We are starting a series of blog posts to address the subject of anger—in particular sinful anger. This is such a prevalent sin that even Christians are affected by it on a constant basis. Relationships within the family and within the church are affected tremendously as a result of uncontrolled anger.
In fact, anger was behind the very first murder in the Bible—Cain murdering his brother Abel! We are told the result of God accepting Abel’s offering while rejecting Cain’s offering in this manner: “So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast” [Genesis 4:5b]. We are also told God warned him about the dangers of anger, “…Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it” [Genesis 4:6-7]. Despite this clear warning, Cain as a result of his uncontrollable anger ended up murdering Abel! That’s how destructive anger can be!
While not all sinful anger results in actual murder, Jesus’s words in Matthew 5:22, “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment” should cause us to take this subject of sinful anger with utmost seriousness. Hence, the series of blog posts to help us deal with this subject of sinful anger in a biblical manner.
In the following posts, we will be looking at 6 subjects listed that pertain to sinful anger:
1. What is anger?
2. What is the source of sinful anger?
3. Who are the objects of sinful anger?
4. What are the common expressions through which sinful anger is demonstrated?
5. What are the destructive consequences of sinful anger?
6. How can we be delivered from sinful anger?
For this post, the focus is on simply introducing this subject.
In the last few years, there have been many “strange but true” stories about people who get into deadly conflicts over crazy things.
- In Orlando, a 48-year-old man was shot to death by his wife after a fight over the satellite TV controls.
- In California, a man was stabbed to death by his girlfriend because he brought home a McDonalds ham, egg, and cheese bagel instead of the two Egg Mcmuffins that she’d asked for. (Husbands, let that be a lesson to all of you…get it right!)
- In Dallas, a 37-year-old man was beaten to death by his roommate after a fight over the thermostat setting in their house.
- In Maryland, a 15-year-old boy has been charged in the shooting death of a man who was playing reggae music on his car stereo. Apparently, the boy really hates reggae music.
- In Indiana, a father of a middle school girl violently assaulted the basketball coach by knocking him to the ground with a punch, and then climbed on top of him and repeatedly punched him in the face and head until he was completely unconscious. All for this was due to the coach making his daughter and her friend run a few laps as the traditional punishment for arguing with each other.
Every time you turn around, you hear one story or the other about incidents of rage which affects human relationships. Noted Christian counselor Jay Adams has estimated that sinful anger is involved in 90 percent of all counseling problems. Seems true! Anger indeed wreaks havoc in our lives. It is one of those emotions that has the power to turn:
- Passionate lovers into cold, calculated, critical marriage partners who do only the bare minimum, only what’s absolutely necessary to coexist in the same house.
- Good friends into hated enemies.
- A festive family gathering into a gut-twisting, name-calling, side-taking, no-holds-barred family feud that rarely, if ever, gets resolved.
- Caring, concerned parents into neck-bulging, vein popping, screaming adults who say the same thing over and over again into the blank faces of their children.
- A calm, quiet, conscientious, longtime employee into an automatic-weapon-carrying maniac who goes floor to floor in an office building spraying bullets everywhere, and killing and maiming innocent people, simply because he has been let go from his job.
[Overcoming Emotions that Destroy, Chip Ingram, pages 25-26, with modifications].
How true is the statement, “If you let anger get the best of you, it will reveal the worst in you.” And anger is not just a male issue―it affects females as well―as the above-mentioned illustrations reveal. It is a universal problem that we all face―including Christians!
It is sad to see many professing Christians who are so kind to outsiders, yet being so angry toward those within their own home. As a result, many Christian homes are wrecked. How many Christians long to experience the reality of Proverbs 17:1 type of a home, “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.”
Yet, the reality of a blissful home seems to be so elusive because of uncontrolled anger ruling the home. Is there hope? Yes―if we are willing to deal with the anger problem the right way―God’s way as found in the Bible! Why the Bible? Because anger is not a clinical problem; it is a sin problem which then makes it a spiritual problem. Spiritual problems can only be overcome by spiritual truths.
We are told in 2 Timothy 3:16-17“16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
These verses make it abundantly clear that Scriptures are more than adequate to deal with this problem—and every other problem! That’s why the following blog posts will draw from Scripture as to how we can effectively deal with sinful anger. It’s important that we constantly guard ourselves against falling victim to sinful anger because of the devastating short and long-term consequences it brings.
Please pray that this series will be a blessing to all who read it and that the Holy Spirit would be pleased to use it to make us more like Jesus who described himself as being, “gentle and humble in heart” [Matthew 11:29].