Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How Do We Step Into and Out of Anger?...{Finding Sanctuary - 6}

Sorry for the late posting.  The internet has. been. slow. and. would. not. load!  But, here it is, quite long - if you like to skip right down to the Greek word studies, scroll down till you see the bold and italicized Greek words for anger...from there down is where you will find the word study and the steps in and out...

A good thing to remember as we think about how we relate to others, plus a peaceful image to encourage us through a tough study...

A Study on Ephesians 4:26, 31-32

When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down. Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind).  And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.                                                                          Ephesians 4:26, 31-32 Amplified Bible

The entire passage of Ephesians 4 tells us that the effectiveness of the Holy Spirit in our lives is reflected in how we treat others.  We show if we are  plugged in to the power of the Holy Spirit within us (or not) by our treatment of those around us, especially our family and including ourselves.

Again, our attitudes toward each other reflects how effective we are allowing the Holy Spirit within us to be.

Wounds and offences from the actions of others are part of the tribulation of living in a fallen world; they are inevitable.  However, God has provided a way for us to find relief from the consequences of these realities through the act of forgiveness.

In Matthew 6:12, Jesus says, “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors”.  In verses 14 and 15 He further states, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins…We love because He first loved us.  If anyone says, `I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar, For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.  And he has given us this command; `Whoever loves God must also love his brother.’     1 John 4:10; 20-21 – This speech talks about unresolved hate developing into an inability to fully experience God’s love and express passionate love back to Him.  (You could say the ability to worship Him will be hindered.)

Our relationship with each other directly impacts our fellowship with God.  When brethren are at odds with each other, the Holy Spirit is grieved.

There are three main words in the Greek translated as “anger” in our New Testament.

            First is righteous anger – “ORGE”.  It is appropriate as long as we limit its intensity and
                                    duration.  This is the type of anger found in Ephesians 4:26a.

            Second is a simmering kind of anger - PARORGISMOS”.  This is the type of anger or 
                                 provocation that we should not let the sun go down on. It is an undercurrent 
                                 that is hidden and festers and grows.  When left unchecked, it can turn into…

            Third is a violent kind of anger – “THUMOS”.  It lashes out at someone else.  It is an 
                                 outburst of wrath from inward indignation.  It quickly blazes up and quickly
                                 subsides.  This  word is never translated anger, but as wrath.

Why do we have the third kind?  Usually because that other person has violated a boundary which we have established (whether we have formally identified the boundary or not) and we have not addressed the issue with the individual.

Verse 31 contains the steps into bitterness, the process beginning with malice and moving eventually into brimming over bitterness.
Verse 32 contains the steps out.

There are six key words in verse 31 (and the original Greek word is included):

1.                  bitterness (PIKREA),
2.                  wrath (THUMOS),
3.                  anger (ORGE),
4.                  clamor (or brawling – depending on your translation of the Bible) (KROWGAY),
5.                  slander (BLASPHEME), and
6.                  malice (KAKIA).

1.                  Malice is a condition of depravity or badness defined as “malignity” if it is active in action  and as “trouble” if it is passive in action.  Malice is “Kak-ee’-ah” in Greek (such a fitting sounding word!).  Malice comes from our old carnal nature.  When the presence of malice is revealed, we can bring this place of our heart to Jesus for regeneration and healing.

2.                  If we don’t handle the malice, it moves into evil speaking, gossip and/or slander.

                  Slander (“blas-feem” in Greek) means:  to speak something, wrong or true, about another
                  individual with the purpose of hurting that person’s reputation. (Webster’s)

3.                  Now if we don’t arrest the slander, we experience clamor.

                        Clamor (“krow-gay” in Greek) means:
              a.                   to demand, to complain, to gripe (Webster’s)
              b.                  A cry, outcry, clamor, vociferation.  A cry of sorrow, wailing, lamentation.
                                                                                    (Perschbacher’s Greek Lexicon)
               c.                   An outcry (in notification, tumult or grief). (Strong’s 2906)
               d.                  An onomatopoeic word, imitating the raven’s cry.  Denotes an outcry; in Ephesians 
                             4:31 it signifies the tumult of controversy.        (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of 
                                                                                                                New Testament Words)

            We “clamor” because we are moving towards anger through believing the slander.  Through
            our outcry, we are motivating ourselves to “righteous indignation”.

4.                  If we don’t handle the clamor, it moves into ORGE anger.  Remember, ORGE is appropriate only as long as we limit its intensity and duration.  When ORGE becomes a more settled or abiding condition of mind, maybe with a view to taking revenge, an individual is well on their way to…

5.                  Wrath, or THUMOS, that more agitated condition of anger that precludes strong and quick outbursts which quickly subside, only to come forth once again if not checked.

6.   At anytime along the way we could have stopped the process, but left unchecked it automatically
moves into bitterness.   Bitterness means acridity, or poison (Strong’s 4088).  This is the final fruit of
a long harvest of fleshly activity.  It is a condition that is a state of being.  Just as poison is toxic to our bodies, bitterness is toxic to our lives.  It can contaminate those around us, and can cause us actual physical problems. 

When we have entered into bitterness, the individual you are struggling with begins to dominate your
            time and your attention.  It is the desire of harm towards another individual’s life.

We end up hurting ourselves more than we could ever hurt another.  We were not created to harbor these intense negative emotions; our bodies were not designed to endure the long term effects of such emotions  There is a high cost of getting even….

            Milton Layton in “Escaping the Hostility Trap” states: 
Anger that has developed into bitterness has been called the chief saboteur of the mind, a significant factor in the formation of many serious diseases, and the leading cause of misery, depression, inefficiency, sickness, accidents, loss of work time, and financial loss in industry.  No matter what the problem – interpersonal conflict, alcohol consumption, a child’s defiance, nervous or physical diseases – the elimination of hostility is a key factor in its solution.

There is physical cost – a chemical imbalance can occur that is the same as that which precludes the development of high blood pressure, ulcers, fatigue, headaches, and can even deepen the lines of your face!  And can even affect the health of our bones (Proverbs 17:22; 14:30).  Intense negative emotions can damage the health of our bones – medical science has discovered that the enzymes that the glands secrete cause the deterioration of the bones.

John Blender, author of “How to Live 365 Days of the Year”, writes that most of our physical illnesses are caused by intense wrong emotions that we have let dominate our heart.

There are emotional and mental consequences as well, such as depression, a certain mind set, destruction of relationships and self confidence, etc.


How do you stop verse 31?

1.   MAKE A CHOICE (Put it away in verse 31)
            Don’t wait until you feel better.  You will never feel like stopping, you must “do” until you “feel”.   We must make an unemotional decision which is dictated by our will.

2.  BE KIND (Verse 32)
            Demonstrate acts of love towards one another.  This is an act of the will, not based on any emotion. This is a kind of building treasure into another individual – “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  Before long, your emotion will be present, too.

            How do we do this, practically speaking?
1.                  Make a conscious choice to do acts of love.
2.                  Ask God to show you what to do.  Build treasure into the heart of the individual.
3.                  Be tenderhearted, one toward another.  This is a very vulnerable position – people are so inconsistent and unjust even in Christian circles.  Don’t become cynical or sarcastic about the spiritual things, don’t even joke about spiritual things, because it will change you – it will harden your heart to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

            You must choose tenderheartedness instead of hardness of heart.  When you do, even with those who have hurt you, He will give you the grace:
                        to forgive,
                        to see that person as God’s tool to deepen our spiritual life,
                        to see what has happened to us as a mirror of what we have done to God,
                        to act out of the forgiveness we have been forgiven with
                        to see His woundedness instead of our hurt –

                                                and it will change us.

Bless you if you have made it through this study!  I promised my brief study of Proverbs, but I think this is enough for one day, don't you?  I promise, by Friday!  Tomorrow will be a full day of appointments away from home, and I have to finish a sewing project before the morning...

Older posts in this series:
The Journey begins
A new tool, part 2
A new tool, part 3 
A new tool, part 4 
A Soft Answer, part 5