The Things Killing Us–Anger

Posted: August 30, 2010 in Uncategorized

I learned about anger after getting married.  I don’t care if you grew up in south central L.A. listening to NWA, the most gangsta thing you will ever see is a spouse who opens your credit card bill and discovers that you threw down a few grand on something.  That is when you know anger…and fear!

Anger is powerful.

Did you know that anger is harder on the body than bad food or strenuous exercise.  Anger can actually destroy your body
Anger can also destroy your relationships by provoking harsh words. How many ex’s can you identify that became ex’s because of a blow up and somebody saying something nasty when he or she was angry?
Anger can destroy even our reputations by making us act like idiots.  What would happen if someone recorded you losing it on the highway or whatever with their cell phone? What are you going to tell your family and friends when your highlighted on Tosh.o?
Because of anger’s power, Christians have often been taught that anger in-and-of-itself is sinful
Yet, the Bible teaches us that the lack of anger can actually be sinful.
God, including Jesus, often becomes angry…but they are SLOW to anger (Exodus 34:6 and Proverbs 14:29 and 15:18).
Moreover, Paul teaches us to “be angry but sin not” (Ephesians 4:26-27).
If the person you love is threatened then you become angry or you really don’t love the person at all.
As Tim Keller points out, the opposite of love is not anger but hate and the ultimate demonstration of hate is apathy. 
The reason God gets angry in the Bible is that He loves us and our sin threatens us and others. If you find out that someone did something stupid that risked your child’s life or your spouse’s life then what do you feel? Anger! Righteous anger.  The same anger that God feels when our sin, or rebellion, threatens His holiness, our lives and the lives of others. Anger born of love is a good thing.
So, anger is powerful but not sinful in-and-of-itself, so how do we channel it so that it doesn’t lead to sin?
Biblical counselor s like Jay Adams recommend a number of things:
(1) Confess our anger and seek forgiveness.  If you are angry with someone then tell them.  Calmly confront them and tell them that they hurt you.  It is the only way to truly achieve reconciliation.  If you lose your temper with someone, regardless of the reason why, then seek forgiveness because you were not “slow to anger” as God is and we should be.
(2) Analyze it.  Ask why we are angry? What injustice is truly being committed? If someone cuts you off on the highway is it really worth becoming angry over? Anger should be directed at the problem, not the person.  It should be directed at sin not the sinner for we are all sinful creatures in deep need of grace.
(3)Temper our anger and absorb the anger of others.
We often lose our anger in family situations but not at work…why? Are our family members less important to us than a paycheck?  We know how to temper our anger when it is important to us…how important is your family to you? Only God should demand more of your loyalty.
When Jesus was tortured and murdered he responded with “forgive them, Father.  They don’t know what they are doing.” 
Jesus absorbed both the unrighteous anger of his people and the righteous anger of God and responded with a gentle word and a servant is not above his master. 
Be angry but sin not.

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