< Back to all posts
  • 3 Things You Have to Know to Overcome Your Anger Issues

    This weekend I am starting a series called “Seasonal Emojis” and it got me thinking about an old sermon I preached that I feel needs to be heard far and wide because everyone is dealing with anger. I’ve basically modified my sermon notes to be a little more user friendly for a Bible study. I hope this helps many of you.
    Ephesians 4.26-27  “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. 
    Anger can easily lead to sin
    • In Eph. 4.26-27, Paul is quoting a Psalm of David (Psalm 4). Paul is reading the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible which says “In your anger, do not sin." 
    • Psalm 4 gives us some beautiful insight on how to defuse our anger
      • v.1 David talks to God “Hear me oh God of my righteousness.."
      • vv.2-3 David talks to people “How long oh you sons of men?"
      • vv.4-5 David talks to himself - He calms himself before the Lord
        • Be angry and do not sin.
          • The Hebrew verb here is ragaz meaning to "stand in awe" (could be fear or rage). Have you ever been here? If anyone ever had a right to be angry, it was Jesus. Jesus endured gruesome persecution and torture yet He remained without sin. 
          • What this textual reference tells us is that its ok to be angry but we can’t let it allow us to sin. 
          • You are never permitted a license to sin. If we do so Paul says we take for granted the grace of God. The intense version of that is we “spit on the cross"
        • Meditate within your heart on your bed and be still
          • Christian meditation is different than eastern meditation
            • In Christian meditation, we fill ourselves with God’s truth.
            • In eastern meditation, we empty our heart and mind, leaving it open for deception.
        • Offer the sacrifices of the righteous and Trust in the Lord
          • Religious action doesn’t replace trusting in God.
          • Trusting in God is followed by walking in the way of the righteous.
      • vv.6-8 David receives blessing from God
        • You have put gladness in my heart
        • I will lie down in peace
        • You make me dwell in safety
    Work to resolve it quickly
    • Don’t let the sun go down on you.
      • Here this should be read in the straight Greek context of the word as Paul is writing in Greek here, not referring to the Hebrew text. The Greek word used is orgizo which means "to provoke or to arouse anger.” This is so appropriate regarding anger because unresolved anger only provokes further the longer it is left unresolved. If you find yourself looking at your spouse, a child, friend, boss or even God with hate and resentment, chances are huge you have a ton of unresolved anger.
        • Go back to the Psalm 4.4 passage and remember that he said to mediate on your bed Before you go to sleep. Meditate on your bed. He’s continuing to make this connection here. 
      • There is a fine line between doing it in the moment and doing it after the moment has passed. Don’t deal with it in the moment while you are mad, but don’t wait until you have dealt with this completely on your own either.
        • If we wait until the moment has passed we will convince ourselves that we resolved this anger when in reality we only filed it away for safe keeping. We stuffed it. Its like compressing the trash down. At some point the bag is going to bust and there will be crap everywhere. The clean up is much harder at that point. 
    • A few verses earlier in Ephesians 4.22, Paul basically says this is not the way you were taught or "put off your old self."
      • The old self is characterized by... Ignorance, futility, deceit, impurity and lust
      • New life characterized by holiness and righteousness
      • Our MO becomes whatever we were taught by our upbringing. Christ transforms us into the new self. If mom and dad screamed, then you scream it out. If mom and dad stuffed, then you probably are a stuffer.  Even when you put your foot in the ground and say I’m not gonna deal with it like that, you find yourself doing it. It is a long process to unlearn habits then to relearn new ones. 
      • In Romans 12.1-2, Paul tells us that our mind needs to be renewed. Here are three prayers to help you sort through this. 
      • Renewing of the Mind Prayers
        • Identify: Holy Spirit help me identify the root causes for my anger.
        • Unlearn & Heal: Holy Spirit heal the hurts of my past and make me whole.
        • Relearn: Holy Spirit help me walk in and cling to Your truth for my life.
    It has far greater ramifications than what you think
    • "Don’t give the devil a foothold.” In other words, don’t give the devil a seat at the table. Don’t give the devil an opportunity to foster hatred or pride. There are people who’s anger of the injustices in this world led them to do horrendous things. While we are working to minimize it, the devil is working to maximize it. We don’t want to minimize it though, we want to resolve it. We can resolve anger with far less energy than we spend managing it. What is the real reason you are angry?  The anger we have is rarely only about the person we are directing it towards.
    • What about righteous anger? Is there a place for that? Yes. "If our anger motivates us to seek solutions, address injustices in a productive way, and heal the damage that has been done to a relationship, then that anger can be both righteous and healthy.”
    • What about God’s anger? God’s wrath is just. J.I. Packer summarizes: “God’s wrath in the Bible is never the capricious, self-indulgent, irritable, morally ignoble thing that human anger so often is. It is, instead, a right and necessary reaction to objective moral evil” (Knowing God, 151). God’s wrath is satisfied in Christ.
      • Romans 5.6-9 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 
    It would be easy for each of us to leave this post feeling regret about times we’ve been angry and said or done things in which we are not proud of. My hope is that God might redirect our anger to the things that make Him angry. My prayer is that God would heal today the hurts of the past and make us whole. My desire is that we would not give the enemy an opportunity to attack what God is doing in your life, your family or our church family.