The Healing of Anger – Gospel in Life
Sermon

The Healing of Anger

Tim Keller |  October 17, 2004

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Topics:
  • Christian Living and Obedience
  • Forgiveness
  • God's Love
Duration:
40:56
Scripture:
Proverbs 14:29-30; 15:1,18; 16:32; 19:11,19; 24:28-29; 25:21-22
SKU:
RS 178-06

Overview

Today’s message comes from a series on the topic of wisdom in the book of Proverbs. What is wisdom? In 1 Kings 3, Solomon prays for wisdom, and he defines it like this. He says, “God, give me a heart that can discern right from wrong.” You might say, “He was the king of Israel. He had the law of God. Why does he need a heart to discern right from wrong?” The answer is that wisdom is more than just knowing what’s good and what’s bad. It’s knowing what the right decision to make is — what the right course of action is — in the vast majority of life situations the moral rules don’t address.

If you’re going to live a wise life, you need to understand anger. You need to be able to understand and handle anger, not only in yourself, but in other people as well. There are four things we’re going to learn about anger that you have to know to be wise: its power; its goodness; why it goes wrong; and how it can be healed.

Understanding Anger through the Book of Proverbs

The Book of Proverbs gives us a deep understanding of anger. It teaches us not only how to tell right from wrong but also how to handle life’s daily challenges. By learning about anger’s destructive power, its potential goodness, the reasons it can go wrong, and how we can fix it, we can become wiser and better at managing our own anger and that of others.

1. Its dangerous power

Anger is like a powerful storm that can harm our health, relationships, and ability to make good decisions. It can create a tornado of problems, often hiding the real issues we’re dealing with. We should never underestimate the damage anger can cause.

2. Its basic goodness

The Bible doesn’t completely condemn anger or endorse out-of-control rage. Instead, it suggests a balanced approach. It tells us that slow, controlled anger is better than showing off power or winning battles. The Bible says it’s possible to be angry without doing wrong. This means that pure anger is like love protecting itself from danger. This is how Jesus showed anger and it’s also how God gets angry. This challenges both our individual and cultural views about anger and its potential to cause harm.

3. Why it goes wrong

Anger can become a problem when we put worldly things above God. This can lead to emotions that are out of control and too strong for the situation. We often get angry about personal offenses rather than injustices done to others, and we seek revenge instead of justice and healing. This kind of anger keeps us trapped in a cycle of resentment, making it hard for us to forgive and leading to a lot of unhappiness.

4. How it can be healed

To manage anger, we first need to admit we’re angry and take responsibility for it. Anger often comes from how we interpret things that happen to us. It’s a way of protecting our ego. But we can control it by focusing on God’s love and responding softly to harsh words. By choosing to react with love and forgiveness, following God’s example, we can bring about positive change.

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