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Dr. Ed Young - Run from Anger

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    Dr. Ed Young - Run from Anger
TOPICS: Happy People :), Anger

"You have heard that the ancients were told, 'You shall not commit murder' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.' But I say unto you," said Jesus, "that anyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,'" rhaka, "shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,'" moros, "shall be guilty enough to go into fiery hell". Now, some of you are familiar with C.S. Lewis. C.S. Lewis has written some wonderful little children's books that have great meaning. You're familiar with Narnia. If you haven't seen those two little movies that came out, I think there are only two of them, Narnia movies, you oughtta get them, they're terrific.

In this movie, they have that beautiful lion, remember, Aslan. Aslan, that beautiful golden lion, is the Christ figure, the Christ figure. And Aslan is killed, is killed. And in this book of Narnia, this little book where he's killed like Jesus, the Christ figure, he is resurrected. And when he is resurrected, that's a picture of Christ leading the post-resurrection church. And then those two little girls, Susan and Lucy, it's a beautiful picture there in "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," when the big lion, the resurrected Christ, Aslan, leans down and Lucy gets on his back and Susan gets on his back. And it says, "The warm lion and the strong back," and they get on and there begins a glorious ride. It's a picture of the body of Christ on the back of the resurrected Lord all the way through time and eternity. And they begin to move.

And notice, on the back of Aslan, something very important. The little girl that's up front holding onto the mane is named Susan. If you read this book, Susan was the Christian that was problematical. She was the contrarian. She didn't like some things about this and that, and she had emotional problems to a degree, and she'd get angry. And she had a lot of things. She wasn't just really right on target with God and Christ and the church, but yet, she was a Christian. And Susan, in this picture, is the little girl up front holding on to the mane. Lucy, in this story, is the mature, wonderful, spiritual little lady that just loves Aslan and she'd walk deep with Aslan and God and she got it. And it is Susan who is holding on to the mane and it is Lucy who's holding on to Susan.

Follow me, that's exactly biblically accurate because there are Susans who struggle and have problems and they've gone through abuse and tough times and anxiety and they have problems. And it is the Susans of the church, our sisters or our brothers who would be classified as "Susans," and those who are Lucys need to hold on to them, see? That's our responsibility. It's not optional. "Well, I don't wanna hold on to that person because they're just not like me". Oh, no, it is mandatory. It is not conditional, it's unconditional. Those who are Lucys have to hold on to the Susans in order to the church to be alive and to grow. By the way, this is the reason a lot of people say, "You know, I don't like organized religion. You know, I believe God and Christ and I read the Bible, but you know, far as the church is concerned..."

It's because in the church we don't have any choices. It's unconditional, we're brothers and sisters in Christ. Whether you like me or not, I'm your brother if you're a Christian. Whether I like you or not, you're my sister if you're a Christian. That's the way it is. This is the reason you go in most churches and you look like everybody in there came out of a stamp, boom, they look alike. "They're just alike. Oh, look at that. Well, look, oh, these are my kinda people". Or, "These are not my kinda people". That's not the body of Christ. The body of Christ is everything and everybody who comes to Christ and then we're brothers and sisters in Christ. And sometimes, I'm Susan. I need somebody who's mature to love me and comfort me and hold me, to keep me focused in the body of Christ. Sometimes I'm Lucy when I can put my arms around someone else and help and listen and love and minister. See it?

It's not optional, ladies and gentlemen. If you wanna find the church that operates like, "These are all just my kinda people," oh, no, we don't have that church within our family. This is nothin' like our family. We're everything from everybody, from nations, every background, but we're brothers and sisters in Christ. And sometimes we can be Lucys and sometimes we are Susans and we need them to hold on to us. And sometimes we can hold on to others. That is how we're countercultural to any other entity on the face of the earth. Now, we come to our Scripture. Verse 21: "'You have heard that the ancients have said,'" see, "You have heard". Look at verse 22: "'But I say,'" but Jesus says. Now, what did they ancients say? It says, "Thou shalt not kill," right?

Well, that's a poor translation of the sixth commandment. It really says, "Thou shalt not murder". Anybody who says, "Well, I'm against capital punishment because the sixth commandment says we're not to kill," oh, no. The sixth commandment doesn't teach that. The sixth commandment says we're not to murder. Because in the Jewish code of law, they had things that you would do would be punished by execution. Therefore, I am an advocate of capital punishment. That's a parenthesis. That's not what I'm talkin' about.

You say, "Well, don't you have a sense of the reverence of life"? That's the reason I'm an advocate of capital punishment. Because when someone premeditatively commits a murder, they have lost the sense in which they were made in the image of God and I think that they need to pay a life for a life. And the Bible does not object to that. Also, I'm an advocate of a just war. There are times, and defense means that wars can be justified. We see this in the Scripture. You say, "Well, what about Jesus said, 'Turn the other cheek'"? He's talkin' about in a personal relationship, not in a corporate sense of a nation. But that's a parenthesis. That's not our primary subject.

And by the way, there are wonderful Christians that disagree about this. I understand that. I have no problem with that. But I'm just saying, because of the sacred of life, I think it's an important thing. Now, what does Jesus say about murder? He says, "If you are guilty of murder, man, you're gonna be thrown before the courts". Jesus doesn't disagree with that. He said, "You have heard, 'You shall not kill. You shall not murder.'" Jesus agrees with that. But he says, "But I say unto you," he takes it another step farther. He says, "If you get angry, you're guilty of murder". Whoa, here, I thought I, you know, at least I hadn't killed anybody lately. Physically, I've never done that. You've never done that. But oh, I mean, far as being angry, you and I can be guilty of murder. And he shows two ways, he uses two words there. And one word deals with the head, how we murder people. We attack their head, rhaka. We say to somebody, "You're not quite bright. You don't get it. You're a dunce, you're stupid".

Here is somebody and we just slander them and talk about, "The don't think clearly". And we're murdering them, Jesus says. We're assassinating their character. And then the second word he used is "moros". It says, "They don't have any morals". You're attacking someone's name and reputation and you go out and you deal with their name and say, "Boy, let me tell you what they've done. Let me tell you the kinda of person they are". And we are guilty of murder. We're assassinating them. And we're gonna answer for that. In fact, if we keep walkin' down this path, we are pointing ourselves toward, Jesus says, "A fiery hell". Pretty serious, wouldn't you say? Pretty serious, "A fiery hell". Then he gives two quick illustrations, so we'll understand exactly what he's talking about.

First, he gives the illustration of the church. Then he gives the illustration in legal matter. He said, "If you go to church, you're gonna put your offering in the plate. And as you go to put your offering in, you remember," now, listen carefully. I won't read the verse, just what it says. You remember that somebody in the church is mad at you. They don't like you. It's not that you don't like them. It's not maybe that y'all have had a conflict, but somebody's mad at you. Jesus says, "Don't put your money in the plate. Don't bring your sacrifice. You go to that brother or that sister who is mad at you and you try to make things right with them before your money or your praying or your worship can mean a thing". Now, that's kinda weird, isn't it?

You say, "Well, they oughtta come to me. I'm not mad at them. I'm not upset at them". But you see, this is the radical nature of the church. That's the reason it's countercultural. Because we wanna have harmony in the body of Christ, therefore, we have to go like Lucy and put the arm around the brother or sister and try to make things right before we can really, really worship the Lord. That's the radical counterculture nature of Christianity. And that's so far afield from how you and I think, it's in another dimension. It's in God's dimension. Then the other thing that he gives an illustration, and I'll not deal with this exhaustively, that you have a problem, a legal problem with somebody.

Jesus says, "Don't go to the courts with it if you can help it. Go and sit down with that person and work it out before the lawyers and the courts get involved". And I imagine if we had a show of hands, a lot of people would say, "Well, I wish I'd followed that advice". Try to work it out privately before you get into a bigger mess and it becomes more expensive, more disastrous than you would have thought. Try to work it out. That's what Jesus said. What'd Jesus say? "Handle problems quickly". With your brother, it's different than someone who's outside the church. You go to them if they feel bad toward you. But outside the church, they feel bad for you, they're not your brother or sister, you don't have that responsibility. See the difference? But in a court of law, he's saying, "It's wisdom to try to work things out before you get in the court".

Dick Tracy, and for those who don't understand that, you haven't had any legal problems lately. Every lawyer here would give you, I believe, the same counsel. Now, we're talkin' about anger. But let me just point out somethin' to you. There is positive anger and there is negative anger. I don't wanna even know anybody who doesn't sometimes get angry. What about that? You find a Scripture over here in the book of Ephesians. There's a tremendous little verse there. Ephesians chapter number 4, verse number 25, Paul is teaching on this same subject. He says: "Be angry, and yet do not sin". So I can be anger, and it's good, it's fine. I don't sin. That's the right thing to do, okay. "But do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil and opportunity".

So there is good anger and there's bad anger. Now, what is good anger? We think, immediately, if you have been conversant with the Scripture of Jesus in the temple, right, remember? Jesus performed the first miracle and then Jesus goes to the temple to worship and what does he find? He finds money changers all over the church. And he finds people selling sheep, goat, and all kinds of wares. In other words, man's business now was in the middle of where God oughtta be doin' business. And Jesus went in there and he saw what was happening and he got angry. We call it "righteous indignation". It is good anger.

Let me tell you something. What is good anger? It's when we get mad at what God gets mad at. Do you get that? Four hundred times plus in the Bible it mentions God gets angry. Three hundred times after God is angry, things change for the better, incidentally. Over 400 times, God gets angry. Three hundred times, things get better. So I want now us to look at the key verse in here and I want us to read it together. It's found in John chapter number 2. I want you to look at and read this verse. Do you see it on the screen? I want all of us to read it together. "All of us" means everybody. All right, let's read together. Here we go: "And he made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and he poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables". The key word in there that helps us to know when we're angry at things that God gets angry at you would never guess.

Look at the first phrase, "He made a scourge of cords". Do you know what that says? Jesus made a whip. Now, here he is in the temple and the money changers are exploiting the people. Well, how do they do that? This was a Passover. They came all over the world to worship, to experience the Passover there in Jerusalem. And they would say, "Here's some Egyptian coins. Oh, this coin is worth $50". "Oh, you've gotta change it into Israeli coinage. You know, we can't give you but a dollar for that". Pretty good profit, isn't it, changing money. And they did that all the time. They were exploiting people who came to church, came to worship. Then they had sheep and goats. They couldn't bring a sheep to offer a sacrifice all the way from their country. They just couldn't do it so they'd have to go buy them there.

"Here, here's a good healthy goat that's worth $5, but to you, because you're from Ethiopia, we gonna charge you $150 for that $5 goat". So they were abusing the people in the church. That's what happened. Now, Jesus made a whip and he took this whip. He didn't whip the people. He didn't do it. He whipped the animals out. He whipped all the money out and knocked it on the table. And when the animals were run out of the temple and when the money was run out, guess what? All those con artists followed the animals and the money. Follow the money. He cleaned house in the house of God, but he made a whip.

What are some things that we can quickly say God gets angry at? First of all, the abuse of children. Remember when Jesus was teaching and some children ran to him? And all the apostles said, "Oh, get out of here, kids. Get out of here, kids. Man, we're doin' big business here. He's gonna heal somebody". Jesus said, "Oh, no, bring the children up". "Suffer the little children", "I want the children to come to me". He loved children. When you see the abuse and exploitation of children, that's what God hates. He wants us to get angry at that. He wants to get angry at wasted lives. Why are you breathing air and absorbing food and you're not doin' anything for the kingdom of God? That's a wasted life.

A young guy came to Jesus. He fell down on his knees. He lived a moral life. He went to the right person at the right time. He asked the right question. It says, "Jesus loved him". But he turned away and left Jesus. He threw his life away. Jesus hates, he wants to angry when we see a life that is wasted, that doesn't count, when you could be a Lucy in the church. You could take your gifts and your abilities and your love and your compassion and your prayers and make a difference in the kingdom right where you are, I can. He just gets angry at a wasted life. That's what we need to get angry at as we challenge and lead people. Also, there is negative anger, and that's what that verse says. It says, "We give the devil a foothold in our lives when we have negative anger".

What kind of negative anger do you know about? There's Frappuccino anger. That's hot coffee. You put ice in it, it's cold. You respond to people coldly. They make you mad and you just treat them cool. You treat them cold. I'm guilty of that. I really am. I've practiced Frappuccino anger far too long, and it's wrong. Somebody, you know, gets in my grill and attacks and I think it's unfair. You know, I'm nice and I'll say, "How are you? God bless you". But in my mind, they're dead. I've already buried them. And they don't bother me anymore. I'm, "Hey..."

See, I just ice them out really in my emotions and in my thinking. That's Frappuccino anger, it's wrong, it's wrong. And then there's volcanic anger. Some of us have that. Man, you cross me... Boom, you just blow up and explode and the lava just gets on everybody. And then, when you get through, you say, "Will you forgive me for being angry"? What about all the lava that you burned all these people in? There's volcanic anger that is sinful anger. And the worst kind is garage anger, garage anger.

Jo Beth says, "Take it and put in the garage". Good, put in the garage. "Box that up, put that over in the garage". Good, yeah, you oughtta see our garage. And that's what we do. We have problems and we just take it and put it in and box it up, put it in the garage. Say, "Man, if the Lord doesn't take care of you, I get a chance, I will. I mean, you know, 'Vengeance is...' Oh, no, no, I'll take care of it, Lord". We have boxes in our garage of anger with people's name on it.

Ladies and gentlemen, we need to have a garage sale, need to clean out our garage. You see, Frappuccino anger, icing people out, its wrong. Volcanic anger, "Well, I can't help it. My..." Oh, yes, you can, by God. You know, what do we do about this kind of anger? Positive anger, we make a whip. We decide what God would be angry, that takes a while. Then we're angry at the thing that makes God mad. Negative anger, what do we do? We bow the knee. What did Jesus say? He said, "Look, pray for those that despitefully use you". I pray for those that I've put in the garage. I pray for 'em.

And it'd be amazing what happens when I pray for them. Many times, they become friends and associates again, it's amazing. What happens when we start icing people out, Frappuccino? We pray for them. Well, what happens when we just are exploding and we say, "Lord, you know, this is a part of me"? And it gets worse as you get older, by the way. Whatever sin you've got now, gettin' older, it's gonna be compounded. That's right, we become more and more of what we've been becoming all of our lives. Stay with that one. It works, it's right. Don't believe it, go to a retirement home. Some of the sweetest people in the world are in a retirement home. And some of the meanest people in the world are there.

You see, they've been becoming more and more of what they've been becoming all their life. Unless we deal with things, anger will just get worse. We get angry. Our hands get sweaty. Our pupils dilate, helps our peripheral vision. Our pulse rate, our blood pressure, you know? There's a righteous anger. Make a whip. God'll tell you what you really need to be mad about. And do something about it if you can. But there is a unrighteous anger, unrighteous. For righteous anger, make a whip. You'll know what you need to be angry at, I'll know. For unrighteous, immoral anger, bow the knee and pray for them and you'll be amazed how God will begin to alleviate this.

Now, quickly, I want you to see the end of this thing. Look at Hebrews, toward the end of the Bible, guys, chapter number 3, one verse. Get this, Hebrews, it says: "But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called 'Today,' so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin". What's the writer saying? He's saying that in this culture, in the world in which we live, sin is so deceitful and it's expressed in anger in our study. It's gonna be expressed in a lot of other emotions in our study. It ices our hearts and our hearts get iced over. And he says, "Day by day, you've gotta do something about that heart that's been iced over toward people, toward things". And all of a sudden, it gets harder and harder. The ice gets compounded.

Now, when I was in college, I served as a counselor at a camp one summer in North Carolina. Had a group of young guys I was responsible for, about 13 was in my cabin. And we'd go on hikes and I took one group on a hike to the top of Mount Mitchell. And even in August, in Mount Mitchell, it was cold, below freezing, and it snowed. And we'd go and spend the night out. If you had water cooking, you had to always be breaking the ice. If you didn't, before you know it, in sub-zero weather, or in freezing weather, it'll freeze hard as a rock. You gotta keep breakin' the top of, the ice off.

This is what happens to us. Our hearts are deceitful, is a sin. We've gotta have people in the church, in the Bible study class, people we are vulnerable to, we're accountable to, that we've gave permission to them to come and break off that ice that ices your heart and mine. They have to keep crackin' that ice. When we get to high up, we have too much pride, then somebody has to come and exhort us and say, "Hey, wait a minute here. Wait a minute".

When we're so far down and we're depressed and we're no good, somebody has to come and encourage us. That's the responsibility of the Lucys in the church when we're Susans. And the responsibility of the Susans to give permission to the Lucys to help 'em when they're up too high, to level 'em off with all the ego and pride. And when they're down too low, and to love 'em and lift 'em and care for 'em and lift 'em up. Man, that's the ministry of a brother and sister in the church. And that's the reason the church is countercultural. Summarize it, and we're gonna be walkin' in a countercultural culture for weeks ahead as we continue to look at this tremendous teaching of Jesus. Let me just say it just clear as I can say it. Countercultural living equals happiness every single time.
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