Bible Study Helps and Lessons
FOOD FOR THOUGHT #80
#5 The Seven Deadly Sins: Anger
Ephesians 4:26 “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath”
One morning Ralph woke up at five o’clock to a noise that sounded like someone repairing boilers on his roof. Still in his pajamas, he went into the back yard to investigate. He found a woodpecker on the TV antenna, "pounding its little brains out on the metal pole." Angry at the little creature who ruined his sleep, Ralph picked up a rock and threw it. The rock sailed over the house, and he heard a distant crash as it hit the car. In utter disgust, Ralph took a vicious kick at a clod of dirt, only to remember -- too late -- that he was still in his bare feet. Uncontrolled anger, as Ralph learned, can sometimes be its own reward.
What should we know of Anger?
The growth of anger is dangerous. Unresolved anger festers and can become uncontrollable and give birth to murder.
There are three steps in the growth of anger given here.
1.The anger that broods, is selfish. It harbors malice; it will not forget; it lingers; it broods; it wills and sometimes seeks revenge.
2.The anger that holds contempt despises. It ridicules; It arrogantly exalts self and calls another person empty and useless. This is an anger that is full of malice. It despises and scorns. It arises from pride—a proud wrath (Proverbs 21:24). Such feelings or anger walk over and trample a person.
3.The anger that curses. It seeks to destroy a man and his reputation morally, intellectually, and spiritually.
There can be a justified anger.
We are admonished to be angry with those who sin and do wrong, and are unjust and selfish in their behavior. However, a justified anger is disciplined and controlled; it is always limited to those who do wrong against God or against others. The difference between justified and unjustified anger is that justified anger is never selfish; it is never shown because of what has happened to oneself. It is purposeful and the believer knows they are angry for a legitimate reason, and they seek to correct the situation in the most peaceful way possible. “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath” (Ephes. 4:26).
The Lord is clear about the matter: we must never allow anger to take hold of us without just cause.
“But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth” (Col. 3:8).
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19).
“Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15).
“Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil” (Psalm 37:8).
“He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly; and a man of wicked devices is hated” (Proverbs 14:17).
“He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city” (Proverbs 16:32).
“The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression” (Proverbs 19:11).
“Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools” (Eccles. 7:9).
The judgment of anger. It is a serious matter to hold feelings against another person—a very serious matter.
(1) the danger of judgment
(2) the danger of having to come before earthy courts, and
(3) the danger of hell fire.
The answer to anger is reconciliation. Christ had two surprising things to say about this point.
1. The urgency of reconciliation. Reconciliation is always to precede worship. Even when we are coming to worship, if there is a problem with a brother, we are
to go to our brother seeking reconciliation. A person just cannot hope or expect to be right with God if he is not right with his brother (1 John 4:20-21). He must forgive and be reconciled if he expects to be forgiven and reconciled to God.
2. The time for reconciliation is while some openness still exists between the two parties. Reconciliation should be attempted immediately... while a person is still in a brother’s presence: “While thou art in the way with him” (Matthew 5:25).
There is an earthly danger. Barriers can lead to serious action ranging from legal
suits to imprisonment. Such action is tragic to God and among God’s people. It is even forbidden among true Christian brothers (1 Cor. 6:1-8). The damage of anger is manyfold:
It leads to increased barriers and bitterness.
It hurts families.
It is costly.
It damages the name of Christ and one’s own testimony.
It says to unbelievers that Christianity is a sham—no better than any other
It takes advantage of another person—always.
It can cause an injustice to be done. The law is not always right.
It can cause a weak brother to turn away—forever.
It can cause fights, wars, suffering, and death.
There is an eternal danger. Life does not last and the day of final judgment is
coming. A person’s judgment for holding a grudge against a brother will be severe (Matthew 5:22; Matthew 5:25).
Judgment is sure. “The uttermost farthing,” the last cent must be paid.
There will be no escape. “Thou shall by no means come out.” There will be
nothing and no one to deliver a person from the judgment (2 Cor. 5:10).
Reconciliation should be sought quickly: right now—before judgment, for Christ
has borne all punishment for every believer (Matthew 5:25).
How should we deal with anger then?
Let us be reconciled with all so that we may show the light of Christ within us…
March 30, 2011