Monday, May 4, 2015


This Sunday, we talked about Anger at church in our Emotion and Devotion series. It was so good! Pastor Daniel shared that so often we don't know what to do with anger, we either stuff it down or we explode, and boy is he right. We forget that God gets angry, and it is a God given emotion. It's learning how to handle it that is tricky since often our anger stems from things not happening the way we think it should. He also said that anger is a fruit of love, not the opposite, which again is good to remember. God gets angry when His people break His law because He loves us and wants our best. As humans that's not always the case with our anger, but many times it is. Anger comes from something not living up to the ideal.

So how do we steward our anger?

Psalm 73:
Surely God is good to Israel,
To those who are pure in heart!
But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling,
My steps [a]had almost slipped.
For I was envious of the [b]arrogant
As I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
For there are no pains in their death,
And their [c]body is fat.
They are not [d]in trouble as other [e]men,
Nor are they plagued [f]like mankind.
Therefore pride is their necklace;
The garment of violence covers them.
Their eye [g]bulges from fatness;
The imaginations of their heart [h]run riot.
They mock and [i]wickedly speak of oppression;
They speak from on high.
They have set their mouth [j]against the heavens,
And their tongue [k]parades through the earth.
Therefore [l]his people return to this place,
And waters of abundance are [m]drunk by them.
They say, “How does God know?
And is there knowledge [n]with the Most High?”
Behold, these are the wicked;
And always at ease, they have increased in wealth.
Surely in vain I have [o]kept my heart pure
And washed my hands in innocence;
For I have been stricken all day long
And [p]chastened every morning.
If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
Behold, I would have betrayed the generation of Your children.
When I pondered to understand this,
It was [q]troublesome in my sight
Until I came into the [r]sanctuary of God;
Then I perceived their end.
Surely You set them in slippery places;
You cast them down to [s]destruction.
How they are [t]destroyed in a moment!
They are utterly swept away by sudden terrors!
Like a dream when one awakes,
O Lord, when aroused, You will despise their [u]form.
When my heart was embittered
And I was pierced [v]within,
Then I was senseless and ignorant;
I was like [w]beast [x]before You.
Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.
With Your counsel You will guide me,
And afterward receive me [y]to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but You?
And [z]besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the [aa]strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For, behold, those who are far from You will perish;
You have [ab]destroyed all those who [ac]are unfaithful to You.
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord [ad]God my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.

Raw Pain: Admit Your Anger (v 1-16)
We want to know why good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. Evil is mysterious and often does not make sense. We need to take these Questions before God and ask for help. Pour out everything in your heart in your raw, unprocessed pain. God is the One who can help us work through it. It is often pride and fear that keep us from expressing our anger. Anger shows our desires and helps us in knowing our passions. It is good to be angry at injustice, crime, pain, etc.

Who has betrayed you? Who has hurt you?  Tell God about it and let Him work through it with you.

Reflective Pause: Break It Down (v 15-17)
What is going on beneath the surface when you get angry? Some argue that anger is a secondary emotion and really we are sad, hurt, etc. Whether primary or secondary, we need God's grace to break down the anger that we are experiencing. We also need to see the implications of our anger. Take time to consider your responsibility as a believer if you simply respond in anger, instead of taking a time out to bring it before God. Everybody has power, and if we simply react that power can have lasting negative effects. Pastor Daniel suggested, "Write it out, don't fight it out", which resonated with me as I frequently write out my feelings to God. But I can also fight it out, which has had great damage at times. Weigh what you say. We never move beyond talking it out with God (and if you're married, your spouse) and we need to do this first and foremost when we are angry. Teach yourself short sentence prayers to ground yourself in those moments.

Real Praise: Conform Your Anger (v 17-28)
We need to conform our anger to the character of God. He is just. He is our ideal. He is what we long for. Wickedness is delusional and promises things that are not real. It is outside of reality. Choose to live in reality, which is always better, because reality is where God is. Our anger is a call to communion with God, through Jesus, who did this perfectly. Jesus got angry and did not sin.

Passive Anger: Apathy, Avoidance, Defeatism, Manipulation, Resentment
Aggressive Anger: Blow up, Destructiveness, Unpredictability, Vengeance, Abandonment

How do you deal with anger? Do you push it down? Do you blow up?

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