Anger (Notes for Wed. 10/5/2011)
Sermon Series: One
Sermon Title: Anger
Gary R. Collins, Christian Counseling 3rd ed.
Jay E. Adams, The Christian Counselors Manual, The Practice of Nouthetic Counseling
Definition and Ideas: An emotional state, experienced by everyone, but difficult to define. (APA) Anger is an emotion characterized by antagonism toward someone or something you feel has deliberately done you wrong. Anger can be a good thing. It can give you a way to express negative feelings, for example, or motivate you to find solutions to problems. But excessive anger can cause problems. Increased blood pressure and other physical changes associated with anger make it difficult to think straight and harm your physical and mental health.
· Anger occurs in varying forms and degrees of intensity-from mild annoyance or feelings of aggravation to violent rage.
· Anger may be hidden on the inside or expressed openly and freely.
· Anger may be of short duration or it may persist for decades in the form of bitterness, resentment or hatred.
· Anger can be destructive if it persists in the form of aggression or revenge, but it also can be constructive if it motivates to correct injustice or think creatively.
· Anger, openly displayed, deliberately hidden from others, or unconsciously expressed, is at the root of many psychological, interpersonal, physical, and spiritual problems.
· Anger is a leading cause of depression, accidents, road rage, sickness, inefficiency, anxiety, grief, marital conflict or interpersonal tension.
· Anger is a root of every degree of conflict from terrorism, to war, to family strife, to church splits.
Anger in the Bible:
1. Anger is mentioned over 600 times in the Old Testament. The Bible speaks of God’s anger, fury, and wrath more than it does his love and tenderness.
a. Because anger is an attribute of God we cannot conclude that anger, in itself, is bad. Because God is holy we must conclude that divine anger is good. God’s anger is controlled and consistent with his love and mercy.
b. It should be noted that often God withholds his anger and extends mercy to the sinner.
c. Because God is all knowing he never misrepresents or misinterprets a situation, never feels threatened, never loses control, and always displays anger due to sin and injustice.
d. Humans have imperfect knowledge, often misrepresent and misinterpret situations, may feel threatened and can easily lose control. As such humans are warned about anger (Eph. 4:26-27).
2. Biblical conclusions about human anger:
a. Human anger is normal and not necessarily sinful. We are created in the image of God and like him we can become angry. Jesus displayed righteous anger (Matthew 12:12-13, John 2:13-17).
b. Human anger may result in a faulty perception. Because we do not have “all” facts we are prone to jump to incorrect conclusions.
c. Human anger can easily, and often does, lead to sin. This is why the Bible often directs us to turn away from anger (Psalm 37:8). Sins of anger:
i. Vengeance – Deut. 32:35
ii. Abuse – physical, emotional, or verbal –
1. The Bible considers actions done out of anger to be dangerous and foolish (Prov. 14:17)
2. The Bible calls for verbal control (James 1:19)
3. The Bible warns about the influence of constantly being around abusive and angry people (Prov. 22:24-25)
iii. Subtle aggression such as gossip
iv. Withdrawal – Failing to express anger can be sinful if it is done so in deceit (Prov. 26:24-26). Though it may appear different, the actions of many adults who withdraw are born from the same motives as a child in a temper tantrum.
d. Human anger can be used for good especially if it leads to confrontation, rebuke and repentance (Luke 17:3-4)
e. Human anger can be controlled
i. Acknowledge anger (Eph. 4:31 – before it can be put away it must be recognized).
ii. Take time to think before responding (Prov. 15:28, Psalm 73 – the Psalmist brings his bitterness to God as a means of expression and finding new perspective).
iii. Be sure to focus anger on problems not people (yet this does not mean we are forbidden to confront people).
1. Anger can be particularly destructive in marriage.
2. Couples can become accusatory and resentful.
3. It is important to exercise humility and self-control as words can be extremely hurtful (Proverbs 15:1).
iv. Be ready to confess sin and offer forgiveness freely (James 5:16).
v. Resist dwelling on revenge (1 Peter 2:23).
vi. Foster love (1 Cor. 13:4-5; Prov. 10:12).