Barnabas Network International | Online Resources for Churches

Home

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

"Christians should not get angry!"  Or, at least, that's what many of us have been taught. Most of us have never made peace with the emotion of anger. Is it wrong to become angry? Is there any form of anger that is acceptable?

 

[1]  JESUS AND ANGER    Read Mark 3/1-6.

 

Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath.Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, "Stand up in front of everyone."Then Jesus asked them, "Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they remained silent.He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

 

1.  How do you feel about the decisive statement that Jesus was angry? Are you at peace with it? Are you concerned or confused by it? Does it make you feel awkward?

 

2. How would you explain Jesus' anger to a critic of Christianity? Why do you think Jesus got angry in this situation? Exactly what made Him angry?

 

3.  "Jesus was a very emotional person". Do you agree or disagree?  Why?

 

4.  Along with anger, what other emotion is mentioned in the text? What does this tell you about the nature of Jesus' anger?

 

Read Mark 10/13-16:

 

People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

 

1.  What was the cause of Jesus' "indignation" on this occasion?

 

2.  What had His disciples failed to understand about Jesus?

 

3. Put yourself in the place of the disciples. What would you have felt to be on the "receiving end" of His rebuke?

 

4. What kind of behaviour on our part might earn such a response from Jesus today? Can you think of any contemporary situation comparable to theirs?

 

Here are three lessons or guidelines we can learn from Jesus expression of anger

 

1.  He confronted and exposed hardness of heart and injustice.

 

2. He was at no point out of control - these were not "outbursts of anger".

 

3. His anger was tempered by a sense of grief and distress - it was not just exclusively raw anger.

 

[2]  NEHEMIAH AND ANGER    

      Read Nehemiah 5/1-13 (especially noting vs.6-9 as below):

 

When I heard their outcry and these charges, I was very angry .I pondered them in my mind and then accused the nobles and officials. I told them, "You are exacting usury from your own countrymen!" So I called together a large meeting to deal with themand said: "As far as possible, we have bought back our Jewish brothers who were sold to the Gentiles. Now you are selling your brothers, only for them to be sold back to us!" They kept quiet, because they could find nothing to say. So I continued, "What you are doing is not right.

 

1.  What is the reason behind Nehemiah's anger? Does this justify his anger?

 

2. How does he express his anger? What can we learn from Nehemiah about the way he handled his anger?

 

3.  "I pondered them in my mindů"What does this tell us about Nehemiah and self-control?

 

4. Is there anything else from the full 13 verses that you learn about Nehemiah as a man and how this may have influenced the way he responded to the injustice of the situation that faced him?

 

[3]   DEVELOPING A BIBLICAL FRAMEWORKFOR EXPRESSING ANGER

 

How do you respond to the following statements

 

a. "Positive anger is not a sign of weakness but of strength of character"

 

b. "The person who does not get angry with evil will have little enthusiasm for good".

 

c.  "Sometimes the sin is NOT to get angry?"

 

Read Ephesians 4/26,27:

 

"In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,and do not give the devil a foothold".

 

What lessons or principles emerge from these 2 verses for you?

 

A. When is anger positive and creative? 

 

1.  When it is directed against injustice & evil that damages, abuses and destroys people

 

2.  When it is a Spirit-controlled response that is submitted to God's Will

 

3.  When it contains no hatred, malice, resentment or vindictiveness towards a person

 

4.  When it is not permitted to smolder, fester or go unexpressed

*Express it honestly    *Resolve it promptly    *Finish with it completely

 

5.  When it is not energized by unresolved pain from the past.

 

B. When is anger negative and destructive?

 

When it is motivated by a desire to hurt and wound - physically or emotionally.

 

When it is denied or suppressed.

 

When self-control is abandoned in the 'heat of the moment'.

 

When anger is deliberately nurtured and allowed to grow.

 

When anger is a response that is self-centred.

 

CONCLUSION:

 

The Church needs more Christians who will get "good and angry" with evil and injustice. Only so we will ever be a prophetic voice in the community and nation.

 

However, much of the anger we will encounter will be of the negative and destructive kind. For Christians who have an "anger management" problem, the process of healing and renewal will begin when the Holy Spirit is allowed to uncover the emotional wound/s that is/are energizing the anger, identify its cause, enable the person to own it, to offer and receive forgiveness and thus find release from the emotional source of energy that ignites and fuels the anger.

Download free ministry resources.
give us your feedback.