Anger Managment

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Anger is one of the most powerful emotions we can feel. And its universal. We all get angry. And its not a result of fallen humanity, God gets angry:
1 Kings 11:9 NASB 2020
9 Now the Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice,
Jesus got angry:
Mark 3:5 NASB 2020
5 After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.
So is anger sinful? Well not necessarily.
It can be a sin to be angry. It can not be a sin to get angry. It can be be sinful NOT to be angry.
so when is anger sinful? And can non-sinful anger become sinful?

Lets answer that first question: When is anger sinful?

Anger is sinful when its manifestation is unjustified by the cause.
This is known as having a short fuse and it is what the Bible warns us about again and again.
Psalm 37:8 NASB 2020
Cease from anger and abandon wrath; Do not get upset; it leads only to evildoing.
Proverbs 14:29 NASB 2020
One who is slow to anger has great understanding; But one who is quick-tempered exalts foolishness.
Proverbs 15:18 NASB 2020
A hot-tempered person stirs up strife, But the slow to anger calms a dispute.
Proverbs 22:24 NASB 2020
Do not make friends with a person given to anger, Or go with a hot-tempered person,
Proverbs 29:22 NASB 2020
An angry person stirs up strife, And a hot-tempered person abounds in wrongdoing.
Ecclesiastes 7:9 NASB 2020
Do not be eager in your spirit to be angry, For anger resides in the heart of fools.
James 1:19 NASB 2020
You know this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Now everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger;
notice in all these verses the problem is not anger in itself, the problem is the “quick to anger”.
There are many perfectly good reasons to be angry and when the reason to be angry is sufficient this is called Indignation.
indignation is often called “righteous anger” because the anger is appropriate to its cause.
The problem with many people is that they get angry over things which are not supported to lead to anger.
This may be a spiritual problem within the person or it maybe physiological. Their body goes into a fight or flight response when it’s not necessary.
And since they can’t “flight” because it’s their job or their family, their only other option is”fight” and so anger manifests itself.
In this a person either needs deliverance from spiritual bondage or they need to see their GP if it’s not spiritual.
High levels of Cortisol, our stress hormone, can lead to anger issues.
getting angry at trivial things will ruin you.
slow driver, your spouse forget the milk, your favourite pants haven’t been ironed…
Any time you get angry over something that does not involve deliberate malice or evil or hurtful deliberate intent is unrighteousness, unjustified, sinful anger.

But what about legitimate anger?

What about when our anger is totally justified?
Well even then the bible cautions us:
Ephesians 4:26 NASB 2020
Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,
Notice we are not told not to be angry, in fact we are told to literally “Be angry”.
Indignation at hurt, injustice, betrayal, being wronged is a normal and not a sinful reaction.
However, we are allowed to “be angry” but we must not allow that anger to manifest sinful reactions.

So the big question now is: How?

How can I be angry and yet not sin?
We are going to need a real life, biblical case study.
We need to find a biblical example of a person who had every right to be angry, to be furious in fact, and yet who managed NOT to sin.
And for this case study we need look no further than Jesus Christ own earthly family: Mary and Joseph.
Matthew 1:18 NASB 2020
18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be pregnant by the Holy Spirit.
Lert me tell you the problem with this story: We are overly familier with it and we know how it ends.
It goes on in the next verse and says:
Matthew 1:19 NASB 2020
19 And her husband Joseph, since he was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.
Here is the problem:
You know Mary is innocent of adultery. I know Mary is innocent of adultery.
But Joseph does not.
Joseph, at this point, does not suspect that Mary cheated on him, he KNOWS for a fact that Mary cheated on him.
From his point of view this woman who he loves has done the worst thing to him.
She hurt him, betrayed him, embarrassed him and wronged him.
It does not say anything in the text but it safe to assume Mary tried to explain the truth to him.
“I did not cheat Joseph, God impregnated me”.
Ja right.
Now she adds insult: She lies to him, insults his intelligence and mocks the Holy God of Israel.
You see, you and I know none of this true, but Joseph does not.
And he, as you would expect: Is furious!
Now i hear you say: Pastor, it does not say that Joseph was furious in the text.
Well actually church, it does and i will show you in a moment.
So with all this pain, hurt and anger inside him, what does Joseph do?

Lets read the next verse as this is the key:

Matthew 1:20 NASB 2020
20 But when he had thought this over, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
Look at the first line of this verse:
“He thought it over”.
These 4 english words are actually a single word in the origional inspired greek.
En-Thum-o is the greek word and oh boy is it an interesting word.
It is only used twice in the whole bible.
Understanding this word is VITAL.
En-thum-o is a compound word, which means it 2 words that have been joined together.

Let us look at the second word first:

Thumos is where we get our english word Thermo and what does thermo mean? Heat.
In the greek it means literally “Burning wrath”.
That is what Joseph felt in response to what he believed Mary did.
He was, as expected, burning with wrath and anger.
Literally he is like a thermo-nuclear bomb that can go off any moment.
His anger is not sinful because it is justified, BUT if his anger explodes it can cause pain, destruction and devastation all around him - and THAT is sinful.
So what does he do?
Well as i said its a compound work, one is Thu-mos” but attached to it is the preposition: “En-”.
The full greek word in “En-Thum-o”.
I will tell you what en means in a moment but first allow me an illustration:
Imagine i brought a mean, angry, vicious, hungry junk yard dog in right now.
That God represents Thum-o’s wrath.
What will happen if i let that dog loose in this church?
It will attack and leave pain, death, destruction and devastation all over.
Now you may just say: Pastor dont bring the dog in.
Ok, but thats like saying to Joseph: “Oh just dont get angry”.
No, he cant help his anger - its justified anger.
Joseph wrath, like the vicious dog has to stay for now.
So if i cant get rid of the dog and it has to be here - How on earth can i stop it from attacking people?
There is only one way: Tie it up with a chain.
If i tie it up with a chain, then its still here, its still real, its still dangerous and its still viceous: BUT chained up it cannot hurt anyone.
Now lets go back to En-thum-o.
Thumo = heated wrath.

En means:

SHOW PIC from Lexham Greek dictionary:
En means “A fixed position in space, time and state”.
As a preposition is simply means that the object is placed in a fixed, unmovable position in space, time or state.
Joseph, knowing the destruction his wrath could cause: Chains it up. He fixes it in a state where he can what?
Matthew 1:20 NASB 2020
20 But when he had thought this over, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
Where he can think clearly, rationally and logically about what just happened to him.
He recognises his anger and even though its justified, he does NOT let it run and bite people: He chains it up, he fixes it in time and space.
He does not make any decisions, he makes no verbal reaction, he righteously and justly ties this beast down until he knows what to do next.
There is an old saying that is so true: Never make a decision while you are angry.
En-Thumos therefore as a whole word means: To compare and consider a choice carefully.
Joseph has a choice to make: Let his thumos out and publicly divorce Mary who will likely be stones for adultery.
Or tie the thumos down and make a decision that in 10 years time, when the anger is gone, he will not regret for the rest of his life.
That is how we:
Ephesians 4:26 NASB 2020
26 Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,


Intestinally we are also told: Dont let the sun go down on your wrath.
Now this does not simply mean dont be angry by the end of the day.
Yes, always do your best to deal with issues asap after a fight or argument. yes.
But its not a literal sentence, its a figure of speech.
Look at Joseph:
What? Was he supposed to get over the betrayal and hurt by supper time?
Of course not, its a figure of speech: One we still use to this day.
If i were to say: “I always wanted to be a rugby player, but im afraid the sun has gone down on that dream.”
What does that mean?
It just means that I am too late. The opportunity has passed.
Well in this verse God is saying: Do not let your anger loose, do not let the dog loose because it will bite people and then its too late to tie it up.
Do not let your anger, even justified anger, cause you to say things, do things, decide things that cannot be undone.
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