Freedom From Carnal Anger

Freedom From Carnal Anger

Chapter Eleven

Freedom From Carnal Anger
Destructiveness Of Carnal Anger 79 Power Of a Righteous Indignation 82
Character Of Righteous Anger 80 Discussion Questions 83
Psychological Understanding Of Anger 81    

Ephesians 4:26, Ephesians 4:31; Luke 9:51-56

Destructiveness Of Carnal Anger

University studies show that a man will get angry, on the average, about 6 times a week, and a woman about three times a week under the same conditions. Men are more likely to get angry at inanimate objects, whereas women get angry at other people because of a real or imagined slight.

There is a right kind of anger and there is a wrong kind of anger. Most anger is carnal and motivated by basically selfish considerations. However, our two texts in today's Bible reading (Ephesians 4:26, Ephesians 4:31) show the possibility of exercising a righteous anger, but even this anger must be carefully controlled.

Declared the distinguished minister, Clarence E. MaCartney, "Anger is one of the most common sins, yet one of the most dangerous and injurious to the peace and well-being of man. More than any other sins, it blasts the flower of friendship, turns men out of Eden, destroys peace and concord in the home, incites to crime am violence, and turns love am affection into hatred."

It has been shown by some scientists that anger can cause ulcers, arthritis, indigestion, partial blindness, and a variety of other physical problems.

The Bible speaks of at least two kinds of anger. There is the lighting-quick, agitated outburst of temper ('Thumos'), what we might call 'flying off the handle'. There is also the more subtle, abiding, revengeful type of anger that results in nursing grudges ('Orge'). It is more lasting and devasting in nature. Anger is dangerous because it can motivate one to dangerous action. Most anger is born out of deep insecurity and is evidence of an unsurrendered ego.

The answer to controlling anger is found in surrendering the anger to the Spirit's control, "Many of the forces which consume men – like anger – must themselves be consumed by something more powerful. Only the purifying fire of the Holy Spirit is capable of devouring the driving forces that devour us and waste our lives. There is only one answer – turn your anger and your life over to Christ." (Robert Andrews: quote from a sermon)

James and John were called sons of thunder in their early lives, for they apparently were often filled with anger. Even as followers of Christ they found themselves wanting God to exercise His divine powers to destroy God-rejecters (Luke 9:51-56). But Jesus cleansed and rechanneled their anger and the day came when they were love-filled disciples. John is now known, not as a 'son of thunder', but as the 'Beloved Disciple'!

"Father, many times I have felt the turmoil of inner anger, and have seen that anger either well up into outrage or harden into a bitter grudge. a God, cleanse me from all carnal anger. Re-channel my anger into constructive channels of expression, and may my anger be motivated by unselfish considerations and focused on righteous causes. Through the cleansing power of Christ. Amen."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: My anger can be a powerful force for either good or evil causes. I will allow the Holy Spirit to use my anger for His holy cause!

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Mark 2:14-16

Character Of Righteous Anger

"Our capacity to love the good, determines our capacity to hate the evil. But note that it is our virtue that is to be lashed into a rage – rot our pride, our hurt egoism, our fears. There is all the difference in the world between the two: one is harnessed to higher ends, hence constructive; the other is harnessed to the ends of a wounded self, and hence destructive. The one is a righteous anger, and the other is unrighteous." (Abundant Living; E.S. Jones: pg. 50)

Righteous anger is motivated by unselfish considerations. "Jesus Christ never spoke one angry word when he was personally mistreated – not even at Calvary, when he was unjustly put to an excruciating death as a common criminal. His indignation was aroused only over wrong done to others, particularly the weak and helpless." (How To Be Good – And Mad: Christianity Today: Muly 19, 1968: pg. 4)

Righteous anger is properly focused and directed. Righteous anger "is directed not against persons, wrong though they be, but against wrong deeds, things, institutions, am situations." (Ibid)

Righteous anger seeks positive and constructive action to end the wrong that occasioned the anger.

"We do not see the vital point, 
That 'tis the eighth most deadly sin, 
To wail, 'The world is out of joint', 
And not attempt to put it in." (Ibid)

As Christians we are "duty bound, not merely to protest against whatever evils prevent human beings from reaching their full God-intended stature, but to do all in our power to end such evils… It is always characteristic of righteous anger that it not only protests but also proposes, that it not only raises its voice to object but also raises its hand to remedy." (Ibid)

Let's not forget that Jesus was angry with a holy indignation on occasion (Mark 3:1-6: John 2:14-16). The apostle Paul was angry on one occasion with the apostle Peter because the latter betrayed the basic principle of 'salvation by faith', curl attempted to bind Gentile converts with Jewish law (Galatians 2:11-16).

When Abraham Lincoln, as a young man, saw "the slave market at New Orleans for the first time, he is reported to have said, 'Let's get out of this, boys. If I ever get any chance to hit this thing, I'll hit it hard.'" (Ibid)

Aristotle once said, "Anyone can become angry: it is easy. But to be angry with the right person to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not easy!"

"Father, help me not to sit back, passively observing wrong practices around me, inwardly seething with anger because of them, but actively doing nothing to rid society of evil institutions. Stimulate a holy anger within me, and harness that anger to high and holy causes. For the sake of Christ's kingdom. Amen."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: By God's grace, I will not only raise my voice to object to evil, but will raise my hand to help eliminate evil!

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John 2:14-16

Psychological Understanding Of Anger

All human beings experience anger, for it is a basic emotion with which we are born.

Perverted anger is stored in what can be called the 'slush fund' of our subconscious mind. I once heard a psychiatrist outline the following as inadequate ways of dealing with anger: (1) Putting it down – saying anger is really not there. (2) Putting it off – delayed response in dealing with anger. (3) Putting it on – 'Scapegoating' or using someone else to vent one's anger upon. (4) Diluting it – feeling anger but diluting it to make it less intense. (5) Freezing it – removing one's self from what he feels, attempting to freeze his feelings.

Anger is a basic emotion which must be dealt with, rather than denied. If one can't feel anger, then one cannot feel love intensely. One must feel all his emotions or none of them. To negate anger is to negate love.

It is true that anger varies in degrees of responses and in kinds. Anger many times is expressed towards people whom one considers important in his life.

There is what one might call 'cold anger' and 'warm anger'. Cold anger is sinful and ungodly and very hurtful, for it cares nothing for the person, and undermines and destroys relationships. Cold anger can be unexpressed and thus turned inwardly, resulting in bitterness and malice.

'Warm anger' is heal thy and is the kind of anger God Himself expresses. Little time elapses between the stimulus (anger) and the expression (proper treatment with the subject). There is no vindictiveness, and there is a willingness to listen to the other person's responses and viewpoints. In this anger there is a warm emotional exchange in an atmosphere of self-control. There is no exchange of malicious words and there is no coercion. There is no grudge-carrying. This anger is short-lived, and it results in a cleansing effect in loving relationships. It is followed by forgetting and forgiving, and results in increased confidence between the parties involved. Warm anger builds relationships and is an expression of love. It is reaction against the bad things in a loved one, and it works for the removal of that which is hindering the fuller development of the loved one.

Jesus' anger was always a 'warm anger'; He was always seeking to bring conviction out of complacency; to bring insight out of spiritual blindness; to restore righteousness where evil was rampant!

"Heavenly Father, deliver me from oversensitivity and touchiness which oftentimes become the bridgehead for sin – the sin of carnal anger. Let me be so enraptured by your love that I will be oblivious to the hurts and insults others inflict upon me. Unleash my anger in defense of the weak and oppressed, rot in defense of my own rights. In Jesus' name."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: He who is able to control his anger is stronger than he who can control an entire city!

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Matthew 23:1-39

Power Of a Righteous Indignation

Although it must be admitted that most of our anger is carnal and self-centered, there is a great need for the expression of Spirit- controlled anger. Writes A.. Powell Davies: "That is one of the truly serious things that has happened to the multitude of so-called ordinary people, They have forgotten how to be indignant. This is rot because they are overflowing with human kindness, but because they are morally soft and compliant. When they see evil and injustice, they are pained but not revolted. They mutter and mumble, they never cry out. They commit the sin of rot being angry. Yet their anger is the one thing above all others that would make them count. If they cannot lead crusades, or initiate reforms, they can at least create the conditions in which crusades can be effectual and reforms successful. The wrath of the multitude could bring back decency and integrity into public life; it could frighten the corrupt demagogue into silence and blast the rumormonger into oblivion. It could give honest; leaders a chance to win." (Christianity Today; July 19, 1968; How To Be Good – And Mad; pg. 4)

Should we not, as believers, be angry against a situation that allows a liquor traffic which is taking thousands of lives and destroying thousands of homes?

Should we not, as believers, be angry because of millions of unborn babies being aborted, made possible because of the selfish agreements made between consenting women and consenting doctors – all in the name of 'personal rights'?

Should not Christians be angry because of violence and sexual exploitation on television?

Do not Christians have a right to be angry because of the widespread disregard for the Lord's Day, with so many today making Sunday a holiday instead of a holy day?

Jesus was both grieved and angry because of the hardness of men's hearts. Should rot Christians be angry for the same reasons?

Frederick Robertson was one of the greatest preachers of the 19th century. His biographer writes of him: "The indignation with which he heard of a base act was so intense that it rendered him sleepless. His wrath was terrible, and it did rot evaporate in words. But it was Christ- like indignation. With those who were weak, crushed with remorse, fallen, his compassion, long-suffering and tenderness were as beautiful as they were unfailing. But falsehood, hypocrisy, the sin of the strong against the weak, stirred him to the very depths of his being." (Ibid)

"Father, don't let me be complacent in a world where evil abounds. Help me to put in motion those movements which will result in healing society's wounds. Help me to exercise terrible anger against sin but a tender compassion towards sinners. In Jesus' name. Amen."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: My vision of spiritual degradation will cause my heart to break with a tender compassion for sinners and my soul to kindle with a holy wrath against sin!

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Discussion Questions On 'Freedom From Carnal Anger'

  1. How do you distinguish between carnal anger and righteous anger?

  2. What are some of the harmful effects of carnal anger, both socially and physically?

  3. Describe and define the two kinds of anger of which the Bible speaks.

  4. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: "Most anger is born out of deep insecurity and is evidence of an unsurrendered ego."

  5. What is one of the primary answers to controlling anger in one's life?

  6. Will God destroy anger or simply re-channel and cleanse anger in the life of the believer when the Holy Spirit does His sanctifying work in the life of the believer?

  7. List at least three characteristics of righteous anger.

  8. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: "It is always characteristic of righteous anger that it not only protests but also proposes, that it not only raises its voice to object but also raises its hand to remedy."

  9. Give examples from the life of Christ when Christ manifested anger, and describe the distinguishing characteristics of his anger that made it righteous rather than carnal.

  10. Do you agree with Aristotle's statement: "Anyone can become angry; that is easy. But to be. angry with the right person to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not easy!"

  11. Name and describe five inadequate ways, from a psychological viewpoint, to deal with anger.

  12. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: "Anger is a basic emotion which must be deal t with, rather than denied. If one can't feel anger, then one cannot feel love intensely."

  13. What is the difference between 'cold anger' and 'warm anger' and describe the characteristics of both.

  14. Why is oversensitivity oftentimes the bridgehead for sin – the sin of carnal anger?

  15. What are some of the moral and social situations in our present world that ought to be the occasion for inciting righteous indignation in the hearts of sincere Christians?

  16. Do you agree with the following statement: "Spiritual maturity can largely be measured by the degree that one's heart is able to break with a tender compassion for sinners while at the same time his soul is able to be kindled with a holy wrath against sin!"

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