Anger: Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way
Dr. Gary Chapman
Chapter 11 – When You are Angry with God
Review Chapter 10 - Helping Children Handle Anger
At the beginning of chapter 10 is this quote from Lyman Abbott “Do not teach your children never to be angry; teach them how to be angry and sin not”
- Love Comes First
Learn their “love language” and learn to speak it … even when we are not happy with their actions
So love is foundational for helping our children deal with their anger
3 methods for Teaching our Children HOW to be angry
1. Model Healthy Behavior
2. Guide Them Through the Anger Episode
- listen and take them seriously help them process either verbally or behaviorally
- they ACT immature because they ARE immature
3. Give Instruction
Chapter 11 – When we are Angry With God
We are often angry with God
- It is because we feel injustice …
“Why didn’t God DO something?”
“Why didn’t an all-powerful God intervene?”
Remember we don’t know his ways, we don’t know the future and much of it is not understandable for us …
But God is trying to teach us to trust him
“God Calls for Trust in the Darkness Just Like in the Light”(Chapman)
- Trials refine our faith – 1 Peter 1:5-7
- God works all thing FOR God – Rom 8:28
- Difficulty leads to Maturity – James 1:2-4
- Difficulties are sometimes designed to display the work of God in our lives – John 9:1-3
Dealing With Anger Towards God
1. Take Your Anger TO God
Don’t hide it or be ashamed … he knows … he can take it …
Elijah said “I have had enough Lord, Take my Life” – 1 Kings 19:4 ---
we will get to more of that story in a minute
God is a Compassionate Father and he WANTS to hear from us
2. Listen To God
He may speak through a friend, a sermon, a prayer, scripture, many ways.
Be sure to confirm what you think you heard with scripture or other trusted believers and prayer
Know that God will use this to accomplish his best
Listening may not always give understanding but leads to accepting and trust – the Peace that passes all understanding Phil. 4:7
3. Report For Duty to the Next Assignment
Or keep doing the last thing he told you until that next assignment comes
In our Anger with God … we can follow the Way of Cain or the Way of Elijah
Both were angry with God … But Cain did what he wanted, driven by pride and out of control, distorted anger. He ran FROM God. Elijah took it TO God, he listened to God and he followed …
Let’s look a minute at this story.
1 Kings 18:42-19:18
From the Top of Mount Carmel to The Depths of God’s Cave
- God may show out on the mountain Top … but it is often the dark lonely places where we find God’s Voice speaking to Us …
Know that often after our Greatest Mountain Top Experiences we are MOST susceptible to depression, attacks by Satan, and doubt.
Why? We are often physically, emotionally, and spiritually worn out
Also we often have our heads in the clouds and aren’t Looking for the possibility of attack (1 Cor 10:12)
Elijah saw God show out on the mountain
He saw God return rain to the region after a long drought
He OUTRAN a Chariot over a distance of about 25 miles because v46 “The power of the Lord came upon Elijah” …
the next day he was afraid of Jezebel.
She threatened to Kill him.
So he left and went more than 100 miles away to Beersheba from the North in Israel to the Southern Part of Judah. Then he went another day’s journey into the desert to a bush called a broom tree … and prayed to God
“I have had enough, Lord”
“take my life: I am no better than my ancestors”
AND HE FELL ASLEEP … no duh …
- he was worn out …
God Fed him … and Rested him
Then when rested and filled
He went 40 days to Mt Horeb (Mt Sinai) to a Cave …
There God spoke to him
V9 God – what are you doing here?
V10 – Elijah – I have been zealous for the Lord …
Feeling of Injustice
Exaggeration --- I am the only one left, ... they are trying to kill me
- Often our feelings of injustice are because we THINK we have been singled out … when in fact we haven’t
V11 – God – I am about to pass by you …
Tornado – (wind) – the Lord was NOT in the wind
Earthquake – the Lord was NOT in the earthquake
Fire – The Lord was NOT in the fire
Gentle Whisper –
Let me stop here for a minute and in light of the terrible devastation of this past week’s Tornados just say that …
not everything that is powerful is God’s hand or God’s voice
Some are the result of the natural world that is fallen in which we live and others are the result of the action of an evil one who is against us … but not all are God’s direct hand … but yet just like here, God is aware and allowing all things in order to have our attention that we might hear his still voice …
Can God bring Tornadoes and Earthquakes and Fires to punish, to judge, to awaken his people with his DIRECT HAND? Absolutely
But are the tornado or hurricane, the earthquake, or the fire, God’s direct hand or voice? No not always
Matthew Henry suggests that there were angels being employed to usher in God’s divine glory in the small voice … perhaps that is true
But God is ON the throne permissively even when he does not actively cause something
And God will always CAUSE ALL THINGS to WORK TOGETHER FOR GOD … to those who love him and are called according to his Purpose
- His Purpose will never be thwarted by our efforts, by natural forces, or the forces of this dark world!
But when Elijah finally Experiences God’s divine presence … the Gentle Whisper … Now, surely God is going to say something New …
V13 – God - “what are you doing here Elijah?” – Same question … as in verse 9
Could God have been saying … “Why did you run? Why are you scared? Why aren’t you doing what I told you to do? Why aren’t you serving in boldness?”
V14 Elijah – “I have been zealous … I am the only one left, ... they are trying to kill me”
V15 – God – “go back the way you came … Go to Damascus … anoint a new King over Aram … anoint a new king over Israel … anoint a new Prophet to succeed you … They will defend you ...”
V18 - “Oh and By the way … YOU AREN’T THE ONLY ONE LEFT” … “there are 7,000 in Israel whose knees have not bowed down to Baal …
V19 – Elijah – So, Elijah went …
Now, nowhere in there does God explain the difficulty or the struggle … he just says “trust me”
“You are NOT alone”
“I will take care of you”
“do what I tell you to do”
“it’s almost over” – he was anointing a successor that means he was almost through – God was saying “In A Little While”
SING – "FOR A LITTLE WHILE"
Folks Sometimes we just want to get away … that is understandable
Jeremiah says “Oh that I had in the desert a lodging place for travelers, so that I might leave my people and go away from them; for they are all adulterers, a crowd of unfaithful people” …
well it wasn’t true that they were all that way but sometimes it feels like it …
1. How Does God feel about anger according to the Scriptures in this chapter?
2. How does this chapter show us about responding to the question “Why didn’t God do something?”
3. What are the 3 steps for handling anger with God? Which step is the most troublesome for applying to your life? Why?
1. when is a time you have been angry with God? What happened? How did that affect your walk with God?
2. the last stage of handling anger toward God is to report for duty. Why is this important? Have you experienced this?
1. using a Bible concordance or the website www.biblegateway.com look up the word anger. Find some places where they were angry AT God … and observe how he acted. What can you learn?
2. on a piece of paper, list some times you have been angry with God. Write what happened as a result of each. Are there any patterns? What is the one important lesson you have learned from past anger that can apply to today?