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Freed From Anger–Part 1 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
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April 17, 2024 1:00 am

Freed From Anger–Part 1 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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April 17, 2024 1:00 am

If we’re destroying our relationships, spiritually stagnating, or allowing the enemy a foothold, anger is probably involved. Our anger can damage ourselves and others. In this message, Pastor Lutzer provides three reasons we need to be freed from anger. Why do we have this emotion of intense displeasure?

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.

It flares up like a burst of fire. Sometimes it's road rage, other times it's a sudden lashing out at someone you love. Anger, one more thing we have to conquer if we're to pull together in a world tearing apart.

Please stay with us. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, anger can make us do things we'd never otherwise do.

Dave, you're absolutely right. I certainly have done things in anger that I would not do otherwise, things that I have later regretted. Anger is an emotion that has to be brought under control. In the book of Ephesians, Paul says, when angry, do not sin and then he goes on to say in the next verse, do not give the devil an opportunity. Connect those verses. When we are angry, we give the devil an opportunity, a foothold, a path. I want to thank the many of you who support this ministry. Now, if you're blessed as a result of Running to Win, you've heard me say this before, but it's because of people just like you. Some of you have never connected with us.

Would you become an endurance partner? Now, at the end of this broadcast, I'm going to be giving you some info as to how you can investigate that possibility, but also sharing a wonderful, heartwarming story from the Middle East. Thank you in advance for helping us, and now let us deal with the issue that oftentimes has torn marriages apart, the issue of anger. If you've been listening to the news, you know that recently a woman shot her husband and five children.

I'd like to talk to that woman, and if I did, I would like to ask her a couple of questions. I'd like to say, tell me about your father. Tell me about your husband. What is it that happened in your life that could make you so very, very angry? Well the topic this morning is anger in this series of messages pulling together in a world that is tearing apart, and I'd like to begin by giving you three reasons why it is that what I have to say to you this morning is so incredibly important. First, because anger, uncontrolled anger, destroys personal relationships. It destroys personal relationships.

I know that to be true firsthand. You know, when I was growing up, I had a very hot-tempered. I was a hot-tempered little boy. One day I was supposed to be drying some dishes with my sister, and I lunged at her and took a piece of meat out of her arm. She still has the scar, and she believes that it's God's will that one of the things she does is keep me humble.

She's a missionary, but she says when she goes to conferences and people say, oh, is it your brother that writes those books? If they say anything too nice, she says, I just pull up my blouse and say, yeah, and look at what he did to me when he was nine years old. I took some of that hot temper into our marriage. I remember blowing up at issues because I didn't have the right information, and I can't tell you the number of times I've had to go to my children and my wife and ask forgiveness for irrational, silly anger. Anger destroys personal relationships.

You know, I always say that my wife and I, we decided that when we got married, we would not go to bed angry, and we kept that, though I do recall one July when we didn't go to bed for two weeks. I can't even imagine what anger does in the lives of those families where a man actually beats his wife or beats his children in anger and then maybe doesn't even ask forgiveness. Anger, uncontrolled, destroys personal relationships. Secondly, uncontrolled anger destroys spiritual growth.

It destroys spiritual growth. Do you realize it says in the book of Galatians that one of the works of the flesh is outbursts of anger, and those stand in contrast to the work of the Holy Spirit of God, who is to produce love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, and goodness, when no angry person experiences the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Third, uncontrolled anger gives place to the devil, gives place to the devil. It says in Ephesians chapter 4, when angry, do not sin, do not let your anger or the sun go down upon your wrath, and then it says do not give the devil an opportunity.

Don't give him a topos, don't give him a foothold. One day a man called me and said, I just simply cannot understand my wife. He said here we are shopping, we're having a good time, we're enjoying each other, and then suddenly on the way home she begins to flare in irrational anger and it almost seems as if she's a different person.

He says she's two people. Well, maybe she is, because if you give the devil a foothold, the devil will get in through that door and soon take up residence in your life. Do not give the devil a foothold. Well, what we need to do is to back up and to look at anger now. First of all, is anger always sin?

No, not at all. That's why Paul says when angry, do not sin. In other words, if you're going to be angry, handle it biblically.

Handle it correctly. The Bible says in Psalm chapter 7 verse 11 that God says I am angry with the wicked every day. You read the Old Testament, God was often angry with people. There's nothing wrong with anger in itself. Mark chapter 3 verse 5, Jesus looked about those who were in the synagogue and he was livid with anger. And look at Jesus going into the temple and overturning the tables. It wasn't a temper tantrum, but he was very angry. And in the Old Testament it says in 1 Samuel that the Spirit of the Lord came upon Saul and he became very angry. Anger in itself is okay.

What you do with it is the key. Well, what is it that makes us angry anyway? Why do we have this emotion of intense displeasure?

Well, a couple of reasons. First of all, we become angry when we feel helpless. When there is that goal that we want to reach and suddenly we are blocked, it may be a traffic jam and you want to get to an appointment on time and suddenly there's work on the Kennedy Expressway. You become angry because you can't accomplish what you wanted to do and especially when it's out of your control. Sometimes we become angry because of injustice and for some people it doesn't take a whole lot of injustice. I've seen people kick the living daylights out of a pop machine because it swallowed a quarter it wouldn't give back. Ruin a $100 pair of shoes, banging it, clubbing it.

25 cents. Then there is also anger because of the insecurity. If you were brought up in a home where emotions could not be expressed and there was no resolution of angry situations, you may marry and eventually want to control your mate through anger and that's why you get husbands who are absolutely controllers.

They need their wives to simply toe the line in exact and precise ways and if the man is a Christian he will not only club her with a bat but he will club her with a bat that has verses of scriptures painted onto it about submission and yieldedness and authority and what he doesn't realize is that all of those reactions are a way in which he's trying to resolve unresolved anger. Now how do we deal with anger? Let me give you two ways both of which are destructive but the first is you just blow up. You blow up. Person says well I give them a piece of my mind.

Watch it. You give somebody a piece of your mind make sure that you have enough left over after you've given away that piece but there are people who say well you know I just tell them what I think and I just get it over with. Oh isn't that sweet? Have you ever thought of how much destruction those words bring? If we had time we could look into the book of Proverbs and we would see verse after verse that talks about hot-tempered angry people being destructive.

It says for example in Proverbs 22 24 do not associate with a man given to anger or with a hot-tempered man. Years ago psychiatrists used to give this counsel they'd say well you know you have to get all this anger out and modern psychology is obsessed with the idea that if you can get something out you can deal with it which is of course nonsense. There are kinds of people who've got all kinds of things that they have brought out and they can't deal with it but the idea was that you should vent your anger so we will give you a pillow and you pretend that this pillow is your mother-in-law and you do all the things to the pillow that you'd really like to do to her. You stomp it you kick it you throw it against the cement wall you swear at it and it'll all come out. For years I've known that people who do that only magnify their anger.

Now they are learning a response that they are going to continue to reinforce. The reason that that doesn't work is because your quest for justice is still unsatisfied. You can hit that pillow as much as you like and it will never resolve the injustice that has caused the anger. That's why it's so important to bring God into the resolution of anger as we shall see in a few moments. So first of all you blow up.

No that's not good. You do destruction. I know what it's like to say things I shouldn't say to people in anger and even though I go back and apologize and say I'm sorry something is lost. There's a second way. It is the more spiritual way. It's the way you do it if you're a member of Moody Church. You don't blow up.

No because somebody might hear about that. What you do is because you remember now you're very spiritual. You clam up and you say I'm not going to do anything.

I'm just going to take it. And what happens is all of the anger then turns into a stepchild that is far worse than the anger and that stepchild is resentment and hostility that begins to burn like a cauldron beneath the surface and that will cloud everything you do and you become a very angry person. Psychologists call it passive aggression because you're not beating your wife. You're not swearing.

You're not flaring up. No you are passively aggressive but you are filled with hostility and the other troubling thing is you're not willing to admit it. For example a wife who tells her husband not to buy a particular car and he does it anyway because he's just asserting his masculinity. What's she supposed to do? She can't control the guy. She can't talk sense into his head. She begins to secretly hope and pray that he'll be in an accident. Nothing would delight her more than to see that thing made into an accordion against a cement wall and she will actually ask God to be brought into the situation. You see not being able to control it herself she now punts the ball to fate and to God saying God I can't even the score. I can't get this guy to have any sense.

You do it. How does the husband react? Stubbornness. He won't pay the bills. He knows what bothers her and he will do whatever he possibly can to continue to make her more angry and more angry and when he finds out what are those hot buttons are he begins to play them. He's not beating her up.

He is just passively aggressive and trusting that his stubbornness is going to cause enough problems that nothing will go well in the home and that's his aggression. I was thinking about it this week as I was preparing this message and it dawned on me that there are many people who are angry at God and passively aggressive toward him. Now nobody wants to really take God on. Nobody wants to shake his fist at God though I recall many years ago as a teenager seeing a man do that.

We were giving out tracts in a particular city in Canada and there was a man who said I'll prove there's no God and he looked into the heavens and he cursed God and he says if you're there strike me dead and he said see I'm alive there is no God. Now nobody wants to do that if you're spiritual. So what you do is you have your own little tricks that you play in order to get back at God who's a lot stronger than you are.

For example for some people it may be deliberate sin. They are going to say I'm just going to show God a thing or two. I'm going to go ahead and I'm going to disobey him because I can do whatever I like. It's the adult version of the teenager who is told by his parents not to smoke.

In response he sits on the couch, lights a cigarette, takes a breath that causes the drapes to move and then blows a column of cigarette smoke all the way to the china cabinet. That's his way of showing that he needs space and that his parents can say whatever you like. So there are people who take it out on God through disobedience. Others don't give. They withhold their money. They say you know if God can't give me a better job and if life is going to be this way I'm not going to contribute. I'll show him I'll just go ahead and I'll take care of myself and let God go have a nice day but he's going to do it without me. Then there are others who just stop praying.

They say you know I prayed years ago that I would be healed and God hasn't healed me and since he hasn't healed me see if I'll ever talk to him again. And all that aggression is built up in the soul and the problem is the person who has it won't admit it because they're also into denial. Are you enjoying this?

I am. Let me give you seven characteristics of an angry person. If you have two I pray for the person with whom you live. Number one, stubbornness, obstinance. You have to understand that that an angry person does not want things to go well and they will do all that they possibly can to hinder communication.

They will hinder progress because this is their protest. Secondly, legalism. Someone who wants to keep the law meticulously just so fussy because that gives them a good feeling but woe to the person who does not do exactly as they do.

He cannot stand anybody else who has a good time and if he's not going to have a good time he's going to make sure that everyone with whom he lives does not have a good time. Three would be rude and overbearing. Number four, argumentative. Have you met somebody and no matter what you say to them you can't have a discussion. All that you can have is an argument because the words are twisted and the circumstances are changed in such a way that there's no way. Well you have to understand what's happening is that this angry person is trying desperately to create a crisis and then they hope that in this crisis they will be able to win. So if there is no crisis they create one. Argumentative, critical, magnifying the faults of others.

I shouldn't say this but this is just family talk today anyway. Nobody's really listening. Some of you perfectionists, you are angry people. The reason you find it so difficult to affirm somebody else and what they are doing and the reason that an A is not good enough it has to be an A plus is because you are actually pretty angry and particularly angry at your children and others who will not conform to your incredibly high standard. You are angry at yourself and you're angry to others who won't conform to you. A mission leader told me one time that the number one problem with missionaries on the mission field is perfectionism. They simply will find it impossible to accept other people's faults. After all if you're going to do something do it right for heaven's sake.

And remember right is defined according to their standard and nobody does anything right in their books. Number six, an unforgiving spirit. You have somebody who is angry he will remember injustices that have been done years and years and years ago. All of the things that have been done will be very patiently rehearsed, memorized, rethought, turned around in the mind, embraced, hugged, irrigated, kept and he cannot release anger and he cannot respond to forgiveness and that actually is number seven is jealousy and next week's message is on the topic of jealousy because it is so important.

Now remember I'm not talking about people who are unsaved though they may have those responses too. I'm talking about Sunday school teachers and elders and deacons and pastors and well-meaning people, missionaries who are basically angry and who do not know it. You know to marry an angry person is something like building a house where there has been a landfill where there has been some chemicals that have been dumped. You can go there every weekend everything seems all right but when you pull into the house and you begin to live there you discover that the grass doesn't grow, there's no joy, the metal around the place begins to corrode and the diseases begin to spring up that colors everything. Some of you know exactly what I'm talking about because you live with a person who is angry who perceives himself as being very spiritual.

Now what do we do about it? Take your Bibles and turn to the fifth chapter of the book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah chapter five where we find this man who knew how to handle anger. Nehemiah chapter five.

Nehemiah has been building the walls and there has been criticism because some of the people are exacting usury or interest from their brothers and the people are being sold. It says in chapter five verse two, for there were those who said we our sons and our daughters are many therefore let us get grain that we may eat and live. Verse four there were those who said we have borrowed money for the king's tax on our field and our vineyards and now our flesh is like the flesh of our brothers our children like their children yet behold we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves and some of our daughters are forced into bondage already and we are helpless because our fields and vineyards belong to others. Understand there were some wealthy Jews who were exacting high rates of interest from their brothers and sisters who were in financial need and sinking them into debt to the point where they had to sell everything that they had including their children.

How do we handle this kind of injustice? Chapter five verse six number one admit you are angry. Nehemiah says I was very angry and I say good for him. Good for him. Yes my friend there is such a thing as righteous anger. Righteous anger has to do with issues that we confront when we see injustice when we see crime when we see those who are the victims of all kinds of evil schemes it is okay it is right that we are angry as a matter of fact it just comes to mind that Jesus the Bible says when he was in the synagogue he looked around in anger because of their unbelief. I want to thank the many of you who support the ministry of running to win if you are encouraged if you are blessed it is because of other people who have supported this ministry thank you in advance now I'm holding in my hands a letter from someone who writes to us from the Middle East he is a Muslim and the reason that this kind of ministry happens is because running to win is in the Arabic language why because of your support but listen to what he says after listening to running to win I was eager to read the Bible after reading it my mind was blown away and my heart changed I want to know more an Arabic speaker that testimony is your testimony that testimony belongs to the entire running to win family here's what you can do go to rtwoffer.com that's rtwoffer.com when you're there you click on the endurance partner button to receive some info endurance partners are those who give regularly to the ministry of running to win of course the amount that you give is entirely your decision go to rtwoffer.com click on the endurance partner button or hope that you have a pencil in your hand call 1-888-218-9337 thanks again for joining the running to win family you can write to us at running to win 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard Chicago Illinois 60614 running to win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life pastor Erwin Lutzer with part one of freed from anger finding a way to deal with anger properly so it won't destroy our relationships next time on running to win part two of this message another in our current series pulling together in a world tearing apart thanks for listening this is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-17 02:09:09 / 2024-04-17 02:17:44 / 9

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