Approaching Anger Appropriately
THEME: Everywhere we turn from the online new sites, to the evening news broadcasts to the various social media platforms, we find example after example of anger. Anger is everywhere, and it’s possible that anger has taken root in each of our hearts. In order to use our anger for good and not for evil, it is critical for us to have a biblical understanding of what anger is and how to make sure it honors the Lord. Today, we will develop a biblical view of anger by examining 7 aspects of anger.
I. God and Anger
(Rom. 1:18; Ps. 7:11; Ps. 5:4b & 5b; Mark 3:5; Matt 23:2-36; John 2:14-17; Mark 10:14)
II. What is Anger?
David Powlison clarifies that anger is an expression against something or someone (“I’m Against That!”). “It is an active stance you take to oppose something that you assess as both important and wrong,” (Good & Angry, p. 39). Anger says that something in our world that matters to us has gone wrong and our displeasure motivates us to do something about what we care about.
Powlison lists three stages at the core of anger:
1) I identify some perceived wrong.
2) I take a stance of disapproval and feel displeasure.
3) In some way I’m moved to action – to say or do something about it.
Categories: Irritability, Arguing, Bitterness, Violence, Passive Anger, Self-Righteous Anger
Biblically: A God given emotion to help us solve problems biblically. (2 Sam. 12; Gal. 2:11)
The NT has three words for anger:
A. Thumos: (Eph 4:31) – “Volcano”
B. Orge: (Rom. 1:18, Col. 3:6; Eph. 4:26; James 1:19) – “Tea Kettle”
C. Parorgismos: (Eph 6:4: Col. 3:21; Eph. 4:26) – “Mosquito Bite”
III. Anger is Natural. (Gen. 1:26; Mark 7:20-23; Eph. 4:26; Rom. 12:19)
IV. Anger is Learned. (Prov. 22:24-25; 19:19)
V. Anger is Often Misunderstood. (Eccl. 7:9; Eph. 4:31; Ps. 37:8; Jms. 1:19-20)
VI. Anger Is Sinful when…
A. It is sinfully or selfishly motivated. (Phil. 2:3-4)
B. God’s goal in the matter is distorted. (1 Cor. 10:31; Rom. 8:28-29)
C. Anger is allowed to linger. (Eph. 4:26-27)
D. It attacks a person instead of the problem. (Eph. 4:29)
VII. We Can Learn How to Deal with Anger Biblically.
A. Recognize that most of our anger is sinful.
B. Identify idolatrous thinking and desires. (James. 4:1-3, 6; Ezek. 14:1-11)
C. Identify sinful ways you’ve expressed anger in the past. (Pray Ps. 139:23-24)
D. Confess your sins to God & to others & seek forgiveness of your sin (Mt. 5:23-24).
E. Accept the forgiveness of God (1 Jn. 1:9) & those who have extended forgiveness to you (Matt. 5:24).
F. Pray for God’s help in turning from sinful anger to righteousness (Phil. 4:6; James 5:16). Then turn to Him for help. (Good & Angry, p. 167)
1. God, You are… Patient with me… how could I not be patient w/ them?
2. I’m facing… a family of sinners struggling like I am.
3. You promise… to bless my obedience… increase my faith
4. I’ve done wrong by… becoming impatient because of my self-focus & pride
5. I’ve been misruled by my love of… control, order, peace, ease
6. Please forgive me for… my pride, impatience, harsh words, and anger
7. I love you because… you loved me first, enabling me to choose to love others
8. Please help me to… respond more slowly next time (James 1:19)
9. Thank you for… your patience with me and ever-flowing forgiveness
10. I rejoice that you… sent Christ to die, giving me hope for change
G. Develop a specific plan to replace sinful anger with godly motives, thoughts, words, actions, & emotions (Eph. 4:22-24; Heb. 4:12; Gal. 5:22-23; Phil. 4:8, 9).
H. Be ready to return good for evil (Rom. 12:21; Gen. 50:20; Luke 6:35-36; Eph. 5:32).
I. Make sure you seek to resolve the anger-causing conflict with biblical communication & conflict resolution principles (Eph. 4:15, 25-32; James 4:1-6).