Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Tuesday, October fourth. Today's program begins a series examining the explosive subject of anger. Here's part one of Letting Go of Anger. Are you an angry person? I mean, you feel very angry inside about something that has happened to you, something that's going on in your life, something someone said, they insulted you, they hurt your feelings, they took something away from you. There are a lot of people today who are very angry. They don't even realize they're angry.
They just know that something's not right on the inside. Anger is a very dangerous thing. Now, anger just in itself is not evil or nor is it bad. There's good anger and there's bad anger. The problem is that most people have more experience about bad anger than they do good anger. Anger has a terrible effect when it is anger that is undisciplined, not directed, when it's bad anger and not good anger. On the other hand, there's anger that's good anger.
It gets you up, gets you fired up about doing the right thing at the right time in the right way toward the right situation or circumstance in life. So, it's interesting the Bible doesn't say don't be angry. It says, don't be angry and let your anger remain past sunset. So, I want you to turn, if you will, to the fourth chapter of Ephesians and I want you to look, if you will, in this twenty-sixth verse and the twenty-seventh verses.
And listen to what Paul says in this twenty-sixth verse. He says, Be angry, and yet do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger.
And do not give the devil an opportunity. Now, what's anger all about? Anger is a strong feeling of intense displeasure, hostility or indignation, which we'll describe in a moment, as a result of something. Either something real that's happened or something that you imagined, like a threat or an insult, a frustration or injustice toward yourself or others. That is, anger deals with something that's important to you. If someone has insulted you or you see injustice going on in somebody else's life or you've been threatened or insulted or you're just frustrated. But listen, a strong feeling of intense displeasure, hostility or indignation as a result of a real or imagined threat, insult, frustration or injustice toward yourself or others important to you.
So, there's more to it than just saying, I'm mad. Now, let's think about some verses of Scripture. Let's go to Proverbs chapter fourteen and verse seventeen.
A quick-tempered man acts foolishly. Look, if you will, in the fifteenth chapter in the first verse. A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger toward someone else.
Then look in the fifteenth chapter and the eighteenth verse. A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but slow to anger calms a dispute. Slow to anger, that is, controlled, thinking about what's happening. Slow to anger. Look in the sixteenth chapter and the thirty-second verse. He says, He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty. That is, a person who, not to someone who doesn't get angry, but a person who does get angry, but they are controlling it. He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit greater than he who captures the city. Look in the twenty-second chapter and the twenty-fourth verse.
Now, here's a real caution. And oftentimes people say, well, I like so-and-so and I want to be their friend, or I'd like to go in business with this person or marry this person. Listen to this caution of God's Word about our relationships when it comes to anger. He says in the twenty-fourth verse, Do not associate with a man given to anger.
A person who's, in other words, they're characteristic of being an angry person. Or go with a hot-tempered man, or you will learn his ways and find a snare for yourself. That is, if you associate with people who are angry and you know that they are, he says, Don't do it.
Now, somebody says, Well, but he's my friend. He says, Don't associate. Don't have a relationship with an angry person or you will fall in the trap and what happens is he'll influence you to become angry.
So, we have to be careful. That's why I would say to you if you're not married that you should be very, very careful, the person you marry naturally. And you should be careful about their spirit and their attitude because, you see, if you marry somebody who's angry, watch this carefully, something happened back there in their life they have not dealt with. And if they've not dealt with it, bringing it into their marriage, bringing it into your life, now you are a part of their problem. And that's why it's so important to teach your children and grandchildren before you marry somebody, you go see their family. Find out as much as you can back there about their family. And you can't always be totally impressed by somebody's looks and what they have and what they drive and what they, where they live and so forth.
What about, what's on the inside? And an angry person is a dangerous person. The Word of God says, Listen, don't associate with them.
Well, if I'm not associated with them, I certainly am not to marry them. And I'm not to go in business with an angry person because what he's doing, he's simply trying to protect us from making a terrible mistake. So, I ask you this question, are you an angry person? What are you angry at? What are you angry about? How long have you been angry? Why do you keep holding on to it? What is it that you get out of holding on to this anger because of something that you think someone did or something that they really did? And you notice in the definition we said, you know, it could be something that actually happened to you or you think it did. And haven't you been angry at people that you heard said something about you and you finally found out?
They didn't say that at all. People get angry easily. And the more insecure a person is, the more insecure they are, the more easier they can feel anger in their hearts because most of the time they're feeling like they're not being treated correctly. Well, let's talk about the basic causes of it.
And one of them is a person's not getting their way. That's from the primary cause is not getting their way. A second cause is the fact of feeling rejected. When a person feels rejected, that can cause deep, deep anger in a person's life. Some, they don't want me. They've turned me down.
They've fired me or whatever. And then, of course, there's the fear of loss. And I think today many people are angry because they see that not only are they fearing that they may be losing, but they have lost so much.
You think about how many hours a person has worked, weeks and months and years and years of going to work early in the morning and fighting the traffic and coming home and having a weekend and going back to work on Monday morning. Years and years and years and years and years and years and years and years you spent and somebody can cause all that to evaporate in a matter of a few days or one decision. A lot of reasons. People fear loss. Sometimes a person, for example, will feel threatened. And if a person feels threatened, they get angry. And it's that anger that causes people to do all kind of things that are very, very destructive to someone else. And then, of course, there is disappointment.
Person is very disappointed. Sometimes they get angry. And then there's injustice. That is, when we see other people being harmed and abused and misused and all kind of things happening and sometimes we can't seem to do anything about it, there's a reason to be righteously angry. And so, when you think about those and you think about feeling inadequate, that'll make a person be angry. If they feel like the people around them are very adequate to what they do and yet you're not, then a person can become angry because, well, their background didn't give them the privileges that they need. And you can come up with a lot of reasons for being angry.
But these are sort of the basic ones that I want to mention here. All anger falls into two categories, justified anger and unjustified. If I'm angry because you hurt my feelings, that's unjustified.
I have to forgive you. If you're angry because you see someone else hurting someone else and taking advantage of them, that's justified anger. So, there are two kinds. There is anger that's justified and anger that's not justified. And so, when you look in the life of Jesus naturally, you're only going to see justified anger that's purposeful. Now, what about bad anger? Well, we talked about Cain killed his brother.
Why? Because he was jealous. Saul tried to kill David because he was jealous.
Jonah's sitting up there under the tree because he was jealous. He didn't get his way because he didn't get his way. And you could just, now of course, let's take Peter for example. Peter's anger, he was willing to kill, risk his life, and be killed for his devotion and love to Jesus Christ. So, there's good anger, there's bad anger. Most anger these days is bad anger because it's about ourselves that we're concerned about most of all. And in the last life, there are two kinds of expressions of anger.
There's powder keg expression. You know, it's there and boom, there's an explosion and you just blow it all out and your rage goes this place, that place and the other. And you think and your husband or wife is sitting and thinking gosh, what happened?
Well, it's been there all along, but it exploded. Well, you say is that bad anger? That's bad anger. But let me tell you, worse anger than that. That's crockpot anger. You know what a crockpot is.
You just fill it up and you cut the fire on and here's what happens, it boils and it stews and it boils and it boils and it's burning and you know what, it just goes on and on and on and eventually you're going to have an explosion. It is very, very destructive in a person's life. There's no way to have anger without paying a price for it. And so, as you think about it, I want us to give you a little five-fold test here and let's see if you're angry. So, let me say for example, you say, Well, I am a little bit angry.
So, answer these questions, yes or no. Not out loud, of course. Is it anger directed toward a person? That is, you say, Well, I know I'm angry. Is your anger directed toward a person?
Can you identify the person? You say, Well, I'm angry at a lot of people. No, no, no, no, is there someone that you're angry toward?
First question. Second question, is it anger without a justifiable cause? That is, what is it about that person or that situation or circumstance that's made you angry?
In other words, if it has no justifiable cause, think about it. Number three, is it anger that seeks vengeance? Well, here's what they did to me yesterday. You just wait till tomorrow and I get back.
I'm going to fix them good. That is vengeance. Or any, you may be very sophisticated about it and say, Well, you know, they did that to me, but I'm going to have the last move. That's vengeance. All right, and then the next question is, is it anger that is cherished? You say, Well, how can you cherish anger?
I'll tell you how. When a person becomes angry and they don't give it up, they just. I sort of like being angry because sooner or later, and you know, I remember a psychologist friend of mine who was telling me about this lady, that he had counseled her and counseled her and counseled her.
He was just about discouraged with the whole situation. And finally, in his last session with her, after he'd finished talking and he talked to her about her unforgiving spirit toward someone, and pleading with her to give it up, he said she walked over to the window, she held up both hands and she said, I can't give it up, I can't give it up, I can't give it up because I don't have anything left when I give it up. You think about what a captive she was to her anger. If she laid it down, she wouldn't have anything else to be thinking about in life. Cherished anger.
I got it and I'm going to keep it till I die kind of thing. Then, is it anger that has an unforgiving spirit? Is it something that's gone on in your life in the past and you can't, you just can't handle it? You can't settle it. You look back and you just can't lay it down.
Well, the truth is you can with God's help. So, let's ask yourself the question. And if your answer is yes, if your answer is yes to these, in other words, if this anger is directed toward a person without a justifiable cause, seeking vengeance, cherished, and has an unforgiving spirit, is it good or bad anger? It's very bad. And that's the kind of anger that'll destroy you.
It's destroying people every day, destroying their marriages, destroying relationships with their fathers or parents and children, destroying relationships on the job, making people lose their job. In fact, I was talking to a man this week. He said, I told him about a good fellow that was a good worker, but his attitude was just absolutely so destructive. He said, I can't keep him. There's no way for me to keep him because it's affecting everybody else.
That's exactly what God says. Don't have a relationship with a person who's given to anger. That is, a person given to anger is a person who is controlled by it. It may be subdued and suppressed, but they're angry and you know it. And you know if you walk up to somebody and say, let's say something happens and you walk up to somebody and you say, are you angry? No, I'm not. Well, I don't know of a louder confession of anger than that.
No, I'm not angry. Don't ask me that again. You know what? You can't hide it long.
It'll come out. And the best way to deal with it is to get it out and deal with it. Think about this.
Watch this carefully. Jesus was angry at Pharisees and Sadducees and robbers and thieves and in the temple for what they were doing. And then think about this. He's on the cross, nailed to the cross and suffering the most horrible death. And what does He say? Father, forgive them.
They don't know what they're doing. If He can forgive, you and I can forgive because there's no forgiveness to match that. Amen? Father, how grateful we are for the awesome demonstration of true, genuine forgiveness that Jesus could walk through those last three years or so with so much anger vented toward Him.
And He was still able to say, Father, forgive them for they know not what to do. I pray for every person who's listening. Angry wives, angry husbands, angry children, whole angry families, angry boss, angry employees, angry teachers, angry students, every aspect of society. I pray the Holy Spirit would get the message deep in their heart that it's a destroyer.
And the fact that it destroys not only the person who's angry, but it can destroy the people you love. I pray the Spirit of God will sink this message deep in every heart. It's my prayer in Jesus's name, amen. Well, you may not be a Christian. You're saying, well, how do I deal with it?
I doubt if you can. Because you see, there's some anger that is so deep and been there so long, only by the grace of God, only by His help and His strength. And the Spirit of God working in your heart are you able to deal with that. But I pray that you do the first thing, the first step, asking Him to forgive you of your sins and to cleanse your heart. And the Savior, you say, well, can He forgive me of my sin if I'm angry toward a person and I want to be saved?
Yes. He will forgive you of your sin. You can trust Him as your personal Savior and immediately He will begin to help you deal with these attitudes.
Because that's not the only attitude probably that's not right in our life. But He's willing to deal with this pardoning of our sin that makes the difference between whether we go to heaven or not. He'll handle that. He will save you if you're willing to ask Him to do so, based not on the fact that you're going to change, but based on the fact that He went to the cross, laid down His life, shed His blood. He paid your sin debt in full already.
If you're willing to trust Him, He will save you. Thank you for listening to today's podcast, Are You Angry? If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by, intouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
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