A Bible Study Series Using the Book
Anger: Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way
by Gary Chapman
We are going to spend the next few months learning together about this volatile but purposeful emotion.
We know that in character we were created in the image of God so that means even Anger is FROM the Lord
However, just like the rest of our lives, our anger is tainted by the stains of sin that we have inherited from Adam. So, this emotion that is good and a gift from God, when allowed to run wild and not submit to the Holy Spirit, can become sarcastic, vindictive, vengeful, demoralizing, hurtful, violent, and destructive
According to a study that I was reading today, the top 5 “angriest cities” in reverse order are:
5) Orlando, Florida
4) Johnson, AR
3) Los Angeles, CA
2) St. Louis, MO
1) Detroit, MI
Not sure what makes these cities angry
Orlando is the home of the “happiest place on earth” Disney World, right?
Johnson Arkansas only had 2,300 people in the 2000 census with a median income of $51,000 for a family. … I did read they are known as a “speed trap” so maybe that has something to do with it. Los Angeles …well besides all the wealthy celebrities … and the beautiful sunshine most every day and of course “it never rains in southern California” but still they say it’s the worst traffic jams in the country. I did a search on Anger in Los Angeles … and I got these stories “why are Hispanics so angry”; “why the Greeks are Angry”; “Why are the African Americans always so angry”; “Violent Angry Men”; “why are there many angry people here” …
What about St. Louis. According to one article St. Louis is the #5 most STRESSED OUT city in America … and that seems to be because we have the highest per capita murder rate, difficulty with major venues, we all know it is one of the most socially, economically, and racially divided cities in America. We know the job situation is terrible. St. Louis has lost much of the industry leading in areas like airline and automobile and that has depressed the city. And the number one most stressed out city is Detroit which leads to why it is the #1 angriest city in American according to this study.
I found this study from Britain but I doubt they are much different than we are
-32% said they have a friend or family member that has trouble controlling their anger
-12% say they have trouble controlling their own anger
-28% say they worry about how angry they feel sometimes
-20% have ended some form of friendship/relationship because of how they behaved when angry
-64% strongly agreed that people in general are more angry than they used to be
-13% say they have sought help for their anger issues
-58% wouldn’t know where to go for help
-84% strongly agree that people should be encouraged to seek help with anger
-Those seeking help are most likely to go to a health professional (counselor, therapist) rather than friends, family, employers or voluntary organizations
-Older people are less likely to report having someone close to them with an anger problem or are less likely to be worried about their own anger issues or are having trouble with anger than younger people
45% of us regularly lose our temper at work
• 64% of Britons working in an office have had office rage.
• 38% of men are unhappy at work.
• 27% of nurses have been attacked at work.
• Up to 60% of all absences from work are caused by stress.
• 33% of Britons are not on speaking terms with their neighbours.
• 1 in 20 of us has had a fight with the person living next door.
• UK airlines reported 1,486 significant or serious acts of air rage in a year,
a 59% increase over the previous year.
• The UK has the second-worst road rage in the world, after South Africa.
• More than 80% of drivers say they have been involved in road rage incidents;
25% have committed an act of road rage themselves.
• 71% of internet users admit to having suffered net rage.
• 50% of us have reacted to computer problems by hitting our PC, hurling parts of it
around, screaming or abusing our colleagues.
• 27% of managers in the construction industry have sought medical help for stress, anxiety or depression.
• More than one third of the UK population is losing sleep from anxiety.
• 1 in 7 adults have sought medical treatment for stress.
• Depression and anxiety have overtaken physical ailments as the chief cause of long-term sickness.
Now, I now that’s in the UK but I doubt is much different than here
So let’s go to Scriptures and ask some questions about Anger
What is the Biblical / Godly Speed of Anger?
Psalm 145:8; Exodus 34:6; Numbers 14:18 among others …
“God is SLOW to Anger”
What is the Greatest Problem with Distorted Anger … Spiritually Speaking?
James 1:12-20 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
It doesn’t achieve the Righteousness of God … We might feel better, vindicated, a release, let off steam, but in the end we always feel the pointlessness of it all
What is the Biblical Opposite of Uncontrolled Anger?
Romans 2:4 the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?
Tolerance and Patience are the opposite of uncontrolled anger and they hope to lead toward repentance or change for good
What is the byproduct of distorted anger?
-Death for the foolish and simple Job 5:2 - Resentment kills a fool, and envy slays the simple … using anger righteously and lovingly takes wisdom and skill
-Punishment – Proverbs 19:19a A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty –
-Repetition – Proverbs 19:19b - if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.
-Guilt – Matthew 5:22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
Is there A Better Prescription for Anger?
Proverbs 16:32 - Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.
Patience or Slow to Anger … and Self Control … are the Prescription
What are the Dangers of Anger?
-It Comes in Like a Flood - Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood,
Once the dam bursts there is no controlling it or where it goes, like water it will try and fill every open space unless you have a strong system for controlled release and channels for its dispersion. It washes over and destroys everything in its path
-Brings Much Sin with It – let me say it this way, Anger has a prolific posse of fellow perpetrators … Proverbs 29:22 An angry person starts fights; a hot-tempered person commits all kinds of sin. – “starts fights” or “stirs up stirs up strife” and “abounds in transgression” one translation says or “commits all kinds of sin” … we are talking the ACTION of sin … SINS … all kinds … think about the things that come with ANGER … think about the stuff you do you wouldn’t have done … without anger
“I was just trying to be honest with you and tell you how I feel” … “why are you getting so mad at me?”
“Your honor, I didn’t mean to, I was just angry and I couldn’t help myself”
-Conflict – Proverbs 30:33 As the beating of cream yields butter and striking the nose causes bleeding, so stirring up anger causes quarrels (NLT)
The NIV says “anger produces strife”
If you churn milk, long enough, you will get Roses right? NO you get Butter
If you pop someone in the nose, you will get Maple Syrup right? NO Blood
If you stir up anger … this word stir up, and striking, and churning, are the same word in Hebrew miyts (meets) squeezing, pressing, or wringing --- if you keep squeezing, pressing, wringing out anger … you get CONFLICT … you get what is put in it
So that’s a little bit from Scripture about Anger … Now before you start reading the book and start learning some things about anger and about yourselves …
Let’s take some Biblical Inventory
about maybe where you are
Do NOT punch the person next to you and say THAT’s YOU! …
Just take some personal inventory and if you see yourself, it’s ok, we are going to learn how to get to where we need to be. In the meantime, confess it to God and say “Lord I need help in this area …
Six Quick Types or Expressions of Anger
I found today … there are more … but I found these
1. Do you Keep Score?
Are you keeping score, waiting for the change to use it against someone
Job 36:13 - the godless in heart lay up anger (NAS) – the NIV says they harbor anger … notice those who do this are “godless” … it is NOT a godly action to store it up. A godly response is to deal with the anger in a timely and healthy manner
Eph 4:26-27 - In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. … WHY? So that bitterness doesn’t set it and then turn into distorted anger … we’ll talk more about this in coming week
2. Are You Self-Serving IN your Anger? – or Attention Grabbing –
Proverbs 12:16 - A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult. – “A fool” – Hebrew word is eviyl (ev-eel) a person without understanding, often because of stubborn will or stupid behavior; one who despises wisdom
This is a response that is boisterous and draws attention to themselves when they are angry … they want you to KNOW they are angry … “who do you think you are?” – it is foolish
3. Are you SLOW to Anger or Quick to Anger?
Proverbs 14:29 A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly … now we are not talking about people here who bottle up their anger we will learn about them in the coming weeks but people who are slow to anger driven by patience, compassion, and love = they have wisdom and understanding
Quick to anger … “quick” means Spirit, wind, or breath … i.e. you get angry as easy as taking a your next breath in through your mouth.
The difference here is the SLOW to Anger … those two words come from a phrase meaning “long nostrils” … i.e. you take a long slow inhale through your nose … it’s like someone counting to ten before they respond. It is a measured patient caring response. Instead of the quick gasp of anger … that person who is quick … it says “exalts or displays folly” it literally means “tall fool” you act a fool so everyone can see
4. Are You a Fire Starter?
Psalm 29:8 - Scoffers set a city aflame, but the wise turn away wrath. (ESV)
Are you the one who runs around telling everyone how upset you are or how you were wronged, inciting everyone to be angry? Are you a fire starter” Or are you wise in taking that anger and “turning it away” or “turn it back” it literally means to turn it in a linear direction the other way back to where it came from. That is self-contrl.
5. Are you Eager to be Angry?
Ecclesiastes 7:9 - Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, For anger resides in the bosom of fools –
The word “eager” lahab in Hebrew means “quick, flaming, trembling” – you need to take care if you are just chomping at the bit looking to be angry, because anger gets in Deep and becomes part of us and it is the one who lacks understanding that lets it get down in there
6. Are You Controlled By the Flesh Instead of the Spirit?
Galatians 5:19-21The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: …
And then he starts his list and in verse 20 he says …
20 …hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions …
“Fits of Rage”- it means impetuous, violently blowing winds; hot tempered
“Oh But Pastor, I’m just like that, I’m just hot blooded” … Yeah we are all “just like that” … we are all sinners … but we don’t have to BE that way …
If you are “just like that” … it is evidence of one who either does not know Christ or is not acting according to the leading of the Holy Spirit who lives within him.
Because the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT is
Galatians 5:22-23 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, 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 sinful nature with its passions and desires. –
* We CAN live a different way.
If Anger is FROM God and we shall see this is true in Chapter one. Then, that means it CAN be controlled by the Spirit of God within us and it can be exercised in a way that is consistent with the FRUIT of the Spirit produced by one surrendered to God
So since verse 24 says “I belong to Christ” … or literally, since we are “Those who are Christ’s …”
If I AM his … Then ALL of my sinful nature is Crucified / that is DEAD along with its passions and desires … so I do NOT HAVE to act according to those passionate emotions.
You’ve said it
- “I couldn’t help myself”
… Yes you can …
You DIDN”T … but you can
You may not know HOW … but you can
You may not WANT to … but you CAN … SO
V25 says Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. …
- Since we live BY the Spirit …
we have eternal life by Him, we have our Physical Life because he grants it … so
- Let us Keep In Step with the Spirit
That is let’s March in sync with his march, to his tune
Let’s Follow his Footsteps
Let’s copy the pattern he leaves us
All the more reason for us to do what Hebrews 12:2 says - FIX YOUR EYES on Jesus the Author and Perfecter of our Faith
He lived with ALL of our emotions and USED all of them WITHOUT sin …
So let’s FOCUS on HIM and FOLLOW Him …