry, knowing that He created us with emotions and we know that anger in itself is not sin. Anger leads to sin when we don’t deal with it correctly. Be patient, be kind, respond softly when others are angry. Choose wisely what you listen to, watch and who you hang out with. Love one another.

Let’s pray.