Good 'N' Angry

Series: The Way Of Salvation


Sermon By Terry Siverd

Cortland Church of Christ / February 16, 2020


We sometimes sing together Hymn #719:

Angry words! O let them never  From my tongue unbridled slip;  May the heart's best impulse ever  Check them ere they soil the lip.


Most of us would agree that the prayer contained in these lyrics points to the better way, nevertheless we often fail

in harnessing our speech:  our lips soiled; feelings hurt; and considerable harm rains down on loved ones and friends.


Some have learned anger management.

I suspect this education has come more from the university of hard knocks that from an actual classroom.

I don't mean to belittle the help that comes from education and book-learning.

Classrooms and books have much to wisdom to offer on the topic of taming of the tongue.

Counseling from various entities is provided for those who have serious trouble controlling their tempers.


But for many of us, we have learned from trial and error.

From the time of our first temper tantrum, we have been blessed with parents who determined

early on that we are not going to be permitted to grow up with these unremitting outbursts of anger.

This sometimes results in “learning the hard way”: 

standing in silence in the corner;  have privileges denied;  getting grounded;  even receiving corporal punishment

(perhaps a firm spanking on the buttocks).  Some of our older folks were made to cut their own switches.


Uncontrolled anger is not only a menace to society, it is SINFUL.

Solomon writes in Eccl.7:9b - - anger resides in the bosom of fools.

It is foolish indeed to go through life with a short fuse - - living on the brink of combustibility every day.


In his list of the deeds of the flesh (Gal.5:20), Paul references the term, outbursts of anger.

When Paul writes of things that must be put aside (Col.3:8), he calls attention to anger and wrath.

There are degrees of bad temper.

On American Pickers, Frank likes to bundle.  I do that often when I search for definitions.

I can't speak definitively on this, but there seems to be a progression:  Anger … Wrath … Fury.


In an effort to downplay or dismiss our outbursts of anger or worse, to justify our bad temper,

 it doesn't cut it to simply say, “that's just the way I am!”, especially for us who are Christians  - -


The apostle Paul wrote to those in Ephesus, many of whom were Gentiles, who were new in the faith.

Essentially he said to them (Eph.2:3), you used to be by nature children of wrath, but that's got to change!


This is a deep subject and I can't begin to say everything that needs to be said about anger in thirty minutes,

but it is my hope and prayer that what I am going to say will prove to be helpful.




 The first half of Eccl.7:9 cautions, do not be eager/hasty in your heart to be angry.

I saw an episode of Bonanza recently that featured a character that was built like a bull but was very slow of wit. 

This combination of brute strength and slowness of mind made him the brunt of jokes and taunting.  It resulted in the creation

of a monster of sorts.  He became a ticking time bomb, breaking the neck of a man who poked fun at him, calling him stupid.

He and Hoss got in a fist fight and actually became friends.  Hoss' tender heart drove him to adopt this “man-child”.

Hoss took him to the Ponderosa with the goal of giving him a job and helping to mentor him, but it was short-lived.

This not-so-gentle giant compounded his problems when he strangled a pretty girl at the saloon because she laughed at him.

His uncontrollable anger eventually brought about his demise - - he was shot to death by a posse who came to arrest him.

This is why you parents must not put off dealing with a child who has anger issues.

Js.1:19 admonishes, let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and SLOW TO ANGER.

Quick-tempers need to be nipped in the bud, as Barney Fife was prone to saying.


President Lincoln's secretary of war, Edwin Stanton, was angered by an army officer who accused him of favoritism.

Stanton complained to Lincoln, who suggested that Stanton write the officer a sharp letter.  Stanton did,

and showed the strongly worded missive to the president.  “What are you going to do with it?”, Lincoln inquired.

Surprised, Stanton replied, “Send it.”  Lincoln shook his head.  “You don't want to send that letter”, he said.

“Put it in the stove.  That's what I do when I have written a letter when I am angry.  It's a good

letter and you had a good time writing it and (you) feel better.  Now burn it, and writer another.”


We Christians must be vigilant on two fronts:  controlling our own temper and not being so easily offended.




Prov.29:22 states, an angry man stirs up strife, and a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression.


Baseball coach Billy Martin told about a hunting trip he had in Texas with baseball legend Mickey Mantle.

Mickey had a friend who would let them hunt on his ranch.  When they reached the ranch, Mickey told Billy to

wait in the car while he checked with his friend.  Mantle's friend quickly gave them permission to hunt, but he

asked Mickey a favor.  He had an old mule out in the barn who was going blind, and he didn't have the heart to

put him out of his misery.  He asked Mickey to shoot the mule for him.  Mickey decided to play a trick on his

hunting partner.  When he came back to the car, he pretended to be angry.  He scowled and slammed the door.

Billy asked him what was wrong, and Mickey said his friend wouldn't let them hunt.  “I'm so mad at the guy,”

Mantle said, “I'm going out to his barn and shoot one of his mules.”  Mantle drove like a maniac to the barn.

Martin protested, “We can't do that!”  But Mickey was adamant.  “Just watch me,” he shouted.  When they got to the

barn, Mantle jumped out of the car with his rifle, ran inside, and shot the mule.  As he was leaving, though, he heard

two more shots, and ran back to the car.  He saw that Martin had taken out his rifle, too.  “What are you doing, Martin?”,

he yelled.  Martin yelled back, face red with anger, “We'll show that son of a gun!  I just killed two of his cows!”


Sporting venues often attest to the way anger can become unhinged and spread ever so rapidly.

In the spring of 1894 the Baltimore Orioles were playing the Boston Beaneaters.  Jim McGraw of the Orioles got into a

fight with Boston's third-basemen, Tommy Foghorn Tucker (who was kicked in the face when McGraw slid into third).

Within minutes players from both sides joined in the brawl.  The “warfare” spread to the bleachers of the grand

pavilion and things went from bad to worse.  The entire ballpark - - the nearly erected South End Grounds (constructed

exclusively out of wood) burned to the ground.  Not only that, but the fire spread to destroy 200 other buildings in Boston.


We're taken aback to read of such a spectacle, but I can't help but think,

how many churches have been ripped apart by members who couldn't control their tempers. 




The apostle Paul makes a somewhat odd exhortation in the first part of Eph.4:26 - - be angry, and yet do not sin.


Anger is frequently observed in two extremes:  unbridled expression or unhealthy repression.

We have all witnessed unbridled expression, but that which sometimes goes undetected is unhealthy repression.


We must find wholesome and productive ways to vent our anger.  In the second half of Eph.4:26, Paul warns:

do not let the sun go down on your wrathThese words connote a sense of urgency in dealing with anger.


Jesus urged (Mt.5:25), make friends quickly with your opponent.

Whether our “opponent” is our wife or husband or a member of the church we need to settles things quickly.

When anger is allowed to fester over days and weeks and months (and years) it often results in a really bad explosion!



The wrath of God is spoken of with great frequency, especially in the Old Testament.

In the book of Revelation, Jesus is depicted as both the Lamb and the Lion.  Regarding the latter, see Rev.19:15.


In Hebrews, Paul pens two colorful statements that capture the anger of God.

In Heb.10:31, It is a terrifying things to fall into the hands of the living God.

In Heb.12:29, Our God is a consuming fire.


Sometime in the near future, I want us to think about The Anger Of Jesus.

I'm going to write myself a note about this and maybe we'll discuss in on a Sunday night in March.


Not only is anger not always bad, sometimes it is wrong not to be angry.


The very thought of abortion on demand ought to break our hearts and curl our blood.

I'm astonished that so many can be so quiet about such a foundational element

of a civilized society as the sanctity of life in the form of the protection of the unborn child. 


Slavery was finally abolished in the Western World because some believers finally grew backbones

and mustered up the courage to stand against what they knew was a scourge to mankind.


The challenge for us all is not just how to harness anger in ourselves and how to

defuse anger in others, but also how to cultivate the virtue of being good 'n' angry.


There are a slew of immorality issues that are currently stressing our nation.

Sins that are going unchecked which are working to erode cultural mores and long-held biblical values.

We cannot sit quietly by while our Judeo-Christian foundations are crumbling beneath us.


John the Baptizer was a firebrand.

He lost his head, not because his lost his cool, but because he refused to wink at sin (Mt.14:1-12).


As a preacher of the gospel, one of my greatest fears is that of being weighed and found GUILTY OF SILENCE.


As Christians we don't have a license to be mean or nasty,

but we do have a holy obligation to speak out against wrongdoing.


I am not urging us to take an “in your face”, militant approach to rectifying these wrongs.

What I am saying is that it will be our downfall if we decide to just go quietly in the darkness of the night.


How many nations have crumbled because good people decided to say nothing?


The dustbins of history overflow with the memories of once powerful countries and elite cultures that

permitted immoralities of all variations to take root and flourish under the guise of enlightenment

and progress and a to-each-his own policy that demands looking-the-other way in the name of tolerance.


What is that old saying, “people who stand for nothing will fall for anything!”?

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