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Freed From Anger–Part 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
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April 18, 2024 1:00 am

Freed From Anger–Part 2 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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April 18, 2024 1:00 am

Remembering an insult can cause us to flare up at any relational irritation. Nehemiah faced constant provocation in his work to rebuild Jerusalem’s wall. In this message, Pastor Lutzer considers three steps in Nehemiah’s stance toward injustice which can free us from anger. It’s time to let go of our bitterness.

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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 eats at you like a cancer. Anger, remembering insults from years ago, can cause it to flare up at the least provocation. Today we'll see how the Bible character Nehemiah handled anger, directing his energies in a positive direction. 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, you're helping us pull together in a world tearing apart, and getting control of anger seems to be one key way of doing that. You know, Dave, if we can't pull together as believers, how are we going to help a world pull together, a world that is being torn apart politically, morally, racially, and in every way conceivable? The only way that we can bring this world together is of course through the gospel of Jesus Christ, and this series of messages has emphasized the need to pull together in our homes especially. We're making these messages available to you in permanent form. Here's what you do.

Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Remember, the sermon series is entitled Pulling Together in a World Tearing Apart. Perhaps you've heard one or two messages, not all of them, or perhaps you have listened to them and you know other people who would benefit. Once again, the sermon series, Pulling Together in a World Tearing Apart, and at the end of this message I'll be giving you that contact info again so that this series can be yours. 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 land fill, 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 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. If you can hear about child abuse and not get angry, get on your knees and ask God to give you your emotions back because you should be very angry. But now the problem is that oftentimes we can recognize that anger because it is directed toward an object, but the passive aggression that I've been talking to you about this morning is a little less easy to define and to admit that a person is angry is very difficult. I want you today to feel free to admit that you are angry if you are angry and you may well be. You see, admitting it is so important and sometimes what it means is that we simply open our lives to God and say, God, am I angry? You know, I've told you before that nobody benefits from my sermons as much as I do. I get a blessing even if you don't.

I'm really lucky. So this week as I was preparing this message, I said, Lord, I need to ask myself, am I angry? And I just waited before the Lord and said, Lord, show me if I am angry.

And interestingly, one or two names came to mind that I thought I had forgotten about. But the Spirit of God was saying you are still angry. You see, there are some things that we can't see. Your wife can tell you you're angry and you don't see it or the other way around. You can tell your wife that she's angry and she doesn't see it.

There are times when only God can take the soul and pull it apart and say look in and see what's there. Nehemiah said I was very angry. Admit you are angry. Secondly, pause before you act. Pause before you act. He doesn't say now I was very angry and I really gave it to them.

No, that comes later. He says I was very angry when I heard their outcry and these words. Verse 7, and I consulted with myself.

He paused and says, what should I do? If you're angry, count to 10 before you speak. If you're very angry, count to 100 and don't speak at all. You say, oh, but you know, I can't help myself.

I can't help myself. Ah, nonsense, nonsense. Here's an argument taking place in a very evangelical Christian home and all these words are flying and the decibels are beginning to rise and suddenly the phone rings. What do you do?

Do you go there and say, what do you want? We're having an argument. No.

Hello? Can't control yourself. Why do you think God gave you the Holy Spirit? The fruit of the Spirit is control.

You pause before you act. Thirdly, you identify the cause of anger. You identify it and say, why am I angry?

Now, Nehemiah did that. He knew precisely why he was angry because of this injustice that was being perpetrated among his own people. He knew he was angry and why, but here once again is where many of us need to get before God and we need to open our lives and say, oh Lord, why am I angry? Is it because I grew up with a father whom I could not please, whose affection and love I wanted to receive but didn't? Am I angry because my marriage has failed and my life is filled with that cauldron of poison and resentment?

As it says in the book of Hebrews, a root of bitterness that springs up and thereby many are defiled. Am I angry because of my lot in life? Am I angry because there are people who have less education and less ability than I do, and yet they have better positions? Am I angry because I don't like where God has planted me? Am I angry because of circumstances, because of the way in which I look, because of the injustices that have been perpetrated upon me? God, show me why am I angry? Why am I angry?

Identify the cause. And then number four, construct a solution. I won't read the rest of this chapter but it's very neat. He contended with the nobles and he worked out an agreement and said, look, I won't receive any money and I want you to use my life as an example and let's resolve this and let's cut this out.

And the rest of the chapter indicates that the nobles agreed with Nehemiah and they said, okay, fine, we'll, we'll work this out and we'll stop what we're doing. Now let me talk to you heart to heart, pastor to pastor, spirit to spirit, mind to mind for just a few moments. There are many of you who are angry and what you need to do is to construct a solution that may include confrontation. It may mean that you go to the person with whom you are angry and resolve an issue that is burning in your soul that they may not even know about. In the ministry I've offended people and I didn't even know about it.

Those of us who live a rather public life can do that quite easily at times. So maybe what you need to do to siphon off that anger is to confront in some instances it may not be possible. A person against whom you have all this anger may have died or maybe you've tried to confront and they won't hear it because they're heavily into denial, remember, as we preached on last week. But maybe your problem should begin with confrontation. Not at a bad moment. You see, here's an argument in a home.

The husband comes home, reads the newspaper, eats dinner and then leaves to go somewhere and as he's leaving his wife shouts at him in anger. That's a bad time to try to resolve that conflict. It'd be much better to do it in a time when there was quietness and civility and peace, but confrontation is necessary. B, there is confession. Confession. I'm talking about confession now to God. Why don't you go away somewhere where you can be alone and just let it all hang out before the Lord, speaking reverently but very honestly, calling the Almighty all of the hurts that are in your life and pouring out your soul before God.

David did. You say, well, do you think God can take it? Oh, I have no idea whether God can take it. Oh, listen, God's handled a whole lot worse cases than you are. He can take it. He can take it.

One of the things that David did is as he poured out his soul before God, God ended up pouring grace into his heart, into his mind and God gave him strength. Next choice. You'll notice confrontation, confession, choice. I'm making this easy for you. Choice.

What's the choice? The choice is, do you want to retain all that hostility and anger or do you want to give it up now? It is impossible to shake hands with somebody as long as you have a clenched fist.

You can't do it. What you need to do if you're going to shake hands, even with the almighty, figuratively speaking, is to open your life just like I must open my fist to shake hands with you. What you need to do is to say, God, I am opening my life before you and in the name of Jesus and through his strength, I'm releasing all of this anger and hostility to you.

Listen very carefully. You can do that without surrendering justice. Now, some of you have heard me say this before, but in case there's somebody who hasn't, you know how for years I would counsel people and a woman would say to me, yeah, yeah, yeah, you expect me to forgive my husband and he has run off and he's left me and the kids and he's not paying us any support and he's gone to Florida and he's got a good business there and I'm the one stuck with all this and then you are telling me that I have to forgive. Where is justice?

Is to scratch my head and say, lady, you know, you've got a point. And then I came across that verse in 1 Peter chapter 2 and suddenly the lights went on regarding Jesus who when he was reviled, reviled not again. When he suffered, he did not threaten, but he kept committing himself to his father who judges righteously. He says, I want justice too, but I'm not going to be the one to bring justice to this situation, but I'm going to commit myself to my father and trust that he will eventually do right by me.

And 2000 years have passed and Jesus has not yet been vindicated and he's still waiting. There are times all that we can do is to say, God, my desire for justice is so great, it is all consuming, but I can't bring justice to this situation. It is beyond me and therefore I committed to you. Oh God, it's yours. I'm going to take my case to the highest court, not the Supreme Court in Washington, but the Supreme Court in heaven. And I'm going to trust you to straighten out this mess. You've heard me say it. I think every court case that has been tried in America is going to be retried by God.

Two illustrations of how this works. There was a man who came into a room where men were on their knees in prayer, angry, angry, angry. He took his fist and he put it into his hand like this and said, God, you'll never get me.

Why would a man say that? Well, his kids had grown up and they did not follow Christ. You know how embarrassing it can be if you are a Christian in a church and your kids don't love Jesus? About ten years ago, we had a little difficulty with one of our daughters here in a Sunday school class.

Oh, I got angry. You know, as I analyzed it, God showed me that the reason was not because this violation in a Sunday school class was all that big a deal. It was because of pride. Pastors' daughters are supposed to be perfect.

I mean, do not perfect children come from perfect parents? If you knew me, you'd laugh even louder. Nobody is as angry as somebody whose pride has been wounded. You really want to get somebody angry. You wound their pride.

Oh. He said, God, you'll never get me. But because of the work of the Holy Spirit, God took that man apart piece by piece and God got him and stood in front of a congregation of hundreds of people weeping, crying. It's okay for men to cry. Crying, smiling, how God showed him his sin and how he had to go to all of his children to make restitution and to ask forgiveness because it was because of his pride that he had so wounded their spirits and pride prevented him from going back and asking their forgiveness, though God knows he was wrong a thousand times in the way in which he disciplined them when they were growing up. And then, there are some of you who are really, fundamentally angry at God. I mean, really, you just look at him and yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. He didn't answer all those prayers and there he is. Sure, it's fine for him to be in the heavens and here I am.

You're mad at him. Let me tell you a true story. There was a woman who was brought up as an atheist, had never prayed in her life, filled with resentment and anger and then her daughter was in a car accident and the accident was so severe that she thought that perhaps her daughter would have to be in a coma for weeks and the outcome was uncertain. This woman decided, well, so that's the way God runs his world, huh?

I'll show you a thing or two. Went into the bar, got drunk, got into her car, began to drive. As she was driving, the rain came against the windshield. She decided she had the presence of mind to pull off and beside of the road in the car, she thought at last she's going to tell God what she thinks. She estimates that she was there a half an hour cursing God and she said, remember, I really knew how to curse.

When she was finished, there was dead silence except the pitter patter of the rain against the windshield and she said she heard a voice that said, this is the first time you've ever talked to me and I love you. Some of you need to talk to God. You've got to let it all spill out because really he does love you.

He really does love you and you need to respond to that love. Let's pray. Now, Father, what can we do except to look to your grace and your power to do in the hearts of all who are listening by radio and all who are in this auditorium what no man can ever do?

The resentment, the bitterness, the anger, the years of hostility bound up in human souls. Father, come and set us free. I pray in the name of Jesus that you'll open every closed heart, that you will show every person who is in denial, people who thought that this message was for somebody else. I pray, O God, that you will help them to see themselves in your holy presence, to be honest, to admit that they are angry, to tell the truth and then say, God, heal my soul. O Father, do that, we pray. And now before I close this prayer, I want you to talk to God. You may even be angry when you're talking to him.

That's okay. He can handle it. He's taken it.

He's taken it. But talk to him because he loves you. Say to him whatever you need to say, let it hang out.

Spill it out. If you need to cry, cry. Father, heal thy people where we are needy.

In Jesus' name, Amen. Now I don't believe that God speaks to us in words, but oftentimes ideas form in our minds as the Holy Spirit begins to help us to identify those barriers that we need to overcome to be in perfect fellowship with our Heavenly Father. This series of messages is titled Pulling Together in a World Tearing Apart. It identifies various barriers that have to be overcome in order to heal personal relationships. It talks about the need to walk in obedience, to be able to lay down bitterness, and to be able to say, God, what really matters is what matters to you. You know, when you and I come before God, it is so important that we not want something that he doesn't want for us. In other words, we commit ourselves to him, we make our request known, but the decision ultimately is his. Now I believe that these messages that you've been listening to will be of tremendous blessing, and we are making them available to you in permanent form.

Here's what you do. Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. The title of the series of messages, Pulling Together in a World Tearing Apart. When you have them in permanent form, you can listen to them again and again and share them with others who need to hear these truths.

Go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. And when you connect with us, I want to thank you in advance for helping us financially because it is people just like you who are enabling us to get the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. Pastor Erwin Lutzer has concluded Freed from Anger, another message in a series on pulling together in a world tearing apart. Next time on Running to Win, Pastor Lutzer probes even deeper as he talks about catching the thief called jealousy. Plan to join us. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-18 02:08:26 / 2024-04-18 02:16:55 / 8

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