Anger, God Has a Better Plan

Eph 4:25-32

25 So put away all falsehood and "tell your neighbor the truth" because we belong to each other. 26 And "don't sin by letting anger gain control over you." Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil.

28 If you are a thief, stop stealing. Begin using your hands for honest work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

30 And do not bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he is the one who has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. NLT

This message was preached January 26, 2003 at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at toulonbaptist.com  

In our message today we want to talk about the proper response to anger. Remember anger is not wrong in itself but can lead to sin as the verse above tells us.

We all face frustrations and injustices that cause us to become angry. The anger is not what hurts us, but the way we handle it.

Last week we spoke about all the ways that people handle anger, most of which was not good.

This morning we want to look at the Bible to find our what is the best response to anger.

  1. Stop, say no to yourself.
    1. By stopping you are choosing to not give in to inappropriate ways of expressing anger.
    2. This is the most important step, miss this one and you will miss them all.
    3. Listen to the Bible
      1. Prov 14:17 Those who are short-tempered do foolish things, and schemers are hated. NLT
      2. James 1:19-20 19 My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Your anger can never make things right in God's sight. NLT
      3. Prov 17:28 Even fools are thought to be wise when they keep silent; when they keep their mouths shut, they seem intelligent. NLT
      4. Prov 30:33 For as churning the milk produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife." (from New International Version)
  2. Pray
    1. Seek God's direction.
      1. Psa 18:6 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. KJV
      2. Eph 3:20 Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. NLT
      3. There are many cases in the Bible where people sought God's direction and ended us so much better than those who did not.
      4. Sometimes this will be short as God will enlighten you right away.
    2. Other times you might spend extended periods in prayer before God opens the door.
      1. Either way you will be much better of.
    3. Many of us miss this most crucial step.
  3. Think
    1. Now this one seems obvious, but how many times have you heard people say, "I just didn't think."
    2. Think about what has really happened, what wrongs have been committed.
      1. Proverbs 13:16 Wise people think before they act; fools don't and even brag about it! NLT
      2. Proverbs 15:28 The godly think before speaking; the wicked spout evil words. NLT
    3. Consider if you have all the facts or not, sometimes the facts are not obvious.
      1. I remember hearing a story some time ago of a man on a subway watching a young child behave very badly while the father did not seem to be to concerned. Finally someone spoke up and quite rudely asked him if he would not keep his child under control. The man responded very apologetically and then told how his wife had died very unexpected at the hospital and he was headed home to tel the other children and he just didn't know how he was going to do that.
      2. Remember, only God has all the facts.
  4. Ask yourself, Why am I angry?
    1. Are there other emotions and issues that are bothering you?
    2. Are there past issues that really don't relate to this instance but still are affecting you?
    3. Why is this bothering me so much?
  5. Act Wisely
    1. You may make the best speech you ever regret.
    2. To win you must not ruin the relationship.
    3. Ask yourself how can I best resolve this.
      1. Remember the goal is not to vindicate one's self but to find a solution.
      2. Nor should it be revenge, for that is the area that God claims for His own.
    4. If you are honestly able, dismiss it.
      1. That takes a lot and should not be done without thinking it through.
      2. If you cannot really dismiss it then you are just allowing your anger to turn inward.
  6. Forgive
    1. Focus on humility.
      1. Prov 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger. NLT
      2. Jesus taught humility in conflict resolution.
        1. Matt 5:23-26 "So if you are standing before the altar in the Temple, offering a sacrifice to God, and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there beside the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. 25 Come to terms quickly with your enemy before it is too late and you are dragged into court, handed over to an officer, and thrown in jail. 26 I assure you that you won't be free again until you have paid the last penny. NLT
        2. Luke 12:58-59 If you are on the way to court and you meet your accuser, try to settle the matter before it reaches the judge, or you may be sentenced and handed over to an officer and thrown in jail. 59 And if that happens, you won't be free again until you have paid the last penny." NLT
    2. Confess your anger to God.
      1. God is a good listener. You can tell Him all about your anger
      2. He also will speak to you in your spirit and give you a peace.
      3. Eph 4:31-32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (from New International Version)

Our final message on anger next week will be on avoiding anger altogether.