The Cost Of Anger

Series: Emotions. James Dewhurst August 23, 2020


The Cost of Anger

Anyone who says that anger is a sin does not know what they are talking about. Anger is not a sin, it is an emotion! On the other hand, anyone who says that the destructive behaviors motivated by anger are not a sin, also don’t know what they are talking about!

The apostle Paul instructs us in:

Ephesians 4:26

26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, (ESV)

+ The first thing we see in this verse is permission to be angry over the injustices of life.

+ But then Paul challenges us not to allow our feelings to manifest into sinful behaviors.

+ The Bible is teaching us that there is righteous anger and destructive anger!

It’s not the feeling of anger that is a sin. It is the actions that often follow it that is!

Marcus Aurelius – “How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.”

Ambrose Bierce – “Speak when you are angry, and you will make the greatest speech you will ever regret.”

Unknown author – “Anger is only one letter short of danger.”

Anger is a powerful emotion that people feel when someone or something frustrates, offends, hurts, or wounds them. One of the roots of anger is the Greek word ankhone, which means “a strangling,” which is a perfect description of the way anger actually feels. Anger not only makes you feel like strangling someone, but it also strangles you!

Lawrence Wilder – “Anger never solves anything, but it can destroy everything.”

James 1:19-20

19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (ESV)

Proverbs 29:22

22 A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression. (ESV)

Proverbs 29:11

11 A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. (ESV)

In the face of unending injustice, perhaps the wisest and most influential civil rights leader in American history has taught us all how to handle the emotion of anger:

“As you press on for justice, be sure to move with dignity and discipline, using only the weapon of love. Let no man pull you so low as to hate him. Always avoid violence. If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in your struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.” – Martin Luther King Jr. (1956)

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction … The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.” – Martin Luther King Jr (1963)

During his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, in Stockholm, Sweden, 1964, MLK Jr said:  “One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means. Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

Martin Luther King Jr. was not just a Civil Rights activist, he was also a man of God!

*Anger never produces the desired result, it only further magnifies the problem!*

1 Corinthians 13:4-5

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; (ESV)

Proverbs 3:31

31 Do not envy a man of violence and do not choose any of his ways, (ESV)

2 Famous Fits of Anger in the Bible, that costed people greatly:

Story #1: Cain & Abel! Back to the very beginning of the Bible, we stumble across the first fit of anger, as the first two siblings in the history of humankind have a tragic end to their sibling rivalry:

Ephesians 4:31

31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (ESV)

Genesis 4:1-8

1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.” 2 And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” 8 Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. (ESV)

Story #2: Moses & The Rock! After traveling with a couple of million Israelites for months in the heat of the desert, God’s chosen leader, Moses, finally reached his boiling point after endless complaints.

Numbers 20:2-12

2 Now there was no water for the congregation. And they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. 3 And the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Would that we had perished when our brothers perished before the LORD! 4 Why have you brought the assembly of the LORD into this wilderness, that we should die here, both we and our cattle? 5 And why have you made us come up out of Egypt to bring us to this evil place? It is no place for grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, and there is no water to drink.” 6 Then Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the entrance of the tent of meeting and fell on their faces. And the glory of the LORD appeared to them, 7 and the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 8 “Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So you shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle.” 9 And Moses took the staff from before the LORD, as he commanded him. 10 Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” 11 And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. 12 And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” (ESV)

+ Moses had already endured Israel’s complaints at the Red Sea, their complaints about the free Manna, and the 10 negative reports from the 12 spies at the Promised Land, and here comes another one! This time, the people began protesting over water!

+ God, who always provided, gave Moses specific instructions for their water, but Moses allowed his Anger to take over, and struck the rock twice instead of speaking to it!

+ Moses’ anger, which God called a lack of faith, cost Moses his Promised Land

Moses was instructed to speak, but he chose to strike

Proverbs 18:21

21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. (ESV)

We are living in a time where words are being used to wound like never before! The spirit of anger is speaking through sinners and saints at an alarming rate. People who wear crosses are striking God’s fellow saints with endless accusations and angry words! There is not a week that goes by that I am not managing a verbal conflict!

The number 1 concern of pastors right now in America is not COVID, it’s disunity!

Colossians 4:6

6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (ESV)

Speak Life Challenge: Is it encouraging? Is it graceful? Is it gentle? Is it loving?

Psalm 19:14 “May these words of my mouth [or smartphone] and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock, and my Redeemer.”