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Basics of Biblical Counseling. Lesson 7 Anger. VI. Anger. A. God and anger. God gets righteously angry (Ps. 7:11, Rom. 1:18, John 3:36) God’s anger is a right and just response to what is wrong and offensive. God’s anger is not sinful (James 1:13, Lev. 11:44, )

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a god and anger
A. God and anger
  • God gets righteously angry (Ps. 7:11, Rom. 1:18, John 3:36)
  • God’s anger is a right and just response to what is wrong and offensive. God’s anger is not sinful (James 1:13, Lev. 11:44, )
  • Jesus was righteously angry at times (Matt. 21:12-13, Heb. 4:15, 1 Peter 2:22)
  • Therefore, God demonstrates that anger can be utterly holy, right, good, and even a loving response to sin
  • Though the capacity for human anger may be linked to being made in the image of God, sin has so twisted the human heart that human righteous anger, untainted by sin, seems unlikely
b definition of anger
B. Definition of anger
  • Anger is a whole-personed, active response of negative moral judgment against perceived evil
  • “…the rising up in the heart in passionate displacency against an apprehended evil, which would cross or hinder us of some desired good” – Richard Baxter

Definition adapted from Robert Jones, Uprooting Anger (P&R, 2005), 15.

b definition of anger1
B. Definition of anger
  • The New Testament has three words for anger:
    • Thumos – explosive anger, the boiling agitation of the feeling and passion of anger (“wrath” in NASB) – Eph. 4:31
    • Orge – an abiding, settled attitude of indignation that frequently seeks revenge (“anger” in NASB) – Eph. 4:31
    • Parorgismos – anger mingled with irritability, exasperation, and embitterment (“anger” – NASB) – Eph. 4:26
b definition of anger2
B. Definition of anger
  • Anger has an object (a target)
  • Anger is often used as a tool to get what a person wants or as a weapon of punishment when a person doesn’t get what he wants (James 4:1-3)
  • Anger judges things. It weighs something and find it wrong, lacking or displeasing. Then it moves into action.
  • Though righteous anger is possible, the vast majority of human anger is sinful anger
c anger is disguised by names
C. Anger is disguised by names
  • Miss Hurt, Upset, Offended, Bothered, Annoyed, Needs a Nap
  • Mrs. Irritated, Resentful, Irate, At the Boiling Point, Enraged, Infuriated
  • Mr. Disturbed, Disappointed, Frustrated, Ticked Off, Hot Under the Collar, Worked Up, Distressed, Bitter, Displeased, Got Up on the Wrong Side of the Bed
  • Help the counselee see his own anger (halo data is important here)

Adapted from material on anger by Dr. Wayne Mack

d the bible s perspective on anger
D. The Bible’s perspective on anger
  • Anger is something that a person chooses to do. People do not make us angry (Ps. 37:8, Eph. 4:31)
  • Anger comes as a result of idolatry: putting self in place of God (Rom. 12:19, James 4:3)
  • Anger is mental murder (Matt. 5:21-22, James 4:3)
d the bible s perspective on anger1
D. The Bible’s perspective on anger
  • Anger is extremely deceptive (Heb. 3:13)
    • It deceives us into thinking that it is right for us to hurt people who have hurt us
    • It deceives us into thinking that we must obey it – that we can’t help our angry response
  • Anger is both taught and modeled to us in life (Prov. 22:24-25). It can become a habit or second nature through practice (Prov. 19:19)
e most people have a faulty view of anger
E. Most people have a faulty view of anger
  • Most think their anger is a justified and normal response to how they have been treated
  • Some even think that not expressing or “validating” your anger is the real source of people’s problems
  • Yet the Bible consistently warns people to not be angry (Ecc. 7:9, James 1:19-20, Rom. 12:19, Eph. 4:31, Ps. 37:8)
  • Instead, the Bible calls for a different response to what most people think is a normal and justifiable occasion for anger (Matt. 5:44, 22:39, Rom. 12:18, Eph. 5:25)
f how to deal with sinful anger
F. How to deal with sinful anger
  • Recognize that the vast majority of anger is sinful
  • Help counselees adopt a biblical view of their anger (section D and E in notes)
  • Teach them the log principle (Matt. 7:1-5)
  • Identify the thinking and ruling desires (idols) that govern their heart (James 4:1-3)
f how to deal with sinful anger1
F. How to deal with sinful anger
  • What did I want that I didn’t get?
  • Is there something I am wanting too much?
  • What sinful thoughts and desires was I entertaining?
  • Does my anger tend to fit a pattern?
    • With whom am I typically angry?
    • In what contexts am I likely to get angry?
    • Under what circumstances am I likely to be angry?
    • How long am I angry?
    • Do I tend to blow up, clam up? Volcano or slow simmer? Deny it? Attack a substitute? Leave?
f how to deal with sinful anger2
F. How to deal with sinful anger
    • Is my anger “primed and ready” to respond to another person’s sin? (1 Cor. 13:4-7, James 1:19-20)
    • What needs, rights, expectations, and demands do I impose on God and other people?
    • Has my lack of repentance led me to be bitter and resentful? Am I regularly angry?
  • Confess your sin to God and others. Be specific!
  • Ask God and others for forgiveness (1 John 1:9, Luke 17:3-4)
f how to deal with sinful anger3
F. How to deal with sinful anger
  • By God’s grace, repent of your anger
    • Ask for God’s help and wisdom (James 4:2b, 3)
    • Identify and “put-off” any desires, thoughts, or beliefs that are sinful (Eph. 4:22, Rom. 12:2a). “Purge your personal pantheon of idols” – Rick Holland
    • Renew those desires, thoughts, and beliefs by looking to God’s Word (Eph. 4:23, Rom. 12:2b)
    • Replace and “put-on” righteous desires, thoughts beliefs, and motives built on the worship of Jesus Christ alone (Eph. 4:24)
f how to deal with sinful anger4
F. How to deal with sinful anger
  • Develop a specific plan for dealing with anger
    • Memorize helpful Bible verses
    • Identify your person pattern – develop a “plan for righteous responses”
    • Meditate on the truths of God’s Word daily. Ask for His help regularly. Review your plan.
    • Consistent practice of righteous responses is the key to growth and change (1 Tim. 4:7b-8)
    • Quickly stop and repent when you begin to respond in anger. Don’t pretend it didn’t happen. Don’t ignore it. Confess and seek forgiveness quickly (Eph. 4:26)
f how to deal with sinful anger5
F. How to deal with sinful anger
    • Keep an anger journal to help you
    • Monitor your thoughts and “self talk.” Repent as soon as you catch yourself thinking angry, sinful thoughts. Replace them with biblical thinking.
    • Be aware of other sins which often accompany and feed anger (pride, bitterness, slander, gossip, evil intent, murder, sexual sin, other deeds of the flesh)
    • Make sure you seek forgiveness from all whom you have been angry with.
  • See God in the midst of the trial (Gen. 50:20, Rom. 8:28-29)
  • Make room for the wrath of God (Rom. 12:19)
f how to deal with sinful anger6
F. How to deal with sinful anger
  • Return good for evil (Rom. 12:21)
g helpful bible verses
G. Helpful Bible verses
  • James 4:1-3, 1:19-20
  • Ephesians 4:31-32
  • Philippians 2:3-5
  • 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
  • Proverbs
  • Matthew 5:21-22
h helpful resources
H. Helpful resources
  • Robert Jones, Uprooting Anger (P&R, 2005)
  • Lou Priolo, The Heart of Anger (Calvary, 1997)
  • Lou Priolo, Get a Grip (Calvary, 2006)
  • Robert Jones, Angry at God? (P&R, 2003)
  • David Powlison, Anger (P&R, 2000)
  • Stuart Scott, Communication & Conflict Resolution (Focus, 2005)
  • Ken Sande, The Peacemaker (Baker, 2004)
  • Wayne Mack, Strengthening Your Marriage (P&R), Unit 4; and A Homework Manual for Biblical Living (P&R), section on anger.
  • Read chapters 15 & 16
  • Memorize James 4:1-3
  • Reading in second book
  • Personal project