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It's a Mad, Mad World

posted Aug 2, 2009, 10:03 PM by Website Administrator   [ updated Aug 26, 2009, 6:51 PM ]
Key Passage: Genesis 4:6-7
“It’s A Mad, Mad World”

You know why I’m often on the warpath against so-called Christians who show up every week, listen to the sermon/lesson, worship with no real sincerity and then go home and treat their families like crud? Because I can’t stand “Christians” who profess Christ with their mouths and then deny him with their lifestyles … especially when that lifestyle includes the inability to control / master their anger. You see, OTHER people lose their temper, but we have righteous indignation; OTHER people are jerks, but we’re just having a bad day; OTHER people have a critical spirit, but we’re just telling it like it is; OTHER people gossip, but we just share prayer requests…well, you get the picture. Christian counselor Jay Adams has estimated that sinful anger is involved in 90% of all counseling problems. I’ll say this – in the ten plus years I’ve counseled couples, families and individuals, I’ve yet to run into one crisis that didn’t have at its core someone’s inability to control their anger – and that inability is literally ripping families and marriages apart. It almost did that to my own family and marriage. Now listen … I’m certainly not arrogant enough to claim anger still doesn’t rear its ugly head in our house, but I can honestly say that through hard work and the mercy of Christ, we’ve gotten to the point where our house is one of relative calm, peace and understanding. Whether you’re a teenager, a parent, or somewhere in-between, let’s face facts – “mastering” your anger, as God commands in Genesis 4:6-7, isn’t an option – it’s imperative if we’re to be all He intended.

First, a few facts about anger:

  • One psychological study stated that one out of every five Americans has an anger management issue
  • Anger related violence is the reason stated for 22% of all divorces
  • Studies show that 79% of children have witnessed some form of anger that turned into violence between their parents
When does anger cross the line of acceptable expression and become sinful? Ask yourself the following…
  • Do I use hurtful words that don’t encourage or edify other people? (Ephesians 4:29-32)
  • Do I have angry outbursts and am I quick-tempered? (Proverbs 17:27)
  • Do I seek vengeance or try to retaliate against my offender? (Proverbs 19:11)
  • Do I respond in a manner that is displeasing to God? (Matthew 5:22)

How should we deal with our anger? Though not exhaustive, let me provide a sketchy outline…

  • I need to confess my anger as sin before God, others and myself… (James 5:15-16)
  • I must bow before the sovereignty of God… (1 Peter 5:6-7)
  • Memorize scriptures that deal with anger… (James 1:19-20)
  • Verbalize your angry feelings appropriately… (Proverbs 15:1)
Q: All anger can and must be controlled? Agree / Disagree?
Q: Is it always good to verbalize your anger, or is suppression sometimes sufficient?
Q: My parents taught me that anger is… (For parents – what are you teaching your kids about anger?)

BOTTOM LINE: Much of the dysfunction in contemporary Christian families is rooted in sinful anger. Few tasks in the area of marriage and family life are more important than correcting this widespread anger mismanagement. Also, learning to understand and process anger in a biblical way is an essential step to Christian maturity. It’s part of being a follower of Christ. Christians who fail to handle anger responsibly cannot reflect the holiness or the love of God. When anger is handled properly, relationships are restored, wrongs are righted, and we can sleep at night with a clear conscience – and the people around us can live without fear. Most importantly, how we handle anger will do one of two things: it will either draw others closer to Christ, or drive them further away!