GOOD ‘N’ ANGRY
February 18-19, 2006
Hey, thanks so much for being here this morning. I know it’s really cold outside, rainy, icy. I was in bed this morning I said, “Lisa, I don’t feel like going to church.” She said, “You’ve got to. You’re the pastor of the church.” “Okay. Okay.” Thanks for being here.
There’s gonna be a lot of anger. There’s gonna be a lot of anger expressed today at Fellowship Church—also Fellowship Church Plano, Uptown and Alliance. A lot of anger, especially among women, because Eric Orson [FC Worship Team member] recently announced his engagement. So a lot of women are gonna be very, very angry. [Audience laughter]
We’re talking about anger. We’re talking about facing anger.
What is anger? Anger is an emotional response in the face of wrongdoing. God has given all of us the opportunity to get angry. Anger is not always a bad thing, so often it’s a good thing. But when I say the word, many of us think about pain, not gain.
Yet God has made us in his image. We have the capacity to get angry. God gets angry. Jesus lived the perfect life. He expressed his emotions perfectly. He got angry and we’re gonna talk about that today.
How do you face anger? How do you deal with anger? When we get angry, a bunch of involuntary responses occur in our lives, also in our bodies. Like our mouths get dry, our pupils dilate for better peripheral vision, our muscles have a sudden burst of energy. We’re angry, that’s what happens to us. These responses, they are just involuntary. We can’t control them when we get angry. That’s what happens in our lives. We live in the age of rage. A bunch of anger is out there. A bunch of toxic stuff.
Have you run into any of the of the road rage that’s out there? Anybody experienced road rage? Oh, I have recently. I was driving down the freeway and I don’t know what I did, but this woman, man, she went off on me! Pulled beside me, flipped me off (you know, “We’re #1”) and she began to cuss at me. And as she was exiting, I just looked at her and I said, “I love you.” [Ed mouths the words]
Now I’m not sure that’s the way we should process anger. If you do that, you might get shot around here. But we do live in a very angry culture. We have different faces that we put on when we’re angry. My father, when he looked like this [Ed makes a stern facial expression], when he lowered that left eye and pointed that finger, you better head for the hills. That was his look.
When Lisa gets angry, my wife, she does like this [Ed makes another stern facial expression]. Watch out! What’s your face of anger? [Ed mimics several different facial expressions as audience continues to laugh.] What is it?
Have you faced your anger? We all have anger, have you faced it? Too many Christians run around and say, “Oh, you can never get angry. t’s bad to get angry. We should always be happy, peppy and bursting with love, 24/7.” Well that’s stupid. That’s ridiculous. That’s non-biblical. That theology will not hunt in the Bible.
How do we face our anger? Anger is not always bad. Many times it’s good. How do we do that? We have to feel the anger. Do you feel you’re anger? Do you feel that you’re mad? Do you feel it?
I think about John Chapter 2. Jesus had just performed his first miracle. What was his first miracle? It happened at a wedding; he turned H2O to Merlot. (Some of you will get that about Thursday.) After that, he found himself in the temple and he saw something he did not dig. He saw something that made him angry. That’s right. Jesus was not some pale, frail, blue-eyed, white boy. No, no, no, no, he was a man’s man. Someone who displayed his emotions perfectly. He was perfectly disciplined. He was perfectly aggressive. He perfectly got angry. He perfectly got sad. He perfectly cried. He perfectly had joy.
Jesus, though, was angry because some people had turned the temple courtyard into a casino. He didn’t like that. He got angry. Well, what did he do? He did something that we need to unpack. Now, most of us read this verse and we skip right over the important parts. But this stuff is deep right here. There’s a phrase that’ll mess you up. John Chapter 2, Verse 15— so he what? Read it with me. [Audience] “Made a whip.” Right, he made a whip. This is Jesus.
See, again, we have this whacked view of him, many of us here do. Jesus, when he saw what was unfolding, he got angry and he made a whip. “He drove all from the temple area, both sheep—baaa, baaa—and cattle—moooo. He scattered the coins of the money, money, money [Ed singing like Trump’s Apprentice show opening] money changers, and overturned their tables.
Ah, something leaps right out at me right quick. Jesus did not whip the people. I hope you know that. He whipped the cattle, got them out of the temple, threw the money, money out of the temple; because he knew when he got the cattle out and the money out, people would follow, you know.
But a phrase we just read over, we skip over. Most of us don’t think about it. Jesus made a whip. He made a whip; he engaged his anger before he put all of his actions in gear. He spent some time to make a whip. You don’t just make a whip like that. He didn’t just say, “Oh, here’s a whip. I guess I’ll just use it.” No, you have to find the leather, and then once you find the leather, what do you have do? You have to weave the leather together. So Jesus took some time and he made a whip. And as he was making a whip, don’t you know he was feeling the anger? Don’t you know he was asking some serious questions? Don’t you know he was processing, “Okay, how can I express this appropriately?”
So when you get angry, when the temperature starts to rise, when your palms get sweaty, your mouth gets dry, when your pupils get dilated and you have better peripheral vision, make a whip! Weave together those complex emotions. Make a whip. Buy some time. Make a whip. Get angry at what angers God, because when you do that you can change the world. Lord, I want to get angry at what makes you angry. God, I want to express my anger the way you want me to express it. In the natural, we can’t do it. In the flesh, we can’t do it. But supernaturally we can. Feel your anger. Absorb your anger. Make a whip.
Ask some questions. We’ve gotta ask some questions when we’re angry. Like, “What emotion was so potent, was so powerful, was so huge, that I couldn’t deal with it that caused me to grab the rope and swing out over that emotion to anger.” [Ed swings out on a rope hanging on the stage.] I didn’t do that just for you to go, “Wow.” I’ve done that the last two weekends to hammer this into your brain. When you think about anger, don’t swing from fear, from insecurity, from jealously, from envy over to anger. Experience that emotion. That’s why you’ve got to make a whip. That’s why you’ve got to weave together your complex emotions and ask yourself what emotion was so potent, was so powerful, was so huge that it’s tempting me to swing over to anger and to just erupt on the situation?
See girls, you’re not really angry and mad at Eric Orson. No, no, no. You’re hurt. [Audience laughter] So don’t swing over from hurt to anger. Just experience the hurt. “Girl, I could have been the one. I knew I should have walked up to him years ago when I saw him in the bookstore. I just didn’t do it.” See, you’re hurt. You’re not angry. You’re not angry.
It’s amazing how God has brought all these illustrations of anger into my life. I think about Jacob. You remember Jacob in the Bible? Jacob had twelve sons and he did something that was dumb. He showed favoritism toward Joseph. He bought him that incredible coat and the brothers were all envious and jealous. They threw him—in their anger—into a pit, sold him into Egyptian slavery, told his father that wild animals had killed him. What was going on? His brother’s were jealous. They didn’t want to feel the jealously. They didn’t want to feel the hurt and the envy, so they leaped over to anger.
I’ve been having some car trouble recently. Doesn’t it mess you up—you start your car and that yellow light, “Service Engine Soon.” I’ve taken this car in like two or three times and the mechanic says, “Oh, you have a problem with your transmission.” I don’t get mad at the light. I get upset and angry at the transmission. I don’t say, “Look at that light! That light makes me sick.” That light is a signal. It’s a reflector of what’s really going on.
What’s wrong with your transmission? What is causing your anger? What is beneath the surface that’s driving your anger to the surface? It’s not about the anger! “It’s about something else?” It could be about something else. That woman I saw on the freeway that flipped me off and cussed me out, that was about something else.
Speaking of that, we need to think about the cause of anger. What’s causing anger? Who is the cause of the anger? Or what is the cause of the anger? Last weekend my wife and I went out to eat at a restaurant with some friends. We brought our kids, and as we were sitting there just enjoying the food and enjoying each other’s company, this waitress showed up. And this waitress was as mean as a pit viper. She was very angry, and I’d just talked about anger, and I began to get angry because she was angry. She was rude to our kids, mean to my friends and it was a bad scene. And in my flesh, I wanted to say, “Ma’am, you know, if I managed this restaurant, I would fire you because you cannot treat people the way you’re treating us.” I wanted to say that, but I didn’t. I did not say that. I began to feel the anger, absorb it. I began to kinda go through some of the thoughts that the Bible says about anger. I began to ask myself some questions and then consider the cause. And then I thought, you know, she’s hurting us because she’s hurt. Hurt people hurt people. Then the Holy Spirit led me to pray for her. I just did a quick microwave prayer. You know, praying.
I didn’t really want to pray; I wanted to tell her off, you know, in my anger. But the Bible says, “Be angry and do not sin.” So I began to pray for her, and God began to just calm me down and to say, “Ed, look past the situation. This girl is angry. She’s mad and there’s some problem and some difficulty in her life that’s causing this.”
And then the check shows up at the table, and I was the slow-pay artist. “I’ll pick that up,” my friend grabbed the check. “Oh, we have some slow pay artist here. I see, I see.” And my friend paid in cash and he must have given her this transcendent tip because she was like, “You, you want me to keep all this?” And my friend goes, “Yeah, just keep it. God bless you.” He’s a great Christian guy. And we left this little restaurant. Very interesting. But God showed me something right after this service talking about anger. I was tempted to “Rrraaahhh!” But I didn’t!
A couple of weeks ago, Lisa and I were flying out to San Jose, California. I had to speak out there. Just walked up to—I won’t mention the airline—to the ticket agent. This lady was not having a great day. “Uh, that bag is 3 pounds overweight, that’s $25!” Whoa, okay, all right, you know, we were just like smiling. And she began to hammer on the computer [Ed gestures frustrations the lady was having while on the computer] like that and I thought, “You know, this lady has had a horrible day. There’s no telling what these travelers have said to her, have done to her.” We just, you know, chilled. And then, the more we stood there, it got nicer. We saw a little smile, and then it was very good. “Have a great trip. Now take your bags and walk about five feet and hand your bags to the security people that put them in those big, you know, CAT scan type machines now.”
The guy that received the luggage goes, “Ed, Lisa, man, I go to Fellowship Church! It’s great to see you!” You know, blah, blah, blah. And we handed our bags to him. He was a great guy. And we walked away, and we go, if we would have, you know, gotten mad or whatever—talk about a poor witness.
You see, every relationship should glorify God. Now we have to do what we can do if the other person is freaked and their whacked. But we do, the Bible says, what Jesus would do. And from our deal it should reflect the glory of God. And if it does not, then we need to do something about it. But the Bible says, do the work as it depends on you, as it leads you, as it works in your life. The other person, God will deal with them. But we have to do what works. It’s important to consider the cause of your anger as you face your anger.
Also, too, we have to explore what God says about anger, about how God says to express it. God says to face it head on. Don’t pretend like it’s not there. Don’t, you know, explain it away or whatever. We’ll think, “That’s un-Christian.” No, Jesus got angry. God got angry. We should get angry.
Well, how do we handle anger? I’ll tell you how to handle anger. Most of us garage anger. Do you have a garage? Wave your hand if you do. How did your garage get messy? Well, the same way mine gets messy—box by box by box. I take a box, put the contents in the box, take the box out into the garage, whooom! Take the other one out in the garage, whooom! The other one, whooom! The other one, whooom! And then one day I can’t get the car in. Your house looks great from the outside. Your townhome looks incredible, but what does the garage look like? Your garage and my garage can be a mess.
Do you deal with anger that way? Do you garage your anger? Someone hurts you. You’re angry at someone, you put the contents of the relationship in the box, put their name on the box, take it out to your garage, whooom! “I’ll use that stuff against that person one day.” Someone else hurts you. Whoom! Box after box after box we suppress, repress, garage our anger. One day we can’t get the car in.
We can’t garage anger. We gotta do a garage sale. Get rid of that junk! That’s the problem, we put people’s junk in our own trunk. We can’t do that. Have a garage sale. It’s liberating! It’s time to get rid of it! Jesus paid for it. He took it.
Others here, volcano anger. Some garage it, others volcano. My father’s had a place in Hawaii for a long time on the island of Maui. It’s a beautiful, beautiful area, and if you’ve ever been to Hawaii… How many of you have been to Hawaii? Raise your hand. Raise your hand. I’ve been there several times. Hawaii basically is a bunch of volcanoes, correct me if I’m wrong. These giant volcanoes, and it’s made from this lava and stuff that’s hardened. Whatever, it’s gorgeous! It’s beautiful! It’s a garden spot. Hawaii, it’s unbelievable! Unbelievable! There’s a lot of volcanoes there.
All of a sudden, we erupt on people! On our spouse, our kids, our co-workers, that person in the foursome who cheats when we’re playing golf. We just, “Ahhhhhh!” As you look back, volcano people, as you look back, what’s left? Does, does what’s left reflect the glory of God? Yeah, you erupted on that person, but how about what’s left? Does that reflect the nature and character of God? Does it? It should.
See, if volcano people would just do the work, the Bible says…one time, if volcano people would just go to that person and seek forgiveness and restitution, you would not erupt on someone again in an ungodly way. You wouldn’t do it. You wouldn’t do it. That’s what I’m gonna challenge you to do. Hawaii is one of the most beautiful spots on earth and you can turn into Hawaii if you’ll just do the work and deal with the anger. If you’ll go to the person and get it right. Don’t garage it. Don’t volcano it. Go to the person and express your anger. Face your anger.
That’s cool, man, to face it. But how do you express it to someone else? Maybe you’re garaging your anger. Maybe you’re volcanoing your anger. How do you express your anger towards someone else? You’re saying, “Well, Ed, this person is seated next to me.” “I work with this person” or “for this person.” “This person coaches me,” or “This person is a teammate. How do I express it?”
Well, the Bible says we should sit down. I’ll sit down right here. We’ll sit down, and it says we should affirm the relationship first. Affirm it. “Man, I value our relationship.” “Man, our friendship. It’s awesome, however….” “Honey, I enjoy being married to you. I’m committed to you but….” That’s what I’m talking about. Affirm the relationship. Give the relationship a high-five.
Then you gotta negotiate with “I feel” statements. Here’s where I mess up. They [women] probably don’t, but we do. “Lisa, you never….” Uh oh, never? Or, “You always….” Or “Every single time….” No, that’s ridiculous. That’s not true. Why do we do that? Because we’re angry. We’re not expressing the anger appropriately. Negotiate with “I feel” statements. “I feel hurt.” “I feel insecure.” “I feel upset because Eric’s getting married.” Just, “I feel. I feel.” Reveal those feelings. “I feel that….” You’ll not believe what’ll happen to the other person when you do that.
And then we have to guard the volume level. [Ed begins preaching very loudly.] Why is it that every single time that I spoke and I preached like that, and I just yelled all the time people would say, “Boy, that skinny white boy, Ed, hey, man he’s full of anger because he yelled 24/7. And I don’t know that’s kinda one of those hell-fire and brimstone churches.” Well, what I said wasn’t bad, I just yelled. Hurts my voice to do that. We’ve gotta guard the volume level, don’t we? We’ve gotta guard it.
When I was in the first grade, I came home from school and I was looking in front of the mirror and I did like this [Ed measures his mouth with his hand]. I said, “Mom, my mouth is not that big.”
She said, “What do you mean?”
“I just measured it and it’s not that big.”
She said, “Why?”
I said, “Well, the teacher said I had a big mouth and I don’t.”
She goes, “Ed, she was saying you talk too much and you talk too loud because sometimes you do, son. It’s just too loud.”
And I have to watch that. I have a loud voice. I can’t whisper. Guard the volume level. Because when I began to talk louder, and so do you, everything escalates.
Well, let’s go to the Bible, Proverbs 29:22. A hot-tempered person, a volcano person, starts fights and gets into all kinds of sin. Hebrews 12:14, “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” This is a supernatural thing from the inside out. I can’t do it in the flesh. I can’t do it in the natural, you can’t either. But with God, with the person of the Holy Spirit, we can, who works from the inside out to do this. To bow its anger properly. Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” “I would fire you if I managed this restaurant.” “Who do you think you are talking to my wife and I about flying from here to San Jose, California?” “Well, well that’s great isn’t it?”
Establish resolve, too, when you’re talking to someone about your anger. Establish resolve. Is this a scheduling problem? Is this a financial situation, honey? Is this a time management situation? Is there a misunderstanding? Establish resolve and then release the person. Release the person.
How many were here when I did the series called “The Real F Word?” “Forgiveness – The Real F Word?” If you missed that, every single person needs to pick that up. I think it’s the most powerful teaching we’ve ever done here. It talks about unforgiveness and the power and the hold that it has on us. And I built the whole series around a Doberman, and I got so excited my wife and I bought a Doberman a while back.
I was pumping gas one day and I saw a guy jogging with a Doberman. He jogged across a busy intersection, tied the Doberman up to a park bench, went inside to get something to drink. I was looking back at the Doberman, and all of a sudden the Doberman got startled. He ran toward the freeway. He has so much tort, he jerked the park bench from its supports, dragged it behind him towards the busy intersection. I thought, “Oh, no, what is going to happen? A cataclysmic collision is going to take place right before my eyes.” That’s what I thought.
Let me stop here. When it comes to anger, a lot of you are like that Doberman. Here’s a big, ol’ chain tied to a park bench and you’re dragging around some people. A spouse. An ex-spouse. A co-worker. Someone you use to date. A coach. An uncle. A former friend. An associate. And you’re dragging these people around who are sitting on your bench. You’re gonna cause a cataclysmic collision. And you’re wondering why you have so much wreckage in your life. It’s anger. You’re tethered to unforgiveness and anger.
Well after this park bench had smashed several cars—it wasn’t humorous, but it was quite interesting to watch it take place—the dog’s master ran out of the convenience store, chased the dog down, grabbed the chain, unhooked the dog from the bench and led the dog to safety. That’s what your master and my master wants to do right now. He wants us to release the person because we are causing ourselves the pain and the hurt and the anxiety and the stress and the pressure. We’re causing it to ourselves. The other person who hurt us or who vented on us or the other person that we’re angry at, they’ve forgotten all about it. They’re not worried about you or me anymore, but we’re called to release them.
Now, next week we’re gonna talk about something very interesting. You will not hear this talked about on eHarmony.com. Dr. Phil, even my girl, Oprah, won’t talk about this. We’re talking about anger in relationships. How important it is to have Godly anger in marriage and in a dating relationship. I said Godly anger, not anger. Not just anger by itself.
Because all these singles… How many singles are here? Singles? Unbelievable. I think 40-something percent of Fellowship Church are single adults. That’s great. Singles, 90% of you will get married, and you’re gonna date somebody for a while—hopefully a year—and then you’ll walk down the wedding runner, and you’ll go through all these lists and all this stuff and talk to people and read all the books, and that’s great. Have you ever thought about the anger question in the person’s life? I’m talking about Godly anger. You better marry someone who is angry enough to fight for the marriage. You better marry someone who’s angry enough to, when it gets boring (and that sometimes happens), they will get angry enough to do something innovative and creative. You better marry someone who has that Godly anger to keep the relationship on point and revolving around the local church. And I’m gonna unpack that next time. How about anger in marriage? We better have Godly anger in marriage. We should. That’s next week. I almost got excited there.
Let’s go back to this week. Where are you? Are you always swinging over the first emotion to anger? Are you facing your anger? What kind of expression do you make? What kind of face do you make when you’re angry? What is it?
Well, during this message, I’ve done something. Maybe you’ve not picked it up. I’ve spelled “FACE ANGER.” Feel the anger. Ask yourself the question. Consider the cause. Explore God’s methodology and how to deal with it. Affirm the relationship and negotiate it with “I feel” statements. Guard the volume level. Establish resolve. And release the person.
Now some of you are trying to write it down,”Ah, girl, I’ve gotta write that down.” It’ll be on the website. It’s on the website right now when you go home—Fellowhipchurch.com. It’ll be right there. I want us to remember this as we face the anger.
Make a whip. Weave together those complex emotions. The Holy Spirit will give you the strength and power to do so. I’m telling you, it will work. This stuff works because God never asks us to do something, he never tells us to do something without giving us the practical steps on how to carry it out. And that’s what’s so awesome about God’s word. So when it comes to anger, make a whip.