We all get angry. Sometimes we let that anger get hold of us and we do or say things we shouldn’t. What does the Bible say about anger? Robert tells us the truth in love.
ROBERT >> Good morning. I’m so glad that you’ve joined us today on The Truth In Love, because today we begin a new series of lessons about Problems Of The Heart. You see, the issues of our life come out of the heart. The heart is the source of those problems. And long ago, the wise man wrote for us by inspiration in Proverbs 4:23, Keep your heart. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.
SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.
ROBERT >> There are many passages in the Bible that remind us of the importance of the heart, of keeping the heart, and how the heart is the source of so many of our issues and problems and difficulties in life.
For example, in Proverbs 23:7 the Bible says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”
Yes, it’s what we’re thinking in our heart, what we’re putting into our mind that comes out in our life, that makes us who we are. Jesus also spoke of this. In Mark 7:21-22 he recognized that these evil things that often destroy our lives begin in the heart.
Mark 7:21, the Bible says, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.” That all comes out of the heart.
In Luke 6:45 Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
In the next several weeks we want to take a look at some of these problems of the heart, problems like anger and discouragement and disrespect and fear and guilt, hypocrisy, judgmentalism and laziness and loneliness and malice and prejudice and pride, problems like selfishness and worry. But this morning let’s begin with one that probably all of us have to deal with, and perhaps on a daily basis you find this to be a problem of your heart; and that’s the problem of anger.
The Bible addresses this in Ephesians 4:26-27. And as we think about dealing with anger today, I want us to begin by reading this passage together, Ephesians 4:26-27. “Be angry, and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.”
Let me ask you today, what is it that makes you angry?
Anger’s one of those emotions that we all have to deal with. And we’re all going to be angry at times. So I want you to think about what it is that makes you angry.
Is it your children or your husband or your wife?
Is it family members?
Is it perhaps going to work and some of the things that are happening there or at the school?
Maybe you’re going to school. What is it that makes you angry?
Is it yourself that sometimes makes you angry?
And let me ask this question today, too, as we begin to approach this subject. Is it ever all right to be angry?
Did you notice our text today said to be angry, but not to sin?
Anger is an emotion that we all have, and it’s what we do with it that makes it right or wrong. Did you know even Jesus was angry on occasion?
Look with me in Mark 3:5. When Jesus had left the glories of heaven to become a man for our redemption, as he walked in the flesh on this earth, we see there were several times where the Bible speaks of him becoming angry. Here in Mark’s account, there were those who were especially troubling to Jesus. There were the religious leaders of his day, those that would not believe, those that were rejecting him.
But in Mark 3:5 it says, “When He 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 out his hand, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.”
Jesus was angry that they had closed their hearts to the truth about who he was and about what he had come to do for them.
Do you remember when he began his public ministry?
You read about it in John chapter 2, when he came into the city of Jerusalem and into the temple and he saw what the people were doing there and how they had turned the house of God which should have been a house of prayer into a den of thieves.
You remember that he was so upset that he ran everyone out of the temple?
And not only that, but at the end of his ministry three and a half years later, he found the temple in the same condition and once again according to Luke 19 ran them out of the temple. Jesus had this emotion of anger. He was so zealous for the Lord’s house.
The problem is that sometimes we let our anger get the best of us. And if we’re not careful to control our anger, it may cause us to sin.
“Our Lord was tempted in all points like as we are, that means he was tempted in his anger, but the Bible says he was without sin,” Hebrews 4:15.
So even though we may become angry, we don’t have to sin. We can follow the example of our Lord, and we can learn from him and be strengthened by his example today. But let’s discuss it a little bit today.
How may anger cause us to sin?
Does anger ever lead you to say things or to do things that you would not normally think of ever saying or doing?
I know that’s happened in my life. And so I have to be aware that it’s in those moments of anger that the devil can use this to get me to say and do things I wouldn’t normally do. You remember our text at the beginning from Ephesians 4?
Neither give place to the devil. The devil wants to use your anger as an opportunity to cause you to do those things, to say those things that would be wrong. And you know, if we allow our anger to go unchecked, it can destroy our relationships with others. It may even cause us to physically hurt ourselves or others. And so surely we can see the importance of keeping our anger in check, making sure that we do not allow the devil to use that as a temptation to do those things that God would not have us to do, to do those things that would destroy our relationship with God and destroy our relationships with one another. What can we do to control our anger? I just want to go through several passages with you today, passages that touch on this subject that can help us to really get our anger in check, and then we’ll close today with a few ideas, a few practical points to help us with our anger. Let’s begin with Psalm 4:4. And by the way, let me encourage you to read the Psalms often, as in the Psalms we see the Psalmist so often dealing with these emotions of the heart and struggling through his faith and looking to God and finding the help he needs to overcome these difficulties and to keep his heart in check. And that is also true when it comes to this subject of anger.
Psalm 4:4, the Bible says, “Be angry, and do not sin; meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.”
You see, this is where our text came from in Ephesians 4:26-27. Be angry, and do not sin. The commandment isn’t not to be angry, but not to sin. And so realizing that God doesn’t want this to happen to our anger will help us to keep our anger in check. And if you notice at the end of this verse he told us to meditate in our heart. He told us to do this on our bed and to be still. Have you ever taken a little time out and just began to think about what’s going on inside of you and to roll that over and over in your mind, and if we’ll begin to use our mind to think about these things before we say something, before we do something that we would regret. And so the Bible tells us, just get ahold of yourself. Be still. Be calm. It’s something that God will help us to do if we’ll consciously make that effort to meditate within our hearts.
And then turn with me if you will to Proverbs 15:1. Here the Bible says, “A soft answer turns away wrath; but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
You know, it’s awful when you get two angry people together. When they’re both angry and they’re both saying things and yelling and doing things, anger just feeds on anger, and it makes it worse and worse. But here he tells us that a soft answer turns away wrath. I remember one time that I was going through the grocery store, and there were some people there. And the lady in front of me really didn’t like how her groceries were being put into the sack, and she became very angry about that. But as she began to express her anger, the worker there was very kind and dealt with her with great patience. And that anger quickly subsided. But I thought, you know, what if that worker would have lashed back at her with the same kind of anger?
So anger builds on anger. One way we can help to control our anger is to remember that soft answer, not to be harsh with others to just stir up more anger, but to remember to be gentle and to be kind and to be patient with others.
Look at Proverbs chapter 15 going down to verse 18. Here the Bible says that, “A wrathful man stirs up strife; but he who is slow to anger allays contention.”
In other words, don’t just allow yourself to burst out in fits of wrath, but bring yourself under control and be slow to anger. Keep it under control so that it doesn’t build up and then suddenly come out in some terrible way out of your mouth or with the actions of your body. No, he says you need to be careful to keep your anger under control. A wrathful man stirs up strife; but he who is slow to anger allays contention. We know many contentious people, but we also know those that take hold of themselves. And I don’t know how you’re going to do that, but you know, if we begin to think in our heart as we learned from Psalm 4:4 earlier, if we begin to maybe count to one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten before we burst out, before we say something or do something, if we would just be patient and take some time before we actually act on that emotion of anger, then we will not be among those that are contentious, but among those that can truly bring peace to every situation and circumstance.
Look at it in Proverbs 16:32. “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”
Oh, there are some powerful people in the world. There have always been those that are very strong and those that are successful and powerful, whether it be in business, in finance, or whether it be in perhaps some kind of military action. I know when I was going to school there was that bully who was always picking on everybody else. There are those that seem to take control of every situation, and they seem very powerful to us. But the Bible tells us that an even more powerful person is a person who can keep his anger in check. He says, He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty. There’s the person who is truly great, who is truly good, who can keep his anger in check. Anybody can hit somebody back. Anybody can show great power against others physically and burst out in their anger and render destruction and harm to others; but the person who can take control of his emotion and reach out to others with gentleness and kindness, now, there’s a better man. There is a more powerful and a stronger person. That’s what God calls us to be.
Look at it in another passage in Proverbs 19:11. “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression.”
Instead of letting everything everybody else does make us so angry, let’s approach these situations with patience, with control. Let’s boast in that rather than in showing off some great power and destructive, harmful power that comes from anger. Proverbs 21:14, the Bible says, A gift in secret pacifies anger, and a bribe behind the back strong wrath. We know as Christians we’re not to be involved in things like bribes, we’re not to be dishonest. That’s just going to eventually cause anger among others. But a gift in secret pacifies anger. A true, genuine show of kindness, of love, these are the kinds of things that can help others to get their anger in control and not be so angry at you. When someone’s angry at you, or maybe you’re even angry at them, one of the best ways to bring peace between the two is to be kind to one another. Do something good for that other person, and see what a difference it’ll make. And then let’s turn to two passages in the New Testament.
Ephesians 4:31-32. Here the apostle Paul deals with many of these emotions that come into our hearts, including that emotion of anger, and helps us to keep them in check. “He says, Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice; and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
Now, Paul here tells us that first of all there are some things that we’ve got to put away. We’ve got to make a conscious decision to say I no longer want this in my heart, I no longer want this in my life, and so I’m going to rid myself of those things. I’m going to get rid of that bitterness and that wrath and that anger and that clamor.
Do you see how one builds upon another?
We become bitter with somebody because of what they may or may not have done, and that makes us wrathful and angry at them, until then that anger turns into clamor and evil speaking and malice or hatred. He says you’ve got to root that out of your heart. Make that conscious decision. And then he says on the other side, let’s fill our hearts with these things that are good. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. God has taught us how to be kind and good, how to be forgiving towards one another. And so again let’s make that conscious decision to get rid of the evil, the anger and the wrath that’s beginning to fill our heart and fill it with goodness and kindness and the forgiveness of God.
And then finally, James 1:19-20. James gives us some good advice about how to deal with our anger. Here he says, “So then my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
And we’ve already been reminded again and again how that wrath and anger does not produce in our lives what God wants, that righteousness that he desires. And so James tell us here, let’s be swift to hear. Let’s open our ear and let’s listen to what people are saying, because a lot of our anger comes from misunderstanding, we just didn’t hear it right. And then let’s be slow to speak. Before we open our mouth, let’s think about what we’re going to say. And then let’s be slow to wrath. Count to ten. Let’s make sure that we keep our anger in check. Yes, there are a number of things that we can do to help deal with our anger. But let me leave you with these three. Number one, sometimes we just need to walk away from a situation, give ourselves some time to cool off. And then we might be able to see things in a different light.
Next time you get angry, stop for a moment and say, do I need to get out of this situation and just be cool for a while?
And then number two, you may need to talk to someone about what’s bothering you, to let out your feelings in a safe and a friendly environment. Those things begin to bubble up inside our hearts, and we’re wondering what can we do with those things. Maybe you need to share them with somebody else, just talk to them about it. That way, you can begin to think about what it really is that’s going on, and should I really be angry, and if I am angry, what I can do to turn that around. Perhaps that other person can give you some good advice, some comfort, and some help with those very things.
And then number three, spending time in prayer with God and reading the scriptures like we have done together today is always helpful in putting ourselves in a proper frame of mind. And this will cause us to be more thankful to God, more humble within ourselves, more loving toward our enemies. God is able to give us the peace which surpasses all understanding when we take our concerns to him.
Philippians 4:6-7, the Bible says,” In nothing be anxious, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, that passes all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.”
So let us stop in our anger and spend some time with God. Look into his word and see what he says. Communicate with him your feelings and let him help you to work through those things. Remember, the devil wants to use your anger to destroy your soul and the soul of others. Don’t allow yourself to be used by him. Turn yourself, surrender yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ. Become a Christian if you’re not a Christian. Let us know here at The Truth In Love how we can help you to do that. Whatever you need, let us know here how we can help you towards heaven today.
SINGING>> All to Jesus I surrender.
All to him I freely give.
I will ever love and trust him, in his presence daily live.
I surrender all.
I surrender all.
All to thee, my blessed savior, I surrender all.
All to Jesus I surrender.
Lord, I give myself to thee.
Fill me with thy love and power.
Let thy blessing fall on me.
I surrender all.
I surrender all.
All to thee, my blessed savior, I surrender all.
SINGING>> Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
forgive our foolish ways.
Reclothe us in our rightful mind,
in purer lives thy service find,
in deeper reverence praise.
Drop thy still dews of quietness
till all our strivings cease.
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
and let our ordered lives confess the beauty of thy peace. Amen.
ROBERT >> Thank you so much for watching our program today. I’d really like to hear from you.
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SINGING>> Unto the hills around do I lift up my longing eyes.
Oh, whence for me shall my salvation come,
from whence arise?
From God the Lord doth come my certain aid,
from God the Lord whom heaven and earth hath made.
From every evil shall he keep thy soul,
from every sin.
Jehovah shall preserve thy going out,
thy coming in.
Above thee watching,
he whom we adore shall keep thee henceforth,
yea for evermore.