Anger & Change (Part 1)
Topic: Sunday Message Verse: Matthew 7:1–7:5, James 4:1–4:3, Galatians 5:19–5:25
ANGER: Two Essential Biblical Truths
(1) God's anger is always good.
(2) Not all of our anger is bad... but a lot of it is.
The Goodness of God's Anger
Because God is love, and holy, and just, He is able to be angry at the right things in the right way at the right time for the right reasons in the right proportions.
Our Anger vs. God's Anger
We’re not God, so we’re not always able to be angry at the right things in the right way at the right time for the right reasons in the right proportions. Because of this, our anger is often unrighteous and unjustified.
The Goal for Our Anger
God isn’t looking for us to stop getting angry altogether; that’s both impossible and incorrect. Rather as we grow as Christians, God wants our anger to increasingly move toward godly, helpful, and righteous anger, and away from selfish, hurtful, unrighteous anger.
Why We Get Angry: 4 Steps
(1) Provocation (something outside of us happens to us)
(2) Interpretation (we react to out perception of being wronged)
(3) Experience (we feel angry)
(4) Response (we choose actions in response to our angry feelings)
Why We Get Angry & Our Responsibility
We can't control what happens to us (provocation). Nor can we keep our angry feelings from happening within us (experience). But we are responsible for how we process those events that provoke us (interpretation) along with how we express our anger once we experience it (response).
Anger: Changing Our Interpretation #1
The challenge of INCOMPLETE KNOWLEDGE. Unlike God, we just don't always have all the facts, even though we might think we do. That's why we get angry over perceived wrongs.
Matthew 7:1-5 NIV
1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Anger: Changing Our Interpretation #2
The challenge of IMPERFECT CHARACTER. When God gets righteously angry, it’s always out of a holy and perfect passion for His glory and for our good. But when we get angry? It’s often because “the universe of me” has been disturbed, some provoking event got in the way of what we want. So when our wants are not in alignment with God’s will? That’s when unrighteous anger springs up within us.
James 4:1-3 NIV
1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
Galatians 5:19-25 NIV
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Next Week (Sunday, May 22)
Next week as we continue our series on Anger, we’ll talk about living with angry people around us. It’s enough to try to deal with our own anger, but it gets even harder when we’re on the receiving end of someone else’s anger. How do we respond as Christians? How should our faith impact that? Pastor Dan will point us to wisdom from the Bible and show us the difference it can make.