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January 29, 2021 12:01 am
There is a place for righteous anger, but far more often we turn legitimate concerns into bitterness and resentment. Today, R.C. Sproul presents biblical wisdom to help us master our anger.
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The power of anger can bring down nations would create wars and ruins families of destroyers, marriages, and so is very important for the Christian to understand the nature of anger and how to deal with anger and was going to do just that today on reviewing the mind all week. Dr. RC school has been examining what Scripture has to say about life's difficult problems, suffering, guilt, forgiveness, anxiety, and today were going to take a look at anger.
I think we can all recognize the destructive nature of misdirected anger on the receiving end of it belted out.
So let's dive into the study on the subject that the Bible addresses so clearly during the summer when I was in college I worked in a hospital outside of Pittsburgh and after work every day drive to downtown Pittsburgh to pick up my mother from working driver home and traffic was always congested leaving the city. Going across the bridge and where you go across the Liberty bridge and enter into these tunnels that went under my Washington call the liberty to narrow to laying tunnels go through the tunnels enough to come out of the tunnels. The thing widens in the six lanes, and if you came out of the tunnel in the left lane of the tunnel you had to turn left and if you came out of the tunnel in the right lane of the tunnel. You could not turn left, you were not allowed to get in the (like, well, for some reason this particular day I got stuck in the right-hand lane in the tunnel came through the tunnel got the other end and I saw that the light was green about 100 yards up in front of me so I darted in the left lane where I was supposed to go and just as I got the light. It turned red and I had to stop and I looked in my rearview mirror and the horse policeman who was standing at the edge of the title of the day was a motorcycle cop and he was overweight and he saw me make this darting move in the left lane and he started running towards my car and I could see him and I could see his face getting redder and redder and the steam coming out of his ears and he came up to my car and took his fist and pounded on my roof of my car and I opened the window and he said what do you think that you're doing. He was enraged and the first verse that came in the my mind was a soft answer turns away for her at half so I came up with the softest generalist reply. I could ever do it. I said in very sorry officer. I should not of done that I did and he was not prepared for that.
He just started sputtering and finally he looked at me, discusses his golf all right just don't do it again and it turned around and walked away and I thank God for the wisdom of the Scriptures that allowed me to escape the policeman's wrath will we all experience the consequences and the effects of human anger.
We have all been angry at times in our own lives and we've had people who were angry with us and anger as a force or as a power is one of the most destructive forces that can be unleashed among human beings. And it is an emotion of posture and attitude that is so powerful and so real and so pervasive in our culture you would think we would have a better handle on our understanding of it.
And yet it seems as though we don't understand very much about anger. Yet the Scripture is by no means silent on this matter of anger that like to turn your attention for a moment to the New Testament to the fourth chapter of Paul's letter to the Ephesians, beginning with verse 25 Ephesians 425, the apostle writes these words.
Therefore, putting away lying, let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. The angry and do not sin and do not let the sun go down in your wrath, nor give place to the devil not here Paul addresses this difficult problem of anger and he does it in a rather unusual way.
The opening statement that he gives with respect to anger. Is this the angry if I didn't read this passage to and I said did you know that the Bible tells you to be angry I think.
You wouldn't believe me.
But here the apostle actually states in a positive imperative way. The angry what's he saying here is really not an injunction that we should be characterized as angry people. That's not the point of this, but what he is realizing and acknowledging is that inherently and intrinsically anger is not a sin anger in and of itself is not a sin if it were a sin inherently than that would mean two things immediately. One that God is evil, and to that Christ was a sinner because we know that it is part of the character of God for him to express his wrath. And we see occasions in the New Testament, particularly in the episode of Christ's cleansing the temple where he fashioned a whip out of ropes and went in there and turned over the tables and drove the moneychangers out of the temple. And Christ was angry. He was visibly angry with what was going on or not we have a phrase that we use to describe that particular type of anger which we call righteous indignation that any time God is angry. It is a righteous kind of anger and anytime Christ manifested anger.
It was a manifestation of righteous indignation or righteous anger, but our episodes of anger are not always quite so righteous. Sometimes we are angry without just cause, which again Jesus warned against in the sermon on the Mount. But again, Paul is saying here the angry there's nothing wrong inherently with being. But anger is such dangerous and volatile human emotion, but many many many times when a person is in the state of anger that anger becomes an occasion for sin, we lose control.
We lose our temper. What does it mean to lose one's temper to be temperate is to be moderate to be sober to have ourselves in a state of self-control and anger can cause the loss of self-control and provoke us to behave in ways that are destructive and harmful to ourselves and to other people. So Paul says be angry, but he doesn't leave it at that. He says be angry not sin, not the wisdom of the apostle, he understood that anger becomes the occasion for all kinds of wickedness. Then he adds another injunction to this be angry but don't sin in your anger or sin not. And don't let the sun go down on your anger, and that's a metaphor.
Of course, what is the apostle saying leases don't let the sun go down on your wrath and anger as I said in an of itself may be of legitimate righteous emotion, but so easily can turn into those emotions that are completely destructive.
For example, bitterness, resentment, harboring grudges. All of these things flow out of anger that has never been dealt with or the sun goes down on the sun sets on that anger and we carry over the anger to the next day and the next week or perhaps our entire lives.
Many of us walk through this world filled to the brim with anger that's never really been dealt with. You've heard of guys who are angry young man or people seem to be explosive in their temperament walking through their lives is like walking through a minefield. You're afraid to step without looking where you step you have to walk on eggshells around them because they're so explosive, so temperamental. There's so much anger in them for never dealt with the anger in the first place the sunset on that anger and that anger then began to eat away at their insides to become bitterness and resentment and producing an attitude of garage and hostility that happens and we've all experienced it. We've all known people who seem to be perpetually angry about this or the other incapable almost of smiling. We see this in the criminal world.
At times, unbelievable hostility to the power of anger can bring down nations. It creates wars, it ruins families. It destroys marriages and so it's very important for the Christian understand the nature of anger and how to deal with anger and one of the principal things is not allow the sun to go down on your anger. This is a thing that we all have to deal with, I'm sure, but again the heart of it. I think is understanding the nature of anger and first Realty to ask ourselves from time to time. What makes you angry, certain things that might anger me wouldn't bother you at all and things that bother you wouldn't make me nemesis the way it it's really weird just built different and we have different reasons for responding the way we do certain things well their basic elements to anger that have been isolated and I would say the three most common causes for anger and though I'm distinguishing among three and in one sense they're all variations of the same thing. The first one is what I'm going to call disappointment. How do you handle disappointment. This is one of the most difficult things for children to learn how to deal with his disappointment.
Mom can I stay over Blake's house tonight.
No son. We have things on in the morning is not why can't I and all of a sudden there's all this anger and all this rage coming out of the kid because he wanted to do something he had plans to do something he had hopes to be able to do something. And these hopes have now become an expectation and the expectation was not realized and the result was anger and disappointment and creates and provokes anger. And here's the axiom people disappoint people.
We are not able to completely fulfill all of the expectations that people have from us and if we fail to meet their expectations.
If we let them down is not a strange phrase. Let them down. We use that vertical quantitative measurement. The talk about various levels of the spirit. When we are unhappy we are said to be low. And when we're happy, and exalted were said to be high.
Right. So here we are happy as clams and all of a sudden somebody lets us down somebody fails to meet our expectations. And when that happens we had expected. One thing we got something else in this place were disappointed and that disappointment now is expressed in terms of anger not closely related to disappointment is its twin, which I call frustration of frustration is really disappointment repeated where your hopes are not realized repeatedly.
It's one thing to hope for something have it not come to pass their little bit disappointed but you're not angry yet then you same thing happens in the next day or the next day, and after that pretty soon you're frustrated. So if you see somebody who's angry, you might want to check and see what was the goal or the desire or the hope that they had the dream of their life wasn't realized left them in a state of frustration, disappointment, which then turned to rage. These are two of the most frequent causes of anger. There is the third cause of anger is really still part of the same thing that I want focus on this because this is the essence of pain or hurt, pain or hurt so many walks up to and slaps you in the face, chances are that's can make you mad and hurts to be slapped across the face.
Somebody knocks you over because you scrape your knee, that might make you angry because that person has inflicted pain upon you. But here this is a simple matter of understanding physical pain, but we all know that there are other kinds of pain beside physical. The person who hurt your feelings to insult you, who slanders you gossips about you injures your reputation injures your name provokes pain in your life.
The person who cheat you out of your money in a business deal has inflicted pain on you, it hurts to lose your investments and so that pain is transferred into anger not notice that all three of these involve some kind of pain, disappointment is painful frustration is painful.
Being slandered is painful based slapped across the face is painful and these are the things that provoke anger. Jesus was angry at what he saw happen to his father's house because it pained Jesus to see his father's house, which was to be a house of prayer turned into a house of merchandise and Jesus expressed his anger that grew out of his pain.
I can't think of any kind of anger that isn't rooted in some kind of pain. I why's that important to understand while in understanding my own anger and certainly in understanding somebody else's anger. Particulars are angry at me. It goes a long way. If we can discipline ourselves to look past the anger to the pain. If somebody comes up to you and says to. I am really mad at you, what your normal reaction irritably defensive, you're not going to be sympathetic you're gonna be uncomfortable or if somebody comes up to you and says I'm really hurt while you hurt. Well because of something he said and how you respond to that.
If I realize that I have hurt somebody. My basic human response to that is to want to bring healing is to want to bring soothing salve to get rid of their pain. I don't want to hurt people. Do you want to inflict pain on other human beings. And so somebody comes to me and says to me are really hurting, so why was because of something you said. Then I all of a sudden start get mad at myself instead of that person of a person comes on to me in rage.
I don't hear if they become abusive. On one listen to because now the inflicting pain on million, but I don't understand, and anger and angry responses provoke angry responses until that anger begins to escalate in a war starts where if we can just get past the anger or look behind the anger look underneath the anger to see where the pain is because it's always there.
It is always there, and a person may feel pain in an unjustifiable way.
As I said people have unrealistic expectations so we might come up to me and say I'm mad at you, why you mad at me well because I called your office and wanted to play golf with you and your secretary said you were too busy and I'm really ticked about that and I'm sorry I don't want to offend you but whatever you had that you could just call my office and have my secretary schedule a golf game with you. You maybe wanted that and you expected your desire to be fulfilled.
But you had no right to have that expectation. And so sometimes we create our own pain and we create our own anger by illegitimate expectations. But still, it's important for us to understand it so that we can understand our own anger and understand the other persons anger they had an expectation maybe was a legitimate expectation and I failed to meet their expectation and the weight of responsibility is on my we actually do offend people and there's a distinction between giving offense and taking offense. Sometimes we take offense when no offense has been made and people will take offense at us when we have done nothing to offend. That's also part of human nature. But when a person is offended, they are hurt and often the response of the pain is anger. We need to understand. We also understand the way anger works in relationships and families and homes. The office couple kinds of anger that I want talk about briefly are those two types of anger that I call situational anger and misdirected anger. These also are closely related. Let's see how the relentless take misdirected anger. Guy comes from the office set a bad day boss chewed them out a loss of account and a dentist car on the way home and he walks into the house and he says to his wife, honey, I really had a bad day darling and hope you help me get over is not usually wear works. Rather, he comes in kicks that the hog starts yelling at his wife and creates havoc in the household because he's had this buildup of frustration and anger all day and said now he can afford to let it out that his boss were to his employees at work so explores up brazen home and pours it on his dog on his kids on his wife that happens every day in America.
The misdirected anger. I'm just saying there can be a dangerous pattern of storing up anger and never never dealing with because it's going to, and is going to come out, usually in a destructive way and so if we are to be people deal with this difficult problem finder. We need the wisdom of God and we need the wisdom and the patient's pain because it's a whole wanted to respond. Pain that it is respond to.
When we listen to a message like this it sooner, to find yourselves wincing both with guilt for the anger we've inflicted and with pain for the misdirected anger we've received so grateful for Dr. RC Sproul and the practical biblical help. He provided today. In dealing with this issue there listening to Renewing Your Mind.
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