#608 (25/5/22) GODLY ANGER IS ABOUT THE RIGHT THINGS
‘Love…is not easily angered…’ (1 Corinthians 13:5)
Oftentimes the things that trigger us to anger are, in the cool light of day, not worth it. Our arguments and disputes are often the result of our being tired and stressed rather than about anything substantial! Godly anger is slow - it considers its response. However, godly anger is also about the right things - it considers whether the issue is worth taking issue with! Proverbs reminds us that no response is often the best response:
‘A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.’ (Proverbs 19:11)
1 Corinthians, for example, is Paul’s considered response to the problems in the Corinthian church. His words clearly show that he is angry with their divisiveness, pride, sexual sin, lack of love etc. It’s loving to confront issues, but it must be done in a loving and considered manner. Are we angry about the right things? Are we angry about the things which are of concern to God?
Jesus sets us an example of being angry about the right things. As you will see, Jesus actions were very strong as love must be on occasion:
‘Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’ (Matthew 21:12-13)
Jesus’ anger was right. He was enraged about the right things. People were misusing God’s temple. However, why is this action not breaking the command ‘love is not easily angered’? Firstly, this is not quick anger; this behaviour would have been going on for years. Jesus would have seen this in the past but He chose this moment to act. As He did so He quoted prophecy from Jeremiah (7:11) and Isaiah (56:7), which shows that he is being intentional rather than reactive; anyone who quotes obscure Old Testament prophecy whilst carrying out an act, I suggest, knows what they are doing! This, in fact, is the fulfilment of the prophetic act spoken of by Malachi:
“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap.” (Malachi 3:1-2)
Jesus was angry about the right things and in the right way. He is angry that God’s commands are being broken. He is angry that people are being kept from worship. He is angry that God’s people are in sin. This is not quick anger, this is godly anger.
What are the things that anger us? Are we concerned for the things that are of concern to God? Are we moved for God’s glory and the good of people?
John Maxwell wrote,
“You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.”
I suggest that very few things are worth us getting angry about. We ruin our lives and make ourselves unhappy and ill if we are triggered by everything and make every good cause our good cause. Let’s fill our heads and hearts with truth so as to be patient and kind whilst being considerately angry about the right things.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Do you have any encouragements to share from how God has been speaking to you from His word recently?
3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group
On Sunday, we continued with our series 'Becoming Love' from the book of 1 Corinthians, looking at the next aspect of love.
Please read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Last week we looked at how 'love is not rude or self-seeking'. This week, we are considering the next attribute of Christian love: 'Love…is not easily angered…’
There are innumerable things which tempt us to anger and I’m sure that you have your own list, here are a few examples:
The church community is not doing things as you think they should.
A neighbour whose behaviour is inconsiderate?
A member of the church who does that annoying thing?
A child who will not behave as you would like? They won’t listen to wisdom?
A colleague who is creating a bad atmosphere in the workplace?
Not being appreciated for what you do?
People not turning up for things that you’ve organised and you have made the time for.
You are left out of something - a party, baby shower, being a bridesmaid…
You don’t get the grade you think you deserve or the praise and bonus at a work review.
A car or a bicycle cuts in on you and you are outraged.
War and atrocities in the world - The war in Ukraine, I’m sure, makes us all angry.
Society promoting sinful ideas and practices that we see as harmful.
i. LOVE IS NOT EASILY ANGERED
‘Love’ (Agapé) is to give regardless of merit or demerit and is not dependent upon emotion. This cannot be expressed in uncontrolled outrage! In essence, Christian love is to treat people as God treats us. He doesn't treat us as our sins deserve and He sent His Son to save us.
ii. THERE IS UNGODLY AND GODLY ANGER
We see in the Bible that God does get angry. There is godly and ungodly anger. We can simply be angry about the wrong things. We can be angry about the right things. We can be angry about the right things but in the wrong way. God wants to teach us to deal with anger in the right way and allow it to be a force for good rather than destruction.
iii. GODLY ANGER IS SLOW ANGER
A rocket has the potential of going into space. However, if the energy is let out too quickly, it’s just a big bomb! It's right to be angry about the right things, but this is to be prayerfully and thoughtfully expressed. As James writes:
‘My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.’ (James 1:19-20)
iv. DEFUSE YOUR ANGER
Finally, it's really important, that we go into our day filled with God's peace rather than full of worry and anger. At the beginning of each day, may we do as Paul encourages us:
‘Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 4:4-7)