Turning Over Anger
We would fly apart by centrifugal force it seems, if it were not for that blessed Spirit of God.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? My heart thrills at the realization that many of you answer me back, you’ve told me so. When I pause momentarily for you to answer, then you do say, “Well, I’m fine”, or, “Don’t ask”, or, “I should’ve stayed in bed, or whatever. You know. Well, it’s great that we can talk with each other and be together in heart and in spirit and in the enjoyment of God’s Word in these few blessed moments that are ours day by day. Thanks for being there and thanks for being my friend. I appreciate you.
Well, we’re looking at Mark chapter 3. The Lord Jesus has gone to church. He was a churchgoing person. Let’s you and I follow His blessed example there. He went in and found somebody with a need. And there again, you and I can follow the example of our Lord in looking for folk who have some needs that we may help to meet as we go into God’s house and as we live our lives day by day. And then the last time we got together we stopped the broadcast right at the point where the Lord Jesus was putting the rules having to do with Sabbath keeping — which had been evolved through the tradition of the rabbis through centuries. He was putting those rules into the context of eternal truth and so He says, “Is it right to do good on the Sabbath? Is it right to save life on the Sabbath?”, but they didn’t say anything. There isn’t any answer to a question like that unless you want to put yourself in line with God himself, and obey Him. Well, it says, “He looked round about them on anger”.
Is it ever right to get angry? Oh, of course it is. God gets angry and Paul says, “Be angry and sin not”. I have to remind you that the anger of the Lord Jesus was never directed against people who slighted Him. Most of my anger, it must be admitted, has had something to do with my feelings about people’s treatment of me. Wouldn’t you agree that that’s true of you as well? Somebody snubs you, somebody lies about you, somebody plots to get your job, somebody cuts you off in traffic, some person who’s had too much to drink involves you in an accident — maybe involving injury or even the death of a loved one — and you are angry because of what has happened to you or to those whom you love. Now, that’s perfectly predictable because we’re human beings. But we have to be reminded that if we’re going to follow our blessed Lord, His anger was never caused by what people said or did about Him. Even in that ultimate hour of agony, when He had every right to be angry with those who are unjustly accusing Him and then bringing Him before Herod and before Pilate and then the crucifying Him, and as He hung there in the extreme agony where every nerve and sinew was screaming with agony, He said, “Father forgive them”. He didn’t show any anger about things that were done to Him.
It’s a big lesson, isn’t it? “Vengeance is Mine. I will repay, said the Lord”. “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves”, the Bible says, “because it is written, vengeance is Mine. I will repay said the Lord”. You don’t have to get angry about things that people say and do that affect you. The time to get angry is when there is something said or done that affects the glory of God, and the purpose of God, and the Word of God, and the integrity of God’s testimony. It says, “He looked around about them with anger being grieved for the hardness of their hearts”. Yes, anger. Well, we all experience it. What will you do about it? Well, I have to look inside and see what happens to Bob Cook, because I’ve gotten angry about things. Number one, you identify that anger as to what it really is based upon. I’ve been telling you that most of our anger comes out of the fact that we have been affronted or injured ourselves, or someone dear to us has affronted or insulted or injured. So it is a self-motivated kind of anger for the most part. Alright, what do you want to do about it? Number one: recognize it for what it is. Number two: turn your anger over to the Lord Jesus Christ. Number three: channel your anger into constructive action. Want to talk about that?
Let me give you a story out of my own life. This goes back, I suppose, 20-some years. I was at a hearing having to do with college business and the community. And as I stepped into the room, as I stepped into the room the chairman of that group greeted me. Not with kindness, but with a criticism. He beckoned me up to the desk where he and other members of the committee were seated and he began to work me over. Now, the reason for it and the details of it have long since passed. It’s nobody’s concern. What I’m telling you is that I didn’t think I had this coming. Before he said good evening, he was telling me what was wrong with me and with what I was doing and with what I was trying to accomplish and that I don’t know whether he had a bad day at the office or what, but I got angry. I really did. Now, God was merciful to me in that He kept my mouth shut. That was God’s mercy because I have a quick tongue. But God kept my mouth shut, for which I praise Him — and the incident passed and the evening went on. When I was got home, I was still as angry as could be. My dear wife, Coreen, met me at the door, said, “Well, deary, how’d it go?” I said, “Don’t talk to me. I’m angry,” and I just went on upstairs and went to bed. I don’t remember if I even said my prayers. Well, I woke up about five in the morning, still with anger in me, and began to realize this wasn’t going to work, and so I got up and got dressed and went down the long hall there in the presidents house where we used to live, down to the end of the hall to the little room at the end of the hall where I used to prepare the broadcasts, and in which I did a good deal of praying and meditating, seeking God. So there I was at the end of the hallway in the little room, on the second floor the big white house, and I got down to my knees. I said, “Oh God, I’m angry and I can’t do anything about it. Please, You’ve got to handle this, You’ve got to take care of it”. And I waited before Him and prayed and read the Word and prayed and waited some more. And then after a while — I can’t find words to describe this to you, but maybe those of you who’ve gone through it will recognize the experience — after a while, I began to feel myself cooling-off, so to speak, just as though someone had opened a valve somewhere and the pressure was being relieved. It was like letting the steam out of a pressure cooker and I felt the anger in me being diffused and just cooling-off and disappearing. And then I felt my eyes filling with tears as I prayed and worshiped God — asked Him to control my feelings, and all that. Oh, what a delight to give your feelings to God. Have you learned to do that? Jesus is Lord of all, but that Lordship begins in Philippians chapter 2, with Lordship of your feelings. Comfort, consolation and fellowship within the spirit and so on. Feelings — making Him Lord of your feelings about things and people. Your anger can be managed if you’ll turn it over to Jesus Christ. Anger in itself isn’t a sin, but what you do about it may very well result in damage to others; and grief — grieving the spirit of God. Let the Lord Jesus Christ by His indwelling Holy Spirit manage your anger. Well, as I said, I waited there before the Lord for a while and I found my heart was growing tender and my eyes were wet and my Spirit was submissive and the pressure was gone — and I could pray for this person who had been abusive to me, twelve hours before. Well, you try that for yourself.
Now, the next step is to identify the anger — let Jesus be Lord of it and then take constructive steps to make something out of it. Often times, if you’re angry, for example, at something that has been done wrong in the community, you can take steps to correct it. Simple, because you got upset enough about it to do something. Mothers Against Drunk Driving, for example, is an organization, chiefly of women, obviously, who are angry enough about the damage and death that has come from drunken-driving — that they’re doing something about it. The same thing happened with a pastor of a little church out in the Midwest somewhere who was upset about all the pornographic material that was being pawed over by the children in junior high, youngsters, and high school youngsters at the local stores. And he engaged in a one-man crusade about it. And what do you think? The stores began removing all of that terrible literary sewage from their shelves. If you get angry enough about something that is worth getting angry over, and do something about it, God can use you to change a whole situation. Identify the cause of your anger. Turn it over to Jesus. Do something constructive about it.
Now, husbands and wives, maybe you need just a word about this. We do differ as husbands and wives. Well, I never have an argument but we do have discussions, how about you? Well, in those times when things haven’t been quite so smooth at home, what you do about it? Do you go away and sulk, or what do you do? When you’ve gotten angry and maybe spoken out of turn at home — number one: identify the fact that you’re out of line. Number two: you can say, I’m sorry. And number three: seek the two of you, seek God’s face together. We can’t stay mad very long if you pray sincerely together. Will you remember that? You can’t stay mad at each other very long if you’ll pray sincerely together and invite the blessed Spirit of God to be the bond. Paul says, of perfectness. He’s the one that holds people together. We would fly apart by centrifugal force, it seems, if it were not that the blessed Spirit of God, with the love of God He brings into our lives, holds us together.
Know your anger, even on a home basis, can be identified as what it is. It can be submitted to Jesus and the blessed Spirit of God can get you straightened out. Now, we talk about this some more the next time we get together.
Dear Father today, may we find that Jesus is managing our emotions, including our anger, I ask in His name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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