Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How Do I Handle My Anger?

When was the last time you were angry? What is it an emotional response in the face of wrongdoing. When many of us think of anger, we don't think of gain, we think of pain. But God created us in His image. He gets angry. We saw Jesus get angry in the New Testament.

We live in the age of rage. Have you run into any of the road rage? Ed Young was flipped off by a woman on the road who was angered by something Ed wasn't even aware he did. What are our faces of anger? Have we faced our anger? "We have to feel our anger and know that it is anger." Do we feel our anger? In John 2, Jesus had just performed His first miracle; "turning H2O into Merlot". Afterwards, He went out to the temple and got angry because people had turned the temple courtyard into a casino. He got angry and look what He did. John 2:15 says Jesus made a whip!! When Jesus saw what was unfolding, He drove everyone from the temple. He scattered their money and overturned their tables. Jesus didn't whip the people. He whipped the animals to drive them out of the temple area. But Jesus didn't just flare up and react, He took time to construct a whip. As He was making the whip, don't you think He was thinking about what He was about to do? Don't you think that He was focusing on what He was going to do?

When we get angry, we should stop and "make a whip". Pray, as we are stewing. Ask the deep questions. What and how should we react to glorify God? Let's ask our selves what emotion is so powerful and potent that causes us to swing (Ed swings on a rope out over the crowd for a visual effect) from fear, insecurity, envy, or something else over to anger?

Think about Jacob. He had twelve sons and did something kind of stupid. He showed favoritism towards the youngest, Joseph. This led the brothers to swing over to anger and to react by selling Joseph into slavery.

Consider the causes of anger. What or who causes anger? The other night, Ed and his family were out in a restaurant and the waitress was just plain rude and angry. Even thought he had just spoken about anger at his church, Ed himself was beginning to get angry. Tempted to fire back at the lady, Ed sat back and began to ask himself some questions and came to the realization that the waitress was angry because of something that was happening in her life. He also remembered that the Bible says to "be angry and do not sin", so he sat back and said a "microwave prayer" for the lady. The check finally came and because Ed is a "slow pay artist" (It's funny here when Ed demonstrates his slow motion speech "Heeerrrreeee, IIII' lllll paaayyyy ffffoooorrrrr tttthhhiissss"), so Ed's friend grabbed the check. "My friend paid in cash and he must have given her this transcendant tip" because the waitress responded with shock and thankfulness. She was taken back by the generosity of Ed's friend. It probably made her day and the last thing she heard from him was "God bless you". God showed Ed the power of responding God's way. When we are angry, explore God's methodology.
A couple of weeks ago, Lisa (his wife) and Ed were in San Jose, CA and they were at the airport. The lady at the counter was short with them and speaking in a very loud voice, "That bag is 3 pounds overweight and that is going to be another $25 dollars!" Seeing that the lady just wasn't having a very good day, Lisa and Ed responded calmly. There was no telling what travelers had said or done to her. Over the next few minutes, the lady gradually calmed down and then cordially directed Lisa and Ed over to the luggage handlers. "The guy that received the luggage goes 'Ed, Lisa! I go to Fellowship Church! It's great to see you!" Ed realized, too, that if they had gotten angry, it would have reflected on the Body of Christ. We, as individuals, have to realize how we hurt the Body when we respond incorrectly when we get angry.

But how should we respond when we are angry? One incorrect way to handle anger is what Ed calls "garage anger". We stack box after box after box after box in the garage and, at some point, we can't get the car in the garage! Then there are those of us who have "volcano anger". We hold it in and then erupt on our family, our kids or our golf partners. So, how do we express, as we need to do, our anger? Well the Bible says we are to sit down and first affirm our relationships. "Honey, I am so glad to be married to you and I am dedicated to you" is an affirmation of the relationship. Once we have affirmed our relationship with the person, negotiate with "I feel" statements. Be sure to GUARD THE VOLUME LEVEL.

Proverbs 29:22 says "An angry man stirs up dissension and a hot-tempered one commits many sins." Hebrews 12:14 says "Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord." This is a supernatural thing from the inside out. We can't do this on our own, but with God and the Holy Spirit, we can. Proverbs 15:1 says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."

Establish resolve. Is this a scheduling problem? Is this a financial situation? Is it a time management problem? Is it a misunderstanding? Release the person. Ed did a series recently on "The Real F Word" referring to "Forgiveness". He built the whole series around a guy who was walking his Doberman one day while Ed was at a gas station. The guy tied his dog up to a park bench while getting something to drink inside a store. A few minutes later, the Doberman was startled and began running towards a busy intersection, dragging the park bench with him. "Oh, no! What is going to happen?...A cataclysmic collision is going to take place before my very eyes" thought Ed. But many of us are like this Doberman. There is a big chain tied to some people and we are dragging them around with us. We are dragging our spouse, our kids, an old boss etc. and we wonder why there is so much wreckage in our lives. "Well, after this park bench had smashed several cars... the owner ran out, grabbed the dog and led him to safety." This is what our Master wants to do with us. He wants to release us and take us to safety. So, where are we?

We during this message, Ed has spelled "Face Anger":

  1. Feel it
  2. Ask some deep questions
  3. Consider the cause
  4. Explore God's Methodology
  5. Affirm the relationship
  6. Negotiate with "I feel" statements
  7. Guard the volume level
  8. Establish resolve
  9. Release the person
Remember this as we face our anger. Make a whip. It will work. God never asks us to do something without giving us some practical steps on how to do it.

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