Last Sunday at the Journey Church Darrin Patrick preached on anger. He's been going through the book of James, and this past week's sermon was taken from the following portion:
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
Here are some notes I took on my iPhone:
Anger can manifest in two ways: shutting down & outward expressions. The exhortation is to be slow to anger. Slowness in anger is right. Exodus 34:6. The phrase "slow to anger" literally means "long of nose," which comes from the idea that anger starts in the gut and eventually makes its way to the face, causing the expression to distort and nostrils to flare. God does get angry, but it takes him a long time. Anger in its purest form has its root in God. You cannot love without anger. Good anger wants elimination of the thing that is hurting the person. Unrighteous anger wants pain and revenge. Source of our anger:
The anecdote to anger is patience.
Anger likes to hide. We may say, "I'm just really impatient. I'm misunderstood. I'm a direct person. I'm frustrated," etc.
Anger hides in our language. Anger hides in our families. We all grew up in a home that dealt with anger a certain way, whether through screaming and throwing things, or pushing down emotions, or even having a time-out session. All strategies in some ways are good, but our anger hides and we perceive these things as normal. Our anger hides in our temperaments. We can be a bottler, or we can be an outward processor. We say, "This is the way I am." We moralize the way we handle anger. It is a sin to never get angry. It is a sin to control anger without dealing with the root. It is a sin to explode in anger.
How do we deal with the source of our anger? What causes us to lose our temper? If we are quiet, we may have a harder time figuring out where our anger comes from. Some people work out to deal with their anger. The ones who push down or "time-out" their anger have a difficult time finding the root of their anger.
Our anger has to do with our devotion. It impacts our emotions. When our devotion is committed to ourselves, it is blocked. God is our first need. He is more than what we are looking for from others.
We need to be quick to hear. We need to study to listen. We cannot pretend to listen. There is a big difference between showing and taking interest.
In the text, our focus is to be on God, not others. When hell breaks out, all other stuff drowns out His voice. We need to stop and listen. Do we need to gripe to God? Not necessarily. Before I speak to God I've already spoken to myself. Be slow to speak, even to yourself. Your words guide your heart.
Don't manage, embrace, etc. your anger. Repent and receive God's Word into it. What does it look like to repent? See his forgiveness for your sin a great thing. As we understand our forgiveness, so we will be able to forgive others.