HANDLING ANGER CONSTRUCTIVELY
1. Please turn to (Mt. 5:21-26).
2. Before we study this passage, I need to briefly explain the setting that prompted Jesus to teach on the subject of anger.
3. Imagine for a moment how disturbing that statement must have been for the Jewish citizens of that day. In their eyes, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were the most spiritually minded people of their day. They were looked up too much like Ministers, Elders, and Deacons are in our day.
4. They were the spiritual leaders. They were the shepherds of the people of God. Everyone looked up to them for guidance in the laws of God.
5. The people who heard Jesus say that must have been wondering, “How can we possibly become more righteous than the Pharisees and the teachers of the law?”
6. Well Jesus answers that question in (Mt. 5:21-5:48). In the following verses, Jesus outlined some examples of the “how.” Six times He will say, “You have heard it said…but I say to you.
7. With these words Jesus shows the true intent of God’s law. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law lived and taught one way, however Jesus points out that they didn’t go far enough. They obeyed the laws outwardly, however, Jesus wants His disciples to obey them inwardly as well. Not only does God measure our actions by His Word but also our attitudes. Not only are there external measurements but internal measurements as well.
IF WE WANT OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS TO SURPASS THAT OF THE PHARISEES AND TEACHERS OF THE LAW, AND IF WE WANT TO ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, THEN WE MUST LEARN HOW TO HANDLE OUR ANGER.
THIS MORNING, WE WILL LOOK AT TWO POINTS ON THE SUBJECT OF ANGER.
I. FIRST, AS CHRISTIANS, WE MUST BE AWARE OF THE SERIOUSNESS OF UNRIGHTEOUS ANGER.
1. In (Mt. 5:21-22), Jesus quoted (Ex. 20:13) to show us that murder is a series offense. It is an ungodly act of violence that is totally against the will of God.
2. If Jesus had stopped right there, all of us would probably clap our hands and cry out, “Amen, that’s right, murder is wrong. Show no mercy to those who take innocent lives."
3. But when Jesus went on to suggest in (v. 22) that being angry with your brother is just as serious as murder, our amens would soon stop because each one of us just became guilty before God.
4. Killing is a terrible sin, but unrighteous or unjustified anger is a great sin as well because it also violates God’s command to love.
5. Before I move on, I must tell you that righteous or justified anger is not forbidden in the Bible.
a. For example, Jesus in (Jn. 2) became angry with the dishonest merchants who were polluting God’s temple. However, in His anger, He did not sin.
b. When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai and saw the people worshipping a golden calf, he had every right to be angry.
c. When Jonathan became angry with his father Saul for treating David shamefully (1 Sam. 20:34), he had every right to be angry.
A. ANGER THAT IS UNJUSTIFIED IS WRONG.
1. For example, When Abel offered a better sacrifice to God, his brother Cain became angry. His anger was prompted by his jealousy. That is unjustifiable anger.
In Dadeville, Alabama, a man shot and killed another man because he was a better Bible quoter. They were arguing over a subject, and one man became so jealous and angry because he couldn’t keep up scripturally with the other man, he shot and killed him.
B. ANGER THAT PROMPTS US TO SAY HATEFUL THINGS TO OTHERS IS WRONG AND MANY TIMES DESTRUCTIVE.
1. Jesus in (Mt. 5:22) warns us of the awesomely destructive potential of words.
2. When we are angry and say hurtful things to others, we are sinning.
3. We need to be very careful with the words that we offer to others.
4. We must remind ourselves daily that angry outbursts of lethal words can damage self-concepts and destroy personal relationships.
In his book “The Power Zone,” Dr. Larry Calvin wrote an article that can help us understand that words can damage people.
He wrote, several years ago, a young lady walked into my counseling center. She was 25 years old, five foot two inches tall, and weighed well under a hundred pounds. When she was asked to describe herself, every word she used was a “fat” word.
While we were thinking she needed intravenous feedings, she was seeing herself as fat. Her daily diet was three grapes and a teaspoonful of Grape Nuts, and after eating that, she felt bloated.
In the process of treating her, we learned of the verbal abuse she endured as a child. She recalled one incident that occurred when she was about eleven years old. She had sneaked off one Saturday to go to the mall to meet a boy her age. They’d had a coke and walked around holding hands in the mall looking in store windows. Her brother had ratted on her, so when she got home her dad started yelling at her.
Among other things her dad said that day was one sentence she has never forgotten. Her dad said, “I don’t see what the boys see in you anyway, as fat as you are.” Every time she looks in the mirror, she hears that sentence and sees a fat nobody.
5. Brethren, in the heat of our conflicts, we must avoid saying things that can do absolutely unbelievable damage to both the self-concept of the person we are talking to as well as the relationship itself. Angry words can cause serious damage.
a. Parents be very carefully with the words you use when you are disciplining your children. Angry words can affect them for the rest of their lives.
b. Husbands and wives, be very carefully with the words you say to one another.
c. Christians, be very careful with the words you say to your brothers and sisters. Angry words can destroy relationships and cause others to abandon their faith.
C. ANGER THAT IS NOT RESOLVED AND STILL LINGERS IN OUR HEARTS IS WRONG AND SINFUL.
1. If we have anger lingering in our lives, then we have sin reigning in our hearts.
2. If we add a “d” to anger we have the word “danger.” We are in a dangerous situation if we have anger stored up in our hearts.
II. SECOND, AS CHRISTIANS, WE MUST LEARN HOW TO HANDLE ANGER CONSTRUCTIVELY.
1. At this time, I will offer three principles that we should consider in order to handle anger constructively.
A. FIRST, BEFORE WE GET ANGRY, WE NEED TO ASK OURSELVES THIS QUESTION, "DO I HAVE A VAILD REASON TO GET ANGRY?"
1. If we do not have a valid reason to get angry, then we must drop it!
B. SECOND, IF WE HAVE A VALID REASON TO GET ANGRY, THEN WE SHOULD VERBALIZE OUR ANGRY FEELINGS.
1. When anger strikes, we should not suppress it which means to hold it inside or deny it exists.
2. When anger strikes, we should not explode and say things that we will later regret.
3. Instead, we should verbalize it in a positive and gentle way.
a. Go to the person you are angry with and tell him or her your feelings. Do this in a loving way.
(1) Some of you may think that the best way to resolve anger is to go exclusively to God and ask Him to work it out. But God is saying that if we truly want to work out our anger then we must go to the person we are having trouble with first and get it all worked out, and then come to Him.
C. LASTLY, FORGIVE THE PERSON WHO MADE YOU ANGRY.
1. Forgiveness means that you pardon the person of his or her offense; you give up all feelings of getting even; you let go of all the hurt that he or she has caused; and you keep no records of wrongs. Forgiveness means it over; it is complete; it is finished.
2. If we have anger in our hearts then we better forgive before it is too late.
1. This morning, from the Sermon on the Mount, we learned several principles.
a. Unrighteous anger is a serious offense.
(1) Anger that is unjustified is wrong.
(2) Anger that prompts us to say hateful things is sinful and many times destructive.
(3) Anger that is not resolved and still lingers in our hearts results in spiritual sickness.
b. Justified anger is not necessarily wrong, especially when we learn how to handle it constructively.
(1) Before we get angry, we need to ask ourselves this question, "Do I have a valid reason to get angry?"
(2) If we have a valid reason to get angry, then we should verbalize our angry feelings in a gentle and loving way.
(3) We must forgive people when they make us angry.
2. This morning, if you have some anger in your heart, then please get rid of it. Go to the person you have hard feelings with and work it out. Do it today, before it is too late.