Faithlife Sermons

Understanding Anger

Notes & Transcripts

class=MsoNormal align=right style='text-align:right'>1) 2-27-11…AM…SBC     2)“Understanding Anger”

Introduction:                                                                  Selected Proverbs                      Source:    JBC articles

                                                                                                                                                Understanding Anger – Powlison

1-      The ascription of personality traits to genetic makeup is one instance of a much larger trend, which is the reemergence of polytheism.

2-      A long time ago, things were explained by reference to the will of unseen deities—to struggles among the gods and goddesses of love, war, wisdom, excess, and so forth.

3-      How silly and primitive that all was. Now we explain things by reference to an abbreviated gene on a chromosome, and feel much superior for it.

4-      But if you think about it, there is not that much difference between saying “The gods are angry” and saying “He has the gene for anger.” Both are ways of attributing a matter of personal activity to some fateful and mysterious impersonal power.

5-      Ever human being deals w/ anger—in a world of disappointments, miseries and sins, anger is a given

6-      You get angry—I get angry—no doubt that is why the Bible comes packed with stories, teachings and comments about anger

7-      God intends for us to understand anger as a result of what we worship not a result of our chemical makeup

8-      Today we set forth on a journey to better understand anger.


Transition:  First this morning, I want to show that…

1)   The Bible is about Anger

A-    Who is the angriest person in the Bible? God.

1-      When God looks at evil, “His anger does not turn away,” as Isaiah repeated over and over.

Isaiah 5:25; 9:12; 9:17; 9:21; 10:4 (just references)


a-      In Romans, Paul mentions God’s anger and its effects more than fifty times, beginning with Rom 1:18

b-      John 3:36 the wrath of God “abides” on whoever will not believe in the Son of God for mercy

2-      That God is angry tells us something very important.  Anger can be utterly right, good, appropriate, beautiful, the only fair response to something evil, and the loving response on behalf of evil’s victims.

Quote:  “It would be impossible for a moral being to stand in the presence of perceived wrong indifferent and

   unmoved.”  (BB Warfield)

a-      The crimes that arouse God’s wrath are capital crimes: betrayal, rebellion, deceit, blasphemous beliefs.

b-      The feelings aroused in us when we hear someone described by the word “traitor” give a hint of the reasoning within God’s wrath.

B-    That the Bible is about anger is evident when anger breaks out into emotion and violence—Cain kills Gen 4:5


Ø      Both by precept and by example, the Bible continually enlightens us about anger, intending to change us

Ø      Anger can be grim and murderous like Cain; anger can burn with emotion like Potiphar; anger can plan with cool malice like his wife; anger can rumble and grumble, running on in complaints, unhappiness, and bickering, like the wilderness wanderers. But in all cases the cause of sinful anger boils down to specific lies and lusts that rule the human heart.

C-    Anger also brings devastating consequences

Proverbs 29:22    19:19   30:33


1-      Moses’ temper tantrum—Saul—Jonah—Jezebel—Nabal—Pharisees are only a few of the lives gripped by this powerful and most typical sin

2-      In every list of typical sins—and there is no temptation that is not common to all—anger is prominent.

3-      Both of these proverbs teach us that there are consequences that come when we give in to anger

Application:          19:11

1-      As we are confronted w/ the sin of anger let us be driven to gratitude—God forgives and changes angry people

2-      Proverbs, Ephesians, and James are only a few of the books that dissect anger in order to redeem and transform it.

3-      “God never holds up a mirror without holding out a lamp.”

4-      God desires for anger in our life to be applied to the “and such were some of you” statement about change

Transition:  The next aspect of anger that we often experience but seldom understand is that

2)   Anger is something you do

A-    Anger is something that you DO with ALL that you are as a person.

1- Every part of human nature is involved.    12:16

  • Physiological component: the flushed face, the adrenaline surge, the clenched muscles, the churning stomach

-          S. uses vivid, bodily metaphors to describe anger:  OT=nostrils burning  NT=steaming/smoking (Jonah)

-          Intensity levels vary tremendously, of course. The emotional Richter scale can range from mild irritability to blind rage. You don’t need to rant and rave to have a problem with sinful anger. Grumpiness, the cutting remark, sulky self-pity, and the critical attitude all qualify.


Transition:  Yet we can’t limit anger to just physiology or feeling when it is clearly more.  There is also a…

  • Mental Component: also consists in thoughts, mental words and pictures, attitudes, judgments.

11:23 – the outcome of dwelling on the mental component of anger is never good and is foolish

-          Even if no words or actions come forth, the angry person thinks intensely. You are stupid. This is not fair

Transition:  We still can’t only limit anger to the physical and mental realm, but must relate it also w/ a…

  • Behavioral Component - Anger does things. It shows up in accusatory or sarcastic words, curses, exaggerations, gestures, hitting, disgusted sighs, walking out of the room, rising decibel level, threats, glowering. You do anger, with all that you are.



B-    It is no surprise that anger also plays out in the most basic interpersonal relationship: with God.

1-      Many people are angry at God. People treat God the same way they treat others

2-      This is no surprise. If I believe that God exists to give me what I want, I will burn when He doesn’t deliver.

3-      When considered from the standpoint of what motivates the human heart, all sinful anger has  reference to God.


Illustration:    If I curse the heat and humidity, I attack God in three ways.

  • First, I forsake Him, the fountain of life, acting as if He did not exist.
  • Second, I act as if I were God instead, elevating my will for comfort to supreme status in my universe.
  • Third, I grumble against Him, implicitly criticizing the real Author of “bad” weather for displeasing me.


Ø      Anger is bodily, emotional, mental, and behavioral. It weaves in among many other problems. It is decidedly interpersonal, both with respect to people and God.

Ø      In short, you DO anger, with ALL that you are.

Transition:  The reason we do anger is because…

3)   Anger is natural


A-    Anger is a given; it is natural to human beings in two very different ways. It is natural because we were created in God’s image; it is natural because we fell into sin.

B-    So anger is natural, by creation. But since the Fall, sinful anger is also a given.  And in a fallen world, human anger is so disordered that James can make a sweeping indictment in James 1:20.

C-    Only a fool would not think twice before getting angry, but we easily play the fool.

Transition:  Although it originates at creation and because of our depravity, anger is also…

4)   Anger is learned

A-    Anger is learned in two different ways

1-      Anger is taught and modeled to us

a-      We pick it up from other people. We learn what to get upset about, and how to show our displeasure.

b-      By modeling, anger becomes routine ways to respond to the mildest frustration. 

c-      Here is when run into a proverbs like 22:24 and then in 13:20

·         A parent who routinely damns the weather, the traffic, or his spouse disciples his children to do likewise.

2-      Anger is learned in a second way. It is practiced, and can become “second nature,” a habitual manner of life.

·         Our patterns of anger, through habit become “involuntary”

Transition:  All of what has been said up to this point must lead us to accept this…

Proposition:   Anger is a moral matter


1-      Anger is a moral matter in two distinct ways

2-      Anger evaluates

  • anger weighs something or someone, finds it lacking, wrong or displeasing and then moves into action
  • Anger arouses us to attack or discredit what we find displeasing
  • Anger is a “self-contained judicial system, reacting to perceived wrong with energy.”
  • What we typically think of as anger (raised voice, hostile attitude) is probably better defined as the emotional form of judgment against perceived evil.
  • Anger by its very nature takes a moral position—it judges


3-      Anger also is evaluated

  • God judges our judging—He morally evaluates every single instance of anger.
  • Did I perceive good and evil accurately?
  • Did I react to perceived evil in a godly way?

Illustration:  If I become irritable when the phone rings and breaks my concentration, muttering expletives, my anger

                        proclaims “this phone call is bad and deserves to be judged.”

Ø      God evaluates both my criterion for judgment and my way of reacting and find both wrong

Illustration:  If I curse out an adulterer and gossip about him, my anger proclaims, “adultery is wrong and should be

                        Met with cursing and gossip.”

Ø      God evaluates my criterion for judgment and finds it right; he evaluates my way of reacting and find it wrong

Illustration:  If I become angry when my child mocks his mother, and respond to him with vigorous, loving reproof,

                        my anger proclaims, “disrespect is wrong and should be met energetically with respect, challenge and


Ø      God evaluates my anger, both my criterion for judgment and my way of reacting and finds them right


1-      Anger provides a tremendous opportunity for us to know ourselves better.  The issues are so clear. When angry, the human heart is laid out on the table with nowhere to hide.

2-      Anger reveals what it is that we love and worship.

3-      Christianity is not about stoic apathy or being above emotional reaction.  Neither is it about unleashing our emotions.

4-      Proverbs 14:29

5-      Anger is not neutral – a line between wisdom and foolishness runs through the center of every instance of anger—it is either godly or devilish

6-      We must fine tune or moral judgment (Hebrews 5:14) to tell the difference between righteous and sinful anger.


Here are 7 questions you can use to evaluate the morality of you anger


1.      Do you get angry about the right things?

2.      Do you express anger in the right way?

3.      How long does your anger last?

4.      How controlled is your anger?

5.      What motivates your anger?

6.      Is your anger a result of keeping a record of wrongs done to you?

7.      What is the effect of your anger?

God and the devil are both angry all the time on whose side is your anger?

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