Seven Deadly Sins: Anger/Wrath (Proverbs)

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MOTIVATE

–        Me

o   Me as a 5 year old playing cards slapping my aunt bc I lost

o   Me as a teenager… sarcastic, competitive, at times disrespectful

o   Me and P.T. at Nate’s house in Florida

o   Me and marriage … constant learning to overcome conflict and communicate respectfully.

  • One man said, “My wife and I promised to never go to bed angry. I’ve been sleeping on the couch since right after our honeymoon.”

o   Me and parenting… constant channeling anger for right and wrong… constant revelation a child’s anger is reflective of parents.

o   Me and ministry … balancing truth in love, leading while loving

o   As you can see, I have 3 problems: Me, Myself, and I. In fact, we all do.

 

EXAMINE       Se7en Deadly Sins                Wrath/Anger             observations & resolutions

Anger is an evaluative response expressed internally or externally at a perceived error or endangerment.

Anger is not respective of persons. Anger is a universal emotion regardless of age, gender, and culture. No one is isolated from the presence of anger or immune from the poison of anger. Anger is a part of every person and a fact of life for every family (Romans 3:23). Even Christian homes and churches can be contaminated by the deadly sin of anger.

◊      Are you an angry person? Do people avoid discussing problems (their own or yours) with you?

◊      Is anger a regularly repeating pattern of communication in your marriage? Is there worry or regret for potential anger when you enter the house after a long day of work?

◊      Do you notice and have unease of the anger in your children or family?

◊      Is anger a common association with being around you and an attribute of your personality?

o   Excuses:

  • “I speak my mind and just tell it like it is.”
  • “I can’t help that others are not as competent as myself.”
  • “I’M NOT AN ANGRY PERSON!!! WHY ARE YOU ASKING IF I’M ANGRY???” 

Proverbs 17:1 “Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.”

 

Anger is represented throughout Scripture.

–        Cain (Gen 4:4-7)

–        Moses (Numbers 20:10-13)

–        David (1Chron 13:11-12)

–        Jonah (Jonah 3:10-4:11)

–        Job’s wife (Job 2) but Job 1:22

–        Psalms 6:3; 10:1; 13; 35:17; 74:10; 77:7-9; 80:4; 82:2; 89:46; 94:3; 119:84

–        Paul with Peter and also John Mark, but both later reconciled

–        Jesus turning over tables in the temple (John 2)

–        Jesus (Matthew 21:12-13 temple cleansing; Mark 3:4-5 Pharisees challenging Jesus’ healing on sabbath; Mark 8:12 Jesus sighing deeply at Pharisee’s questioning; Mark 8:32-33 Jesus’ rebuking Peter for wanting to remove Jesus’ death on the cross; John 11:33-38 Jesus’ emotion at the death of a loved one).

o   Jesus’ anger was motivated by God’s glory and not selfish gain.

o   Jesus’ anger was meek and controlled, not irrational emotion.

o   Jesus’ anger was measured with a circumstance and context, not enduring with brooding and bitterness.

o   Jesus’ anger was marked with accomplishing God’s will.

o   Jesus alleviated God’s wrath through His death on the cross (Rom 3:25)

◊      The Bible is relevant in teaching truth about God and all of life’s deepest issues. Your reading of Scripture is never a waste. 

 

Anger is reflected by God

There are some who attempt to contrast the OT and NT perspective of God, saying the OT God is wrathful and the NT God is loving. However, such generality is unhelpful. The OT shows God as both holy and judging of sin, while also being a God of grace and blessing. Likewise, the NT continues the revelation of God through the sending of the Son, Jesus Christ. In Christ is God’s expression of both holiness in the incarnation and love in the life of Jesus, as well as God’s judgment on sin through Jesus’ death and resurrection. God’s wrath and judgment on sin was the most loving act He accomplished.

Therefore, if one proposes a God who never gets angry then they are also missing a God who is loving. God is angry because He is defending His glory, and His claim upon His people.

Proverbs 6:16-19 “There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. Proverbs 24:12 “If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?” Proverbs 11:4 “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.” Proverbs 11:23 “The desire of the righteous ends only in good; the expectation of the wicked in wrath.”

Exodus 20:4-6 God “is a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

Psalm 7:11 “God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.”

Nahum 1:2, 6-8 “The Lord is a jealous and avenging… and wrathful God… Who can stand before his indignation? Who can endure the heat of his anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken into pieces by him. The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. But with an overflowing flood he will make a complete end of the adversaries, and will pursue his enemies into darkness.”

Romans 1:18 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men”

Romans 2:5-6 “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.”

J.I. Packer, Knowing God, 151 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.”

◊      Understanding God’s wrath/anger should lead us to holiness; love God, hate sin (Heb 12:5-6).

◊      Understanding God’s wrath/anger should lead us to happiness; praise for His rescue & salvation.
Anger reveals our heart.
Like every sin, anger is a heart issue. The author of Proverbs reminds us that all the issues of life start in the heart (Prov 4:23). Further, Proverbs points out that wrath/anger is a controlling power over one’s life. Anger reveals our need for intervention and rescue, which only the gospel of forgiving grace and formative truth can accomplish.

Proverbs 27:4 “Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?”

Provers 25:28 “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”

Proverbs 29:22 “A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression.” 

Jesus echoed the same view that anger arises from the heart and can be equated with external sin such as slander or murder (Matt 5:21-22, 15:18-20; Mark 7:20-23; Luke 6:43-45).

–        Our mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.

–        Our external behavior is indicative of what we internalize (read, watch, listen, etc.)

James 4:1-2 “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.”

–        Anger is a hardwired emotion that God gave to us for our good to preserve what is right and fair, and to protect ourselves from harm.

–        Yet, our anger is seldom used holy and helpful purposes.

o   We use anger as a proclamation of our desires, demands, devotions. And when these are not met we punish.

o   We use anger as an explosive power to pulverize those who do us wrong or threaten us.

o   Anger often perverts our ability to discern reality and implement wisdom or a rational response. Our perspective becomes manipulated by our selfishness and outwardly we are perceived either as a maniac or a fool.

o   Anger can grow to be an addiction that likes to hide and deny any self-problems, but needs higher doses and frequency, so our rants surge and our rage intensify.

James 1:19-20 “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

Frustration or Fear:

Who has the power to make me frustrated or afraid?

What makes me get frustrated or afraid?

When do I feel frustrated or afraid?

Where do I get frustrated or afraid?

Why do I feel frustrated or afraid?

How do I express my frustration or fear?

Hurt/ Threat of Hurt/ Injustice

Who or What has hurt me in the past that may cause me to be angry with them?

What injustice do I see that may stir my anger?

Learned/ Modeled

Who shows anger around me?

Where do I see others get angry?

What do I do when I see anger?

How do I feel when I see anger?

 

Anger is bad for your heart. Anger & Health[1]

–        High blood pressure

–        Heart disease or attacks

–        Churning stomach

–        Constant edginess

–        Sleepless due to steaming, stewing, scheming

 

è Our hearts need rescued. Proverbs 19:19 “A man of great wrath will pay the penalty, for if you deliver him, you will only have to do it again.”

 

Anger can be repressed or released.

Each person deals with anger differently.

–        Blow Up Anger

o   Proverbs 14:17 “A man of quick temper acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated.”

o   Proverbs 19:12 “A king’s wrath is like the growling of a lion, but his favor is like dew on the grass.”

o   Proverbs 20:2 “The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion; whoever provokes him to anger forfeits life.”

o   Proverbs 29:11a “A fool gives full vent to his spirit”

 

–        Clam Up Anger

o   Proverbs 19:13 “A foolish son is ruin to his father, and a wife’s quarrelling is a continual dripping of rain.”

o   Proverbs 26:24 “Whoever hates disguise himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart.”

o   Proverbs 27:15 “A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike”

 

Anger can be resolved.
The key point to know is that anger does not have to be a deadly sin. Anger can be conquered through the power of the gospel. A person who experiences salvation gains a new heart, with new affections and attitudes. God’s salvation and Spirit challenges us not to live in fleshly desires of “enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions…” but instead to walk by the Spirit in “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:19-23).  

Proverbs provides several principles for avoiding anger and aligning with God’s path for our emotions.

Proverbs 14:35 “A servant who deals wisely has the king’s favor, but his wrath falls on one who acts shamefully.”

Proverbs 16:14 “A king’s wrath is a messenger of death, and a wise man will appease it.”

Proverbs 16:32 “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”

Proverbs 21:14 “A gift in secret averts anger, and a concealed bribe, strong wrath.”

Proverbs 22:24-25 “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.”

 

Summary principles:

è Anger must be admitted. We must never be too prideful to think that our ways and perceived rights are better than someone else’s. Supremely, we must learn humility with our words and deeds. Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Proverbs 21:2 “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.”

è Anger must be analyzed. We must discern the source of our anger. When we can identify the source of our anger we realize our heart idols that need confessed and repented. Identifying our anger source can also be humbling as we realize how selfish and much of an ego and pride we may have. Analyzing our anger helps us to be “slow to anger”. Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

Proverbs 15:18 “A hot tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.” Proverbs 19:11 “Good sense makes one slow to anger and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 29:8 “Scoffers set a city aflame, but the wise turn away wrath.” Proverbs 29:9 “If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.” Proverbs 29:11 “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.”

o   Anger must be aimed appropriately. The target of our anger should not be at people but at problems. In other words, anger of itself is not sinful but the aim of our anger must be channeled correctly. Proverbs 14:29 “Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.” Psalm 4:4-5 “In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord.” Ephesians 4:26 “Be angry [in your anger[2]], do not sin… and give no opportunity to the devil”

  • John Crysostom “He that is angry without cause, sins. He that is not angry when there is cause, sins.”[3]
  • Anybody can be angry, but we must be angry for the right purpose, at the right time, at the right things, to the right degree (adapted from Aristotle quote).

 

APPLY/THINK

è If anger is a deadly sin for you, admit and analyze your heart idols. What’s the root cause? What are you defending with more feeling and passion than your faith in Jesus Christ?

è If anger is causing you to stew, steam, scheme, or even consider suicide, then sit still. Realize God is in control of the entire world. Your anger will change nothing. Trust God to fight your battles. Psalm 37:7-8 “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret- it leads only to evil.”

  • We must not attribute anger to God for assuming His ignorance or injustice. God is wholly sovereign, wise, good, and fair to all that He does (Gen 50:20; Job 1-2; 38-42; Psalm 37; 115:3; Rom 8:28-29; Revelation 16:7). Yet, God permits and perhaps invites our questions of faith (Habakkuk 1:1-4, 1:12-2:1; 3:18-19; Psalm 13; 77…)
  • “How long, O Lord” (Psalms 6:3; 13; 35:17; 74:10; 80:4; 82:2; 89:46; 94:3; 119:84)

 

è God’s anger against our sin is alleviated in the cross. His wrath was poured out on Jesus so that we can be forgiven, freed from anger to have peace and joy.

 

 

 

[1] http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/features/how-anger-hurts-your-heart

[2] Paul is not giving a command to be angry but a concession for how to aim your anger. See Robert Jones, Uprooting Anger: Biblical Help For A Common Problem, p.181-184.

[3] Quote heard in sermon by Time Keller, “The Healing of Anger” accessed: http://www.gospelinlife.com/the-healing-of-anger-5384

 

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