Month 4:1, Rosh Chodesh, Year:Day 5940:89 AM|
2Exodus 3/40, Yovel - Year 50/50
Omer Count - Day-After-7th Sabbath #23
Gregorian Calendar: Tuesday 5 July 2016
Rosh Chodesh IV
A Word on Anger
Chag sameach Rosh Chodesh kol beit Yisrael and mishpachah - may the grace and shalom (peace) of Yah'shua (Jesus) our Messiah be upon you all from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the land of diaspora of the tribe of Zebulon in diaspora. Our special greeting today is therefore for the Dutch qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones) and for their offspring in South Africa and Namibia. And the message today is primarily for angry people and for those who called to minister to them.
Do We Serve an Angry God?
One of the excuses made by those wanting to turn - or having already turned - their back on Yahweh is that He is an 'angry God' and therefore more human (negatigvely-speaking) than Divine. Invariably they regard themselves as more 'spiritual' than the Deity whom they assume was created out of thin air by some scheming power-hungry and manipulating priesthood or religious class. But what exactly is anger as defined by Scripture? And is the charge levelled against Elohim (God) even valid?
What is Anger?
Let's first of all look at anger generically. What is it? Scripture likens it to fire that consumes, sometimes smoldering - eating slowly away at its substrate, sometimes white hot and violently and rapidly destroying. Everyone agrees that anger is a passion and arguably, of all the human passions, it may well be the most 'passionate'. Why? Because it has the power to fuel hatred and smother even ahavah (love).
Anger Alone is Morally Neutral
Scripture nowhere says that anger in and of itself is evil. It is, taken in isolation, morally neutral. So when Deity gets angry it does not logically follow that it is bad. What makes anger moral or immoral is its object, the motive behind it and the potentially destructive consequences.
Defining Ungodly Anger
So what, in terms of scriptural definitions, constitutes unrighteous, ungodly, bad or evil anger? Anger that is self-righteous, anger that protects our pride, or anger that demands its own way. This kind of anger is positively dangerous. If allowed to continue unchecked, it will eventually come to the boil, as it were, consuming and destroying the person filled with it.
Anger as Vengeful Destroyer
This kind of negative anger seeks harm and revenge. It's object is to destroy. And thus it can lead to bitterness and hatred, emotions that can cause violent behaviour, obliterating compassion and forgiveness.
Godly Anger Against Sin
Elohim's (God's) anger is never directed in this way, but solely against sin and unrighteousness. He 'blazes hot' against evil. His anger, like ours, becomes a consuming fire, but its focus is to eradicate the sin, not destroy the sinner. Human anger often consumed others and even ourselves because we lack the discernment, discipline and empowerment to make the proper divine distinctions.
Godly Anger as Purifying Agent
When Yahweh's anger burns it is always against evil and becomes a cleansing fire. It purifies. In contradistinction, the fires of unbridled human anger have a tendency to aggravate our sinfulness and self-righteousness. Yahweh's anger burns away sinfulness and allows the gold of perfection emerge, making us fit for the Master's use.
The Common Causes of Anger
What are the commonest causes of anger?
In other words, we get angry when we are confronted about our sinful actions and are exposed.
The Consequences of Anger
- 1. When we are made to look like fools (Num.22:29) which hurt our pride;
- 2. When someone else is acknowledged over us (2 Chr.26:15-21);
- 3. When others refuse to show us respect when we think it is due us (Est.3:1-6);
- 4. When we don't get our own way (1 Sam.18:8);
- 5. When we become jealous of what others have or have done (1 Ki.22:15-27).
What are the effects or consequences of anger?
Things to Avoid When Angry
- 1. It isolates us from others who are frightened or repelled by us (Gen.27:41-43);
- 2. It leads to envy which in turn only leads to harm (Ps.37:8);
- 3. It produces ungodliness and evil motives in us (Jas.1:19-20);
- 4. It blinds us to what is really good and right. King Saul's jealous anger blinded him to the fact that Yahweh had already chosen David to be the next king because of his godly character (1 Sam.20:30-31);
- 5. It can lead, in its strongest form, to murder, and like pride from which it issues, is rightly described therefore as an element in the 'spirit of murder' (Gen.4:1-12); and
- 6. It leads to conflict and arguments (Prov.15:1).
What should we avoid when we are angry?
- 1. Avoid disciplining in the heat of anger (2 Cor.2:5-7; Eph.6:4);
- 2. Avoid speaking your mind when you are angry because you are bound to say something you will regret (Jas.3:5); and
- 3. Avoid acting on impulse in the heat of anger because you are bound to do something you will regret (1 Sam.19:9-10)
When is it acceptable to be angry?
A Proper Response to Anger
- 1. Anger at sin is not only appropriate but necessary (Jn.2:13-17; Num.25:10-11).
We all get angry at times, so what should we do about it?
Protecting the Family Against Anger
- 1. Like a poisonous snake in the house, don't feed it to encourage it to stay, but rather get rid of it as soon as possible (Eph.4:26);
- 2. Confront those whom you are angry with in order to restore your relationship (Mt.5:21-26); and
- 3. Use ahavah (love) as your weapon to overcome anger (1 Cor.13:5).
Never provoke your family to anger.
What to Expect When Yahweh is Angered
- 1. To deliberately and knowingly provoke your family to anger consumes the binding force of ahavah (love) that bonds your family together. The control you actually seek enslaves you, for those you sought to lead will leave you to your own devices (Prov.11:29; Eph.6:4).
What causes Yahweh to get angry?
Restoring Relationship When Yahweh is Angry
- 1. Yahweh cannot wink at (ignore) or tolerate sin, for sin is a violation of His righteousness and His demands for qadosh (holy, set-apart) living (Rom.1:18; Dt.4:25); and
- 2. Yahweh's anger at our sin may result in discipline which is designed, not to destroy, but to correct and redirect (Judg.2:12-14).
How can I stop Yahweh's anger against me?
Yahweh is Very Slow to Anger
- 1. By becoming humble - humility quences His burning anger (2 Chr.12:12); and
- 2. Recognise His discipline, stop your sinful actions, and enjoy a restored relationship with Him (Ps.30:5).
Finally, remember this:
Comparing Satan's Anger
"Yahweh is merciful and gracious; He is SLOW to get angry and full of unfailing ahavah (love). He will not constantly accuse us nor remain angry forever. He has not punished us for all our sins, nor does He deal with us as we deserve" (Ps.103:8-10, NLT - New Living Translation).
In that respect, He is totally unlike Satan who is always accusing us, even for things we have not done wrong. Satan's anger against us is not, in any case, motivated by ahavah (love) but by hatred and jealousy. The characters of Yahweh and Satan are diametrically opposite.
Passive and Active Anger
Anger manifests itself in so many different ways and oftentimes it is suppressed or pushed down into the sub-conscious instead of being dealt with in Messiah and healed. Many angry people, instead of venting their anger on others for fear of hurting them, try to absorb their anger and end up harming themselves even more. Whether actively or passively angry, the symptoms of an angry person are important to discern so that ministry can be given. Dr. Mark Johnson identifies 5 emotional and 22 behavioural signs that an angry person displays when relating to others around them:
A. Emotional Signs of Anger
- 1. Outbursts of rage or excessive irritability over trifles;
- 2. Constant anxiety;
- 3. Excessive jealousy or suspiciousness;
- 4. Moodiness or restlessness;
- 5. Being overly sensitive or easily hurt; and
- 6. Chronic depression (extended periods of feeling 'down' for no apparent reason).
B. Behavioural Signs of Anger
- 1. Procrastination in imposed tasks;
- 2 . Perpetual or habitual lateness;
- 3. Constant sarcasm, cynicism, or flippancy in conversation;
- 4. Indecisiveness;
- 5. Being hypercritical or blaming;
- 6. Being confused or preoccupied a great deal of the time;
- 7. Being accident prone;
- 8. Waking up tired rather than rested and refreshed;
- 9. Frequent disturbing and frightening dreams;
- 10. Liking sadistic or ironic humour;
- 11. Frequent head/stomachback aches or muscular tension;
- 12. Frequent thoughts about death;
- 13. Overcontrolled, monotone speaking voice;
- 14. Insomnia or sleeping excessively;
- 15. Clenching jaws or grinding teeth, especially during sleep;
- 16. Being easily fatigued;
- 17. Getting drowsy at inappropriate times;
- 18. Frequent sighing;
- 19. Deliberately injuring oneself (cutting, burning, etc.);
- 20. Substance abuse;
- 21. Insisting on always being 'right'; and
- 22. Distancing from others, silence, coldness, indifference.
C. Common Defences of Angry People
Additionally, he identifies 4 common defences used to keep anger hidden:
- 1. Excessive sociability or being overly polite;
- 2. Passive/aggressive behaviour (resistance, subtle opposition, being contrary);
- 3. Compulsiveness; and
- 4. Constant cheerfulness or smiling while hurting .
Repressed Anger Multiplies
Repressed anger is continually recycled within us, playing itself out in our decisions and reactions to others over and over again becoming progressively more toxic. This is why anger, when it surfaces, must be dealt with quickly so that it does not keep seeding itself in ever more virulent and more concentrated forms. Even when we are unconscious of our anger it relentlessly continues to poison us. And it will remain a poison within until it is expressed. The moment it expresses itself it is vital we make the decision to forgive. Forgiveness is the antitoxin and the remedy. Forgiveness cannot be truly be given until the anger has a safe outlet.
Forgetting is Counterfeit Forgiveness
'Forgetting' is not the solution and is simply another way to maintain control without uprooting the original problem(s) driving us to anger.
"Denying the pain of our past cuts us off from God's (Elohim's) strength. We can only continue in our denial when we maintain an image of false strength and self-sufficiency. Denying our anger results in counterfeit forgiveness. Many of us 'manufacture' forgiveness in an effort to be obedient, while scrambling to maintain our illusion of self-sufficiency. That false forgiveness leads to legalism, moralism and false pride" .
There are many rationalisations to 'forgetting' that may be noble in intention (such as protecting others from our rage) but which simply compound the issue. You cannot slay a serpent without getting up close to it. In the same way, you cannot slay anger without releasing it in a safe environment (with a minister or friend, for example) and then forgiving those who hurt us that provoked the anger in the first place.
The Necessity of Forgiveness
Without forgiveness we are, in any case, cut off from fellowship with Elohim (God). Passive or active anger will, apart from making you ill and lonely, progressively turn your heart to stone.
Forgive and Be Forgiven
"Forgive us our sins just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us" (Mt.6:12, NLT).
Not only will anger and unforgiveness slowly destroy us but they will cut us off from Yahweh who said, through His Son, that those who refuse to forgive others cannot themselves be forgiven by Heaven for their sins. To willfully harbour anger and unforgiveness is to refuse salvation because unless we forgive those who wrongdo us, Yahweh says He will not forgive us our sins.
Yahweh is quick to forgive and heal those who will humble themselves. He bears no grudges and He deletes memories of forgiven sins. Ask Him to show you bring your anger up and be ready to forgive those who made you angry. Then you will really be set free. Amen.
 Dr. Mark Johnson, Spiritual Warfare for the Wounded (Servant Publications, Ann Arbor, Michagan: 1992), pp.164-165
 Ibid., p.161
 Touch Point Bible: God's Word at Your Point of Need, New Living Translation (Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois: 1996)
 Philip Yancey, Where is God When It Hurts? (Zondervan, Grand Rapid, Michigan: 1977)
 The NIV Study Bible (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan: 1995)
 Neil T. Anderson, The Bondage Breaker: Overcoming Negative Thoughts, Irrational Feelings and Habitual Sins (Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon: 1990)