HOW TO HANDLE TOXIC PEOPLE – Part 2 (Article) by Abidan Paul Shah

HOW TO HANDLE TOXIC PEOPLE – Part 2 (Article) by Abidan Paul Shah

(Published in the newspaper Daily Dispatch, Henderson on October 14, 2017)

How to handle toxic people - Abidan ShahMy last article, “How To Handle Toxic People,” drew more responses than any of my pervious articles! Evidently, it touched a nerve and God used it to meet a real need. Thank you for all the words of appreciation! Some of you raised a question that I feel the answer may benefit others as well – “Daily we go through minor toxic encounters that leave us feeling upset to one degree or another. Does that mean that for each of those incidents we have to go through the same process of praying for 20 days until we are free of the toxin?” Of course not. Toxic people and minor toxic encounters are two different things. The first are individuals who perpetually cause us to feel miserable and the second are chance happenings that inject just enough toxin in us to ruin our spirit. Although the latter are not as harmful as the former, don’t assume that they are completely harmless. If left untreated, those emotional fender-benders can cause us to ruin others’ spirits as well. Let me explain below.

Imagine several scenarios: a kid at the drive-thru messes up your order; someone cuts you off on the freeway; someone fails to thank you for your hard work on some project; and you wave at a friend who doesn’t wave back with the same energy. Or, how about the big one: You put a post on Facebook that you think should go viral and only 3 people like it…What do you do next? Each of those encounters have the potential to initiate an unhealthy conversation within you. For the kid at the drive-thru: “Kids these days are so disrespectful.” For the person who cut you off: “I hope he/she gets caught.” For the friend who didn’t seem that excited to see you: “I’m looking the other way next time.” For those who failed to appreciate your hard work: “I am not appreciated.” And yes, for Facebook, one of those: “If you are my true friend, you’ll comment below and repost.” Such negative self-talk will surely ruin your attitude and keep you from living up to your potential. Unfortunately, such unhealthy conversations don’t stay locked inside for long. Sooner or later they spill over on to the unsuspecting individuals in your lives. In other words, your quest for justice will not rest until someone is convicted, sentenced, or punished. Since you cannot prosecute the original perpetrators, you will substitute those innocent, weak, and docile individuals in your life. Your kids, your husband, your wife, your church family, your neighbor, and your best friend will pay for a crime they did not commit.

What is the solution? First, recognize when your spiritual equilibrium has been disturbed. In other words, acknowledge the gnawing feeling that some wrong may have been committed against you. Second, immediately take charge of your internal conversation. 2 Corinthians 10:5 reminds us that we should be “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” A runaway thought is like a runaway train. There will be casualties. Third, refrain from judging the motives of others. 1 Corinthians 2:11 “For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?” Ultimately, only God knows the true intents of each human heart. Fourth, pray for that individual. Nothing will neutralize hate and anger faster than sincere prayer. Follow the example of our Savior: Luke 23:34 “Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’” Don’t misunderstand. There may be situations where more than prayer is called for but there’s a big difference between restitution and retaliation. Fifth, practice the lost art of the unsent angry letter. Abraham Lincoln would often write his “hot letter” but postpone sending it until he had cooled down. He never sent most of them.

 

HOW TO HANDLE TOXIC PEOPLE (Article) by Abidan Paul Shah

HOW TO HANDLE TOXIC PEOPLE (Article) by Abidan Paul Shah 

(Published in the newspaper Daily Dispatch, Henderson on August 19, 2017)

It was a perfect end to a busy week. I had accomplished everything on my agenda, which is rare. Now it was time to head home and catch up on some well-needed family time. My face was smiling, my shoulders were relaxed, my mind was clear, my steps were unhurried, and I was humming Old Satch, “What a Wonderful World.” Then it happened. In a matter of seconds, the smile vanished, the shoulders became tense, the mind turned muddy, the swag was gone, and I think I began humming Old Hank, “I’m so Lonesome I Could Cry.” The family time was nothing like I had envisioned. If truth be told, it was a rather miserable weekend. You ask, “What brought such sudden and miserable change?” Well, I ran into a toxic person. You know the type who pushes you into Bunyan’s Slough of Despond, the fictional bog in which a person sinks under the weight of sin, guilt, shame, and discouragement. Have you ever been a victim of a toxic person? Let me share with you how to handle them:

First, recognize them for who they are. Toxic people come in all types. Dr. Travis Bradberry (double PhD in Clinical and Industrial-Organizational Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology and author of the best seller Emotional Intelligence 2.0) identifies 10 kinds of toxic people: The Gossip, The Temperamental, The Victim, The Self-Absorbed, The Envious, The Manipulator, The Dementor, The Twisted, The Judgmental, and The Arrogant. Most of these designations are self-explanatory except for maybe the Dementor and the Twisted. The former are the kind who suck the life out of the room by their negativity and pessimism and the latter are out to hurt you, make you feel bad, or get something from you. Bradberry warns, “toxic people drive your brain into a stressed-out state that should be avoided at all costs…Toxic people don’t just make you miserable—they’re really hard on your brain.”

Next, always be prepared to face toxic people. To think that we can avoid them completely is unrealistic and naïve. They might be in the family, neighborhood, workplace, or social organizations (even church!). Trying to ignore them or keep them at arm’s length will only aggravate the situation and attempting to mirror their behavior will only lead to disaster. Instead, learn their behavior patterns and establish the appropriate emotional boundaries in your mind. Don’t get smug like me and stumble into a bad weekend. Also, avoid any toxic song, show, movie, book, or event in your life. Such things only add unnecessary toxicity to your life.

What if the damage has been done? Many years ago I allowed a toxic person to steal my joy. It took a toll on my health, family, and spiritual life. God in his mercy sent a mature person into my life who immediately recognized my distress. He pointedly asked, “Do you want this toxin out of your system?” At first I pretended to be fine and then the Holy Spirit convicted me of my pride. This godly person told me that he too struggled with it and he found help in Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:44 “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” He said, “Start praying that God would bless this person who has been toxic in your life. Pray for the next 20 days for physical, spiritual, and financial blessing in their life. Be aware that the first time you pray that it will be impossible to mouth those words. Do it again the next day and you might feel sick to your stomach but don’t stop. Eventually, it will become easier and easier. Then, there will come a day when you will pray and actually find yourself praying sincerely as if for a friend. Somewhere towards the end of the 20 days, you’ll wake up one morning and realize that you are free. The toxin has cleared out of your system.” Guess what! It actually worked!

Ultimately, sin is the toxin and only the grace of God through Jesus Christ can heal your life. Give it a try today.

Anger Management Part Three

ANGER MANAGEMENT – 3 by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

anger3Introduction: This morning we are in part three in our miniseries on Anger from the Sermon of the Mount.

Matthew 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: 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. Last weekend, we first tried to understand what is “anger with a cause.” It is anger when people harden their hearts, when leaders compromise the gospel, when people act like they know better than God, when we see the innocent being mistreated, and when Christians give a bad testimony. The point is – not all anger is bad. Remember – anger is a divine emotion (it comes from God) and it is a derived emotion (it comes out when God’s Holiness and Love come together). We need this kind of anger today – Anger With a Cause. By the way, it’s not mean or hateful or vindictive but it stands up for what is right, for the truth of God.

But, there is another kind of Anger, Anger Without A Cause, which is what this text is about. This kind of anger is not righteous, it is not godly, and it does not bring any good. In fact, it destroys, it is deadly, and it is demonic. No matter how much you justify or rationalize it, it is sinful and against God’s will. Jesus actually compares it to murder. Listen to verse 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…” In essence, Jesus is saying – “Murder is bad but anger without a cause is worse!”

Question: Do you have this kind of anger? Should I ask – “Does your friend have this kind of anger?” How has it affected your spiritual life, family life, relationships, and work performance? How do you feel when the dust settles? Are you ready for a change? Are you saved?

Let’s look at anger “without a cause.” It comes out —

I. WHEN WE FEEL REJECTED

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,

Background: Cain and Abel were sons of Adam and Eve. Both of them had respectable occupations – Cain was a farmer and Abel was a Shepherd. When it came time for the offering, God accepted Abel’s offering over Cain’s. Why? Because the offering was supposed to be a blood sacrifice that would represent our forgiveness of sins and refer to the coming of the One who would die for our sins. Cain must have gotten tired of buying a lamb from his brother every time he had to offer a sacrifice and so he decided to make a change. Why can’t God accept my best? What’s wrong with fruits and vegetables? Several things wrong with that – one, the blood sacrifice represented life for life, my sins upon the Lamb; second, it gave a distorted image of God. God is Spirit and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth. He doesn’t eat fruits and vegetables.

Listen to verse 5 but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. Cain must’ve felt rejected. God even tried to remind Cain – 6 So the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 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.” What was the result? Cain killed Abel.

Life is full of rejections – relationships, job opportunities, church responsibilities, and the list goes on. Rejection is painful. It makes us question our self-worth. It causes us to lose our self-confidence. It incites us to resent the one who is accepted or selected. How you deal with rejection is important? Review what happened, rectify what is missing, reach out to God, and renew your determination. What happens when you don’t deal properly with rejection? Resentment follows. Rebellion follows. Wrath follows.

Jesus gives us an excellent illustration on how to handle rejection. There’s an incident in the Gospels when Jesus went to a certain village of the Samaritans and they did not let him come into their village. Why? Because he was headed to Jerusalem. Samaritans and Jewish people didn’t get along. What is interesting is the response of two brothers, James and John, who were known as the Sons of Thunder. Meaning: they had a bad temper. Listen to their response in Luke 9:54 “And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, ‘Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?’” 55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village.

Application: What kind of spirit do you have? Have you been rejected? How are you handling it? Rejection left alone will lead to resentment, which will lead to rebellion, which will lead to wrath.

II. WHEN WE FEEL STRESSED OUT

We all know about the prophet Jonah – how God called him to go to Nineveh but he ran from God (we’ve been to this place) and how God sent a big storm. Jonah himself asked to be thrown overboard and a big fish swallowed him.

  • He was inside the fish for 3 days and 3 nights! How would your mental state be? I would say you’d be a little stressed!
  • But after that Jonah is vomited onto dry land. But God’s not through with Jonah – “It’s time to go to Nineveh.” So now he has to travel from the Mediterranean coast to Nineveh, which is a long way. That is stressful!
  • Finally, he is at the gates of Nineveh. Ninevites were not known for their hospitality! It usually didn’t make it on anybody’s bucket list to visit. These people were known for their highly advanced torture techniques. That’s stressful!
  • He enters into this exceedingly great city and has to walk through it – that is 3 days journey in length. That is stressful!
  • Keep in mind – this is not a leisurely walk through the historic district of Nineveh. He has to preach to them – “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” That is stressful!

What’s the result? The people repented, even their King, and God turn from his fierce anger and did not destroy Nineveh. What is Jonah’s response? Jonah 4 1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. 2 So he prayed to the LORD, and said, “Ah, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. 3 Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!” Why? Yes – he is prejudiced against the Ninevites but it’s more than that. Listen to God’s question for Jonah in Jonah 4:4 Then the LORD said, “Is it right for you to be angry?” He doesn’t even answer God but goes outside the city limits, makes himself a shelter, and sits down to see what will happen next.

God just told him what will happen but he doesn’t get it. So God created an object lesson for Jonah. God raised up land to grow up and provide shade for Jonah. This made Jonah very happy period but the next morning God prepared a worm and it went and destroyed the plant. By noon time, the sun beat down on his head and the hot east wind blew against him. Jonah almost fainted and once again he said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” Listen to God’s question again in Jonah 4:9 Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” And he said, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death!” Listen to God’s answer in Jonah 4:10   But the LORD said, “You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. 11 And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?”

Finally, Jonah had nothing to say. Why? He knew better.

When we are overly stressed out, we do things and say things that we would typically not do and say. When confronted with the truth, we know better.

Application: Are you stressed out? Are you getting enough sleep? When was the last time you took a break? In your spiritual life, are you resting in Christ? Are you praying daily?

III. WHEN WE FEEL EXPOSED 

We all know about Joseph and how his brothers had sold him into slavery. But God in His sovereign plan raised him to be second in command in Egypt. When there was a famine all over the world, his brothers came and stood in front of Joseph. They didn’t recognize him but he did. Finally, he revealed to them who he was. Listen to Genesis 45 3 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph; does my father still live?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed in his presence. 4 And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” So they came near. Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. Joseph is so wise now. He knows that their immediate response would be sorry and anger. So he reminds them that God allowed this to happen for everyone’s good.

Truth can either set us free or make us angry. Unfortunately, many times people get angry and mad when they face the truth. Sometimes they are mad at the person telling them the truth, sometimes they are mad at someone else, and other times they are mad at themselves. None of these are the right kind of anger. They don’t help or heal. They only bring more pain. Sometimes some people even get angry with God.

Application: Are you angry with someone because they had exposed you to the truth about you? Are you angry with God? What are you going to do?

Here are some solutions:

  • Recognize that you are angry.
  • Pray for the one who rejected you.
  • Ask for God’s wisdom, healing, and forgiveness.
  • Humble yourself and look to Him every moment.

Are you saved?

Anger Management Part Two

ANGER MANAGEMENT – 2 by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson

anger2This morning we are in part 2 of our miniseries from the Sermon on the Mount called “ANGER MANAGEMENT.”

Matthew 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: Last weekend we set the foundation for understanding anger. Anger, we learned, is a divine emotion – When you study the Bible, it doesn’t take long to see that God gets angry more than anyone else. We also learned that anger is a derived emotion – When God’s Holiness and God’s Love meet, God’s Anger follows. It does 2 things: First, it sets out to destroy sin; and second, it brings us in line with His righteousness. We see that throughout the Old Testament. But God also knew that we are prone to sin and we cannot stand against His anger. Psalm 103:14 “For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” Hence, since the beginning of time God initiated a plan to pour His anger against sin on His own Son. Being fully God and without sin, only Jesus could take God’s wrath upon Himself. Isaiah 53 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 6 …And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. What was the result? Romans 5:9 “…having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” Isn’t that amazing how God’s wrath poured upon Jesus has saved us from the terrible judgment to come?!! But it doesn’t end there. All that so far is negative. God’s anger also does something very positive for us – 2 Corinthians 5:21 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” God’s anger is not just some negative destructive force. When the dust settles from His wrath, there is something wonderful waiting for us. We now have the nature of Christ. Question: Have you trusted in Jesus as your Savior? If not, you’re still under God’s wrath. John 3:16 says it clearly.

Now for our message today – We are made in the image of God and just like Him we’ve been given certain emotions like love, joy, confidence, satisfaction, and even anger. Just like God, anger is given to deal with sin and bring God’s righteousness into this world. Unfortunately, just like other emotions, we have abused and misused it no end.

Question: How are you using anger in your life? Are you known as an angry person? Are you known as hot-tempered? Do you agree that you have a short fuse?

This morning we will understand the difference between right and wrong use of anger:

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.’ Jesus begins by quoting the sixth of the Ten Commandments. But then He raises the bar of righteousness in the next verse – 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause.”

Background: Some of your translations might omit the phrase “without a cause.” Many Bibles have a little footnote or a comment in the margin that goes something like this – “‘without a cause’ does not exist in the earliest Greek manuscripts.” I’ve studied this subject for the past 17 years and it’s the focus of my PhD work. This is what I’ve found – even though a couple of early manuscripts do not have this word, it is found overwhelmingly in all the remaining manuscripts, almost all the early versions, and almost all the early church fathers/pastors preached on it. Unlike our English translation – “without a cause” = three words, the Greek is just one word – “ekei.” It’s very possible that it was accidentally omitted.

But even if that’s not the case, we know that all anger is not sin – Psalm 4:4 “Be angry, and do not sin.” And Paul says in Ephesians 4:26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath…” Jesus Himself got angry several times so it doesn’t make sense for Him to denounce anger completely.

So what is Anger with a Cause? The Bible gives us several illustrations of this anger. There is Anger With a Cause–

  1. When people harden their hearts – You remember the account in Exodus where Pharaoh kept hardening his heart and refusing to let God’s people go. God told Moses that He was about to send the ultimate plague and the first born of man and beast will die. So Moses went before Pharaoh and begged him to let the Hebrews go. But as before his heart was hardened. So listen to Exodus 11:8 “Then he went out from Pharaoh in great anger.” Why was Moses so angry? Because Pharaoh was willing to destroy his own people, even his own firstborn son, for his foolish pride.

Here’s the point – it should anger us when people harden their hearts towards God. Please don’t misunderstand – I’m not suggesting that we should call people names and hurt them. That would be sin. This kind of anger seeks to prove God in the face of hardened hearts. Jesus demonstrated this in Mark 3:5 “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.”

  1. When leaders compromise the Gospel – God had given specific commands on how to perform the various sacrifices and offerings in the Old Testament. The priests had to eat the goat of the sin offering in the holy place. It was not just to burn on the altar. Why? Because all these offerings and sacrifices pointed to the Lamb of God. You cannot pick and choose Jesus. But listen to Leviticus 10 16 Then Moses made careful inquiry about the goat of the sin offering, and there it was—burned up. And he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron who were left, saying, 17 “Why have you not eaten the sin offering in a holy place, since it is most holy, and God has given it to you to bear the guilt of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the LORD?

Here’s the point – it should anger us when people compromise the gospel. When the simple gospel of trusting in the blood of Christ is compromised, we need to speak up. Paul talked about this to the Galatian church. They were being influenced by Judaizers who were compelling them to be circumcised. Listen to Paul in Galatians 2 11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed…” What did Peter do that was so wrong? 12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?…16 knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ… We don’t have to be hateful or mean-spirited but when the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ is compromised, we are obligated to get angry and confront and clarify. Unfortunately, we fuss about side issues.

  1. When people act like they know better than God – You remember when God told the Israelites to only gather the Manna for the day but the people disobeyed God and decided to store some. God wanted them to trust Him for their daily bread but they disobeyed. So listen to Exodus 16:20 “…But some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them. Why was Moses angry with them? Because they thought they did not trust God and wanted to do things their way.

Here’s the point – it should anger us when people think they know better than God. We find a similar example in Matthew 16 21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. 22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” 23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” I’m not suggesting we call each other the Devil but it should anger us when people act like they know better than God.

  1. When we see the innocent being mistreated – You remember the account when Saul became jealous of David and tried every opportunity to have him killed. Saul’s own son Jonathan helped David escape and even confronted his father for his behavior. One day there was a heated argument between the two and Saul called him all kinds of names and told him to go find David so he could kill him but Jonathan refused. Listen to 1 Samuel 20 32 And Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said to him, “Why should he be killed? What has he done?” 33 Then Saul cast a spear at him to kill him, by which Jonathan knew that it was determined by his father to kill David. 34 So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and ate no food the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, because his father had treated him shamefully.

Here’s the point – It should anger us when we see the innocent being mistreated, no matter who or where they are. One reason Jesus cleansed the temple in anger is because the innocent multitude couldn’t even get to the temple to worship God in peace.

  1. When Christians give a bad testimony – In the book of Nehemiah we read how some Jewish people were taking advantage of each other to the point that they were even buying each other’s sons and daughters as slaves. Nehemiah 5 6 And I became very angry when I heard their outcry and these words. 7 After serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and rulers, and said to them, “Each of you is exacting usury from his brother.” So I called a great assembly against them. 8 And I said to them, “According to our ability we have redeemed our Jewish brethren who were sold to the nations. Now indeed, will you even sell your brethren? Or should they be sold to us?” Then they were silenced and found nothing to say.

Here’s the point – it should anger us when Christians give a bad testimony. We are a family redeemed by the blood of Christ. We should speak up when we hear someone destroying the family name. Paul got angry with the Corinthians because they were tolerating open sin and destroying their testimony. I Corinthians 4:21 What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness? 5:1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! Paul is angry because in technicality they were destroying their testimony.

We can go on and on with more examples, here’s the point – There is a place for righteous anger or right use of anger. It motivates us to step out of our comfort zones and reach the world, to go where no one wants to go, to speak for those who do not have a voice, to stand firm for the gospel (by grace through faith in Jesus alone), and to live above approach. What gets you angry? Lack of sleep, selfishness, someone did not give you what you hoped, someone gave you what you did not want.

If you ask the Holy Spirit, He will help you live a life that is pleasing to God. He will enable you to be moved by the things that move God. He will give you patience for those things that do not matter. He will change your perspective on life.

Are you saved? That’s where it begins

Anger Management

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:

  1. 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?…
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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?

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