Respectable Sins: Anger | Part 4

Angry Birds

In the last post in this series, I answered the question: How are we supposed to respond when others sin against us? Today I will look at how we show our anger and how we should handle our anger in a God honoring way.

How Do We Show Our Anger?

Different people show their anger differently. Here are three different ways people show their anger:

1. Some externalize their anger with strong emotional responses and hurtful language.
2. Others externalize it by making belittling or sarcastic comments about or to a person who is the object of their anger.
3. Yet others, tend to internalize their anger in the form of resentment.

These are not all the ways people show their anger, but it is a start. With that in mind, let’s answer our second question: How do we handle our anger in a way that honors God?

How Do We Handle Our Anger in a God Honoring Way?

First, recognize and acknowledge our anger as sin.

We cannot deal with anger until we recognize our actions as anger, and recognize that anger is a sin.

Second, ask why we became angry.

Did we become angry because of our pride, selfishness, or desire to be in control? Is there an idol we are protecting?

Third, change our attitude toward the person by forgiving them.

Meditating on Scriptures may help to change your attitude toward the person. Here are a couple I recommend: Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13

Fourth, if our anger was outwardly directed toward someone, we need to ask the person to forgive us. 

We cannot let our anger fester, nor can we allow our sin against another. We must deal with it quickly before it escalates. Anger and unreconciled relationships only cause disunity in the church and hinder our ability to worship God.

Finally, we need to hand over to God the occasion of our anger.

Jerry Bridges says,

“We must believe that God is absolutely sovereign in all the affairs of our lives (both the good and the bad) and that all the words and actions of other people that tempt us to anger are somehow included in His wise and good purposes to make us more like Jesus.” [1]

Questions for Reflection

  1. How do you handle your anger?
  2. Do you recognize your anger as sin?
  3. Are you willing to seek out and ask others forgiveness?

Looking Forward

In the next post in this series, I will talk about why we often get angry at God.

Resources

Post adapted from Jerry Bridges, Respectable Sins, 121-28

[1] Jerry Bridges, Respectable Sins, 126.

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Respectable Sins: Anger | Part 3

Angry Birds

In the last post in this series, I answered the question: What is the cause of sinful anger? Today I will look at how we are to respond when others sin against us.

How to Respond When Others Sin Against Us

When others sin against us, we can respond in one of two ways. We can:

  1. Get angry
  2. We can respond by being mindful of God

Instead of anger, we should be mindful of God. Peter gives this advice to a slave who has an unjust master.

In 1 Peter 2:18-20 he writes,

“Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.”

What does it mean to be mindful of God?

Being mindful of God means that we are to think of God’s will and His glory instead of our will and our glory. Instead of getting angry and blowing up on another, we relax, take a deep breath, and think about our Christian witness. In order to do this we have to see God’s glory as more important than our own.

Admittedly, keeping God’s glory supreme is difficult. For that reason, Jerry Bridges provides a few questions we can ask to keep ourselves mindful of God:

  1. How would God have me respond in this situation?
  2. How can I best glorify God by my response?
  3. Do I believe that this difficult situation or this unjust treatment is under the sovereign control of God and that in His infinite wisdom and goodness He is using these difficult circumstances to conform me more to the likeness of Christ? (see Rom. 8:28; James 1:2-4)

By being mindful of God, we can better deal with our anger when others sin against us. So the next time you are tempted to blow up on another, keep your witness and God’s glory in mind.

Question for Reflection

  1. Are you mindful of God when others sins against you?
  2. Do you have God’s glory in mind or your own pride?
  3. Can you think of a situation where you were mindful of God and it served as an effective witness?

Looking Forward

In the next post in this series, I will talk about how we show our anger.

Resources

Post adapted from Jerry Bridges, Respectable Sins, 121-28

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Respectable Sins: Anger | Part 2

Angry Birds

In the last post in this series, I defined anger, talked about one form of anger, which is righteous anger, and gave an example. Today we move on to sinful anger, discussing its cause.

What is the Cause of Sinful Anger?

Is should be said first that others are not the cause of our anger. No one causes us to be angry. The actions or words of others are just an occasion for anger to surface. The cause of anger is our own pride, selfishness, or desire to be in control.

Examples

It may be helpful to look at a few examples. As we do, help me pick out the underlying cause of anger in each.

Example #1

You agree to come and speak at a gathering at my house this Friday. I have told all my friends you are going to be there, but then when Friday rolls around, the appointment slips your mind and you don’t show up. The next day you call to apologize, and I jump all over you.

What is the cause of my anger? 

The cause of my anger is pride because you made me look bad in front of my friends.

Example #2 

You hear that someone in the church gossiping about you. When you find out whom, you approach them, but instead of approaching them lovingly, you blow up and start yelling.

What is the cause of your anger?

Again, the cause of your anger is pride, which results from your character and reputation being questioned.

Example #3 

At church, there is vote on whether to move the Sunday service time from 11am to 10:30am. When the vote is tallied, you lose, and the service is moved to 10:30am despite your objection. When you realize you lost, you become angry.

What is the cause of your anger?

Your anger could be caused by a number of underlying sins: a desire to be in control, your selfishness, or your pride.

What Does this Tell Us?

This simple exercise tells us our anger, while provoked by others, is not ultimately caused by them. It is caused by our own sinfulness. As well as we learn there are underlying sins – control, selfishness, and pride. It is appropriate to restrain ourselves when provoked, but if we want to kill the sin of anger, we must deal with these other sins as well.

Question for Reflection

  1. What often causes you to become angry? Is it a desire to be in control, selfishness, or pride?

Looking Forward

In the next post in this series, I will provide a way we can respond when others sin against us.

Resources

Post adapted from Jerry Bridges, Respectable Sins, 121-28

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