Formations Lesson for June 27- Sins of Vengeance- Anger
June 18 2010 by Ed Beddingfield, pastor, First Baptist Church, Fayetteville

Focal Passage: Proverbs 14:16-17, 29; 19:11-12; 22:24-25  

My mother and I were arguing at the dinner table. We both got angry. I got grounded. I held my tongue, but I was still mad! I balled up my fist, under the table and out of sight — or so I thought. But she knew! How do moms do that? Grounded again, for another week.

If I couldn’t verbalize it, and if I couldn’t make a fist under the table, what was I supposed to do with my anger?

Store it away, obviously, and let it surface years later in a Biblical Recorder Sunday School lesson.

It’s going to come out, one way or the other, like steam in a boiler.

We can vent it in measured doses, like blowing the whistle on a locomotive.

We can put it to productive use, like driving the train or heating a building.

Or we can let it build up until the whole thing blows.

According to Ephesians 4:26, it’s not the anger that’s the problem. It’s what we do with it: “Be angry, but sin not.” And how do we do that?

“Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.”

We can’t help getting mad, but we don’t have to hang on to it.

Like a fever, anger indicates that something needs attention. Settle it. Work it out.

Otherwise we might “make room for the devil” — in a word, sin. Today’s verses offer additional advice about how to “be angry, but sin not.”

The most consistent theme is not to be rash or quick-tempered. Instead, try exercising restraint (14:16-17, 29; 19:11; 22:24b).

Remember “count to 10?” That’s why my e-mail has a “Save Draft” button: to keep me from hitting “Reply” (or worse, “Reply All”) before I’ve thought through my response.

Also, nobody likes a “schemer” (14:17), someone who bears grudges and plots revenge.

Likewise for one who is “given to anger” (22:24a), constantly nursing and cultivating ill feelings. You just become sour and unpleasant.

When you’re angry, don’t use any power you may have over another person to take unfair advantage, like a king whose anger roars like a lion (19:12).

Be careful of the company you keep. Hanging out with hotheads or habitually angry people simply reinforces our own bad habits (22:24-25).

Most of all, how generous it is “to overlook an offense” (19:11)!

“Turn the other cheek,” Jesus said.

Anger comes out, one way or the other. It’s how we handle it that matters.

“Be angry, but sin not.”             
6/18/2010 5:31:00 AM by Ed Beddingfield, pastor, First Baptist Church, Fayetteville | with 0 comments

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