ANGER MANAGEMENT – 1 by Pastor Shah
This morning we are starting a miniseries from the Sermon on the Mount called “ANGER MANAGEMENT.”
Matt. 5 21“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, “Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Overall Background: After teaching his disciples and the multitudes to obey the laws and commandments of God, Jesus gives them a list of antitheses – “you have heard it said…but I say to you…” Just when they thought the 10 commandments were tough, He reminds them that His laws are even tougher. In other words, Jesus raises the bar on righteousness. Listen again – Trusting Jesus as your Savior does not absolve, exempt, or release you from obeying God’s commandments. In fact, Jesus makes it even harder. So how can we live up to such high standards? We can’t without the help of the Holy Spirit. Do you trust the Holy Spirit daily to live a life of obedience to God?
In laying out these antitheses or tougher commandments, Jesus begins by focusing on Anger. This is very interesting! Why did He choose Anger? For several reasons:
- Old problem – the very first sin in the Bible was committed because of anger. Genesis 4 3 And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. 4 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Abel and his offering, 5 but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. 6So the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry?…
- Devastating problem – What was the outcome of the first anger problem? God said to Cain in Genesis 4 7 “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” 8 Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.
- Universal problem – You don’t need a biblical example to understand this point. People everywhere struggle with anger. Even cultures that appear to be meek and subservient have anger just below the surface. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there.
- Difficult problem – Ask those who struggle with anger and they will tell you that they don’t like it when they get angry. They wish they could stop but once they get going, it is very hard to put the brakes on.
Application: Do you struggle with anger? Do you know someone who does? Even Christians struggle with anger. There is hope. Christ can set them free. But they have to come to the truth of the Word and let the Holy Spirit work in their lives. Are you saved?
3 things that we will try to understand today:
I. ANGER IS A DIVINE EMOTION
There is so much written and published about the source of anger, some by lay people and others by professionals. It reminds us that the issue is very complex. Here are 6 major views on anger:
- Frustration Model – Anger is just an individual’s response to the frustrations one faces in life. We all have certain expectations and when they’re not met, we get angry. The greater the gap between the expectations and the actual situation, the greater the anger. Sometimes it’s even expectations of our own self. There is some truth to this but there’s more to anger than that.
- Socially Learned Model – Anger is something that we observe and apply. We see our parents or siblings or friends or others use it to their benefit and we copy them. There is some truth to this but there’s more to anger than that.
- Hydraulic Model – Anger is pent up emotions coming out. It’s like water accumulating behind a dam. If it’s not discharged properly and in time it will blow up and destroy everything in its path. If someone has gone through some traumatic situations in life like accident or loss or abuse, people often say things like – “You’ve got to let it out.” There is some truth to this but there’s more to anger than that.
- Biochemical Model – Anger is the result of hormonal changes or activity in the limbic system. Testosterone or Norepinephrine is looked at as the cause. The real question is – “which one comes first?” Some medical scholars point to an overactive thyroid, high cholesterol, diabetes, and other diseases as the cause of anger. There might be some truth to that but there’s more to anger than that.
- Evolutionary Bargaining Model – Those who believe in evolution argue that Anger developed through the process of natural selection as humans used it to get what they wanted by intimidating and prevailing over others. In time anger as an emotion became part of the human psyche.
- Sin Nature Model – Many Christians actually believe that all anger is sinful. While it’s true that much of our anger is sinful, this does not mean that all anger is sinful.
Again, there’s some truth in all of this but none of them really help us much until we turn to the Bible. I have a Hebrew and Greek Concordance on my computer and I typed in the word “anger.” Guess who is the subject of almost all of the references to anger in the Bible? GOD. In the Old Testament the word anger is found 455 times and 375 refer to God! Here are some examples:
- Genesis 18:30 Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Suppose thirty should be found there?” So He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”…32 Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more: Suppose ten should be found there?”
- Numbers 11:1 Now when the people complained, it displeased the LORD; for the LORD heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the LORD burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp.
- Deuteronomy 1:34 “And the LORD heard the sound of your words, and was angry, and took an oath, saying, 35 “Surely not one of these men of this evil generation shall see that good land of which I swore to give to your fathers,
- Deuteronomy 4:21 Furthermore the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, and swore that I would not cross over the Jordan, and that I would not enter the good land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.
- Deut. 29:27 Then the anger of the LORD was aroused against this land, to bring on it every curse that is written in this book. 28 And the LORD uprooted them from their land in anger, in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day.’
- Judges 6:39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.”
- 2 Samuel 6:7 Then the anger of the LORD was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his error; and he died there by the ark of God.
- 1Kings 11:9 So the LORD became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from the LORD God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice,
- 2Kings 17:18 Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them from His sight; there was none left but the tribe of Judah alone.
- Ezra 9:14 should we again break Your commandments, and join in marriage with the people committing these abominations? Would You not be angry with us until You had consumed us, so that there would be no remnant or survivor?
- Psalm 7:11 God is a just judge, And God is angry with the wicked every day.
- Psalm 18:7 Then the earth shook and trembled; The foundations of the hills also quaked and were shaken, Because He was angry.
- Psalm 74:1 O God, why have You cast us off forever? Why does Your anger smoke against the sheep of Your pasture?
- Psalm 80:4 O LORD God of hosts, How long will You be angry Against the prayer of Your people?
- Isaiah 1:4 Alas, sinful nation, A people laden with iniquity, A brood of evildoers, Children who are corrupters! They have forsaken the LORD, They have provoked to anger The Holy One of Israel, They have turned away backward.
- Isaiah 13:9 Behold, the day of the LORD comes, Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, To lay the land desolate; And He will destroy its sinners from it…13 Therefore I will shake the heavens, And the earth will move out of her place, In the wrath of the LORD of hosts And in the day of His fierce anger.
- Jeremiah 3:12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say: “Return, backsliding Israel,’ says the LORD; “I will not cause My anger to fall on you. For I am merciful,’ says the LORD; ‘I will not remain angry forever.
- Jeremiah 7:20 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, My anger and My fury will be poured out on this place—on man and on beast, on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground. And it will burn and not be quenched.”
- Jeremiah 10:24 O LORD, correct me, but with justice; Not in Your anger, lest You bring me to nothing.
- Ezekiel 7:8 Now upon you I will soon pour out My fury, And spend My anger upon you; I will judge you according to your ways, And I will repay you for all your abominations.
- Daniel 9:16 “O Lord, according to all Your righteousness, I pray, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people are a reproach to all those around us.
- Amos 1:11 Thus says the LORD: “For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because he pursued his brother with the sword, And cast off all pity; His anger tore perpetually, And he kept his wrath forever.
- Zephaniah 3:8 “Therefore wait for Me,” says the LORD, “Until the day I rise up for plunder; My determination is to gather the nations To My assembly of kingdoms, To pour on them My indignation, All My fierce anger; All the earth shall be devoured With the fire of My jealousy.
Anger is God’s emotion. We shouldn’t make it sinful. It’s not the product of sin
II. ANGER IS A DERIVED EMOTION
It comes from 2 fundamental attributes of God:
Holiness – He forever stands against sin. He will not tolerate sin.
Love – He wants the best for us. He wants us to enjoy all the blessings of life.
We see this demonstrated in the life of Jesus. He got angry several times:
Mark 3:1 And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2 So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. 3 And He said to the man who had the withered hand, “Step forward.” 4 Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent. 5 And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.
John 2:13 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. 15 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. 16 And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” 17 Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.”
Jesus stood up for the holiness of God and He loved the common people and wanted them to find healing and hope. He was angry with those who were keeping the masses from coming to God.
III. ANGER IS A DISTORTED EMOTION
We get angry over the most trivial of things. For this kind of anger, Paul says – Eph. 4:31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
Col. 3:8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.
Then there is a place for righteous anger. We need it in our world today. Sadly it’s lacking.
Do you have the right kind of anger? Eph. 4:26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath,
Are you saved?