Anger is another of the Seven Deadly Sins.
Like the sin of pride—last week’s sin d’jour—it’s a sin I know that no one here has a problem with!
This is a message for all those ‘other people’ you know who have anger issues.
The sin of anger is as old as sin itself—certainly as old as Cain.
And while anger has always been part of the human experience it seems to have reached toxic proportions in our culture today.
Anger is one of the great sins of our time.
Everywhere you look, Americans seem to be angry at someone or something.
Anger seems to have become our national pastime.
We live in an era when there is a harassed, and knife-edged quality to daily life.
Nerves are ragged and millions of people seem terminally fed up.
Of all the seven deadly sins, anger if uncontrolled, can lead to calamitous results.
That is why the Apostle James wrote: /"My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires."/
Christians are not immune to the feeling of anger.
But if we are to lead righteous and Christ-like lives anger must be brought under the control of the Holy Spirit in the believer's life.
So what do the Scriptures have to say about anger?
Let's take a look.
I. SINFUL ANGER MUST BE RECOGNIZED
#. is God always displeased when we get angry?
Is anger always a sin?
I don’t think so
it’s important to remember that anger is not only an emotional response—it is a biochemical response as well
#. the human body is equipped with an automatic defensive system, called the /“flight or fight”/ mechanism, which prepares the entire body for action when we are threatened or attacked
#. adrenaline is pumped into the bloodstream which sets off a series of physiological responses
#. blood pressure increases in accordance with an acceleration in heartbeat
#. the eyes dilate for better peripheral vision
#. the hands get sweaty and the mouth gets dry
#. the muscles are supplied with a sudden burst of energy
#. in a matter of moments, the individual is transformed from a quiet condition to an alarmed condition readied for action
#. and it’s all an involuntary response that happens whether we will it or not
#. to deny the reality of the emotion is like denying the existence of a toothache
#. since God created this system as a means by which the body can protect itself against danger, I do not believe that experiencing the emotion of anger itself is sinful
#. anger is an emotion God has given us for good reasons
#. the goal in the believer's life is to learn how to express it appropriately, so that it does not control us, and lead us into sin
!! A. RECOGNIZE THE TYPES OF ANGER
* /“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”/ (Galatians 5:19–21, KJV)
#. not all anger is the same
1st, Resentment is the most common form of anger
#. the word wrath in verse 20 refers to a passionate anger and paints a picture of a pot boiling up, subsiding but then boiling up once more
The rabbis of Jesus’ day had a proverb about anger.
It said: /"Anger is like a boiling tea kettle—once it overflows, you have no idea where it’s going to run or who it’s going to burn.”/
#. in the NIV it is translated as fits of rage and in the ESV as fits of anger
#. as a matter of fact, eight words in verse 20 are either related to or rooted in the emotion of anger
#. often our anger comes from frustrated desires, unreached goals, or a coveting spirit
#. the Apostle James addresses the source of our resentful anger
* /“What causes fights and quarrels among you?
Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?
You want something but don’t get it.
You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want.
You quarrel and fight.
You do not have, because you do not ask God.”/ (James 4:1–2, NIV)
#. when we desire something and don’t get it, or when our goals are frustrated, rather than feel the pain and disappointment, we react with anger because it hurts less
Think for a moment about the incident between Mary and Martha.
Martha is diligently working around the kitchen preparing the afternoon meal, while Martha sat at Jesus’ feet (Luke 10).
Martha angrily whined, /“Lord, don’t’ you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself?
Tell her to help me!/” Martha didn’t just want Mary’s help.
Deep down she wanted Jesus’ attention and appreciation.
When she didn’t get what she wanted, she felt got angry and felt justified in demanding that Jesus fix the situation right now!
#. 2nd, Rage is the most aggressive form of anger
#. rage is vicious, explosive anger that seeks to hurt others verbally or physically
All you need do is pick up your morning newspaper to read about the different manifestations of rage expressed in the culture around us: There is road rage, parking rage, air rage, boat rage, surf rage, fishing rage, river rage, pedestrian rage, jogger rage, biker rage, trucker rage, cell phone rage (all the iPhone 4 people with dropped calls), shopping rage, grocery cart rage, and checkout line rage.
#. in my own life I’m experiencing some voter rage—that’s going to be vented in about 100 days!
#. what makes anger so deadly to the Christ-like life we seek to emulate as Christians is that it too often flares suddenly, powerfully, and irrationally
#. rage takes no counsel of the future, no counsel of personal safety, and no counsel of the rights of other
rage is dangerous and stands at the most harmful end of the anger spectrum
#. rage is a bomb with a short fuse and when someone with a short fuse is behind the wheal of a car moving at seventy miles per hour, or within reach of a handgun, or even simply in possessions of a balled-up fist or an acerbic tongue, it becomes a hurtful thing
3rd, Righteous Indignation is a reactive emotion of anger over perceived mistreatment, insult, or malice toward others
#. it is the only form of anger which is not sinful (at least in the beginning)
#. righteousness is a word meaning to act in accord with divine or moral law
righteous indignation therefore means hating the things that God hates, and being angry at the things God would be angry at
#. there are things that happen in our community or our society that we should be angry about because they make God angry
#. we should be angry over the atrocity of abortion on demand in this country
Every year 1.2 million babies are tossed into surgical scrap buckets, not for some medical reason, but because they were merely inconvenient.
That ought to make us angry.
#. we should be angry over the perversion of pornography that plagues our culture
Child pornography alone is a $1 billion dollar a year business in this country.
Pornography perverts and poisons the minds and souls of millions of men and women, and exploits their lives.
That ought to make us angry.
#. we should be angry at the greed of the gambling interests that have moved into Missouri
Their goal is not to make this a better state, or to give us better schools, but to suck as much money as they can out of our citizens and to line the pockets of as many politicians as it takes in order to keep exploiting our residents.
That ought to make us angry.
#. we should be angry at the deadliness of drunken drivers and a system that treats them with leniency
Over half of all fatal traffic accidents involve a drunk driver.
That ought to make us angry.
#. righteous indignation should motivate us to oppose the hurt inflicted upon others through positive and godly actions
We do not shoot the abortionist and claim it was righteous indignation: We do support Crisis Pregnancy Ministries.
We do not torch the cassino and claim it was righteous indignation: We do elect politicians who oppose any expansion of the evil.
#. even when our anger is truly motivated by righteous indignation, we must be ever so careful that our good intentions are not sabotaged by Satan
Christ-like anger, and Spirit-filled anger, are distinctly different from a self-filled, fleshly anger—what the Apostle James calls “man’s anger”
Consider the wicked city of Nineveh and the prophet Jonah.
God was angry at the behavior of the Ninevites.