“Dealing with Anger”
By Dr. Henry Brandt, Ph.D.

I’ve got a whole, long list of dirty tricks that people have played on me. That’s not my problem. My job is to love those guys that played dirty tricks on me. I have an illustration here of a lady who found out that her husband had been cheating on her for three years, and so we sat down in my office, and that lady was mad. I mean she was furious, and she wanted me to be mad at him, too. She was mad at him, but she was mad at me because I wasn’t mad at him. What are you gonna do? No, that’s not the point.

The point is that I need to love you both. God loves your husband as much as He loves you. So you’ve got two problems here. One is, what are you gonna do about your heart? And your husband has exposed your heart. You turned out to be a very mean, angry lady. “What about him?!!” He oughta get shot. But we’re not talking about him, we’re talking about you. You see, your heart is not related to his behavior, it’s only revealed by his behavior.

The condition of your heart is your problem, and so you need to face up to the fact that we got two problems here. What do we do about you, and then what do we do about your husband? Those are two unrelated problems. I had a lady come to me one time, she was mad. What happened was, her husband said in the morning, “I’m coming home for lunch.” That’s all he said, and she was gonna make a nice lunch out of it, so she got out her best dishes, and she cooked up some soup because he liked soup.

And he was a punctual guy. When he said he was coming home at 12 O’clock, he meant 12 “O” “O” he would be there. So she heated up the soup, and poured for 12 “O” “O” when he walked in with two nice hot bowls of soup. Before that she took a shower. She got all dressed up. She had some of her finest dishes, and finest silverware. Beautiful, up till now. Only one thing went wrong. He didn’t come. So there she sat, the soup was getting cold…she’s getting hot. Madder and madder.

Pretty soon, about 15 minutes later, the telephone rings, it’s her husband. He says, “I got busy, and so I couldn’t get out on time, but I’m coming right home, and I’m bringing a friend.” Can you see her? Slammed down that phone, pours the soup back into the pot, digs out another place setting. And they come in, and the fellow says, “No thanks, I don’t care for any soup.” That was the guest. The husband took one spoon-full of that hot soup, and went “Oh…why did you make it so hot for?”

He said to his buddy, “Let’s get outta here.” So they left, and they left this fuming woman behind. Beautiful, she smelled good; her perfume was still working right. She was mad. Beautiful, lovely, sweet-smelling, mean, nasty woman. In that mood, she had an appointment to see me. It just happened to be her day, and so I said to here, innocently, “You don’t have to get all upset about that.” And she said, “WHAT?! I suppose you want me to be happy!” Now there’s an obnoxious thought for ya. Happy!

Now you know people don’t always treat you right, do they? But you know, the message is that your heart is not related, and the condition of your heart does not depend on other people’s choices. The condition of your heart depends upon your choices. My wife’s behavior has nothing to do with my heart. My children, my business associates, their choices, will only reveal my spiritual condition, they will not cause them. Is that right?

So, if you’re here this morning, and you’re just not nice, and you know it, you may already have been incessant towards somebody already today. I talked to someone this morning. She said, “You know, I’ve been listening to you. I got up this morning, it was dark, and I didn’t want to bother the people, so I didn’t turn on any lights, and I bumped my head on our bed. I was mad before I turned the lights on. That’s pretty bad, isn’t it?

I mean, she came to tell me that, because she appreciated knowing that she didn’t have to be mad because she bumped her head with the lights out. That’s a wonderful message, isn’t it? I thought that was a great message.

Well now, anger is a deceptive kind of a thing. Here are some words that people use to describe their anger. I’m bitter. I’m mad, frustrated, griped, fed up, sore, excited, seething, annoyed, troubled, exasperated. What words like that describe anger?

Anger is energy, and then you think of some of the energies that people have to control in their angry. I am annihilated, I despise him, I’m scornful, I’m disdainful, I loath him, I nullify him, I curse him. I’m ruined, I’m demolished. I abhor him, I ridicule him, I laugh at him. I humiliate him. That’s the way people behave when they’re angry. I found out that you don’t have to live with that.

Now folks, you can read all kinds of books today. I was listening to an announcement in a local Christian radio that I was listening to when I was driving my car, and they were announcing that they were gonna have a special over the radio to teach people how to manage their anger. I think that’s serious. We’re buying that idea! It’s sweeping across the world, the Christian world. You can, if you aren’t careful, you’ll be having classes in your churches on how to manage your anger, and feel pretty pious about it, too. Finally we’ve got some help. Help for what?

Help for living with the terrible sin that God could cleanse your heart of. But you know sin is something that we don’t want to face. Anger is not a sin, they say. Anger is a powerful force. If handled properly, it can accomplish wonderful things for the Lord. I just want to warn you, I don’t think you’ll find that in the Bible. Now what you do find in the Bible, though, I think, are some other verses. Let me read you a few of these.

You know, we say God loves you, don’t we? When we start talking about interacting with people, we don’t want to have God’s love in our heart; we want to hang onto our angry response. Listen to this. It says, Jesus says to his disciples, “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.”This is Matthew 5:44. In Ephesians 5:25 it says, “Husbands, love your wives.” In Titus 2:4 it says, “Wives, love your husbands.” In Ephesians 6:4 it says, “Mothers and fathers, love your children.”

 In Matthew 22:39 it says, “Love your neighbor.” In 1 Peter 2:17 it says, “Love the brotherhood of believers.” In 1 Thessalonians 3:12 it says, “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other, and for everybody else.” If that’s all true, who is left for you to get mad at? No folks, we don’t want to be angry at people in the name of the Lord. We want to be loving people in the name of the Lord. I’m not talking about ignoring the problems of life, but “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son.” He wasn’t having a temper tantrum when he created that plan. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believieth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

God loves you is the theme that all of us are comfortable with. But, confessing your sins is also a theme that we need to remember. You don’t want to be walking around in your sins, and think you’re pleasing God. It says in Galatians chapter 5, “If you walk in the Spirit, you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.”

Well let’s look at the lusts of the flesh. In Galatians chapter 5 is a list. There were several lists in this book. I urge you to get this book, and get yourself a good picture of all that sin is in case you haven’t got one. In Galatians chapter 5, it says, “The works of the flesh are evident.” Now listen to these. Now the point I wanted…

(pause in the audio)

Paul, and he’s putting on top the three major problems that we have in our world today. Their solution to our venereal diseases: three sentences. “Do not commit adultery, do not commit fornication, and do not permit lewd thinking.” Three sentences are all we need.

And Jesus said the same thing; we’ll read that a little later, where He came up with the same list; a similar list.

Let me read you some more. “Idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealously, outbursts of wrath, selfish-ambition, dissension, heresy, envy, murder, drunkenness, revelry, works of the flesh.”

Now works of the flesh, what would be one word you’d use to describe the works of the flesh? Sin! You can put those all under the umbrella called sin, right? That’s not what the pysch book says. The psych book says that anger and resentment and joy and love are human emotions. Now, are we dealing with human emotions?

The Bible says that anger, and resentment, and hatred are works of the flesh. That means sin. That means there is no human remedy. Now there is a human way to manage those kinds of sins, but there is no human remedy for sin. Love and joy and peace are normal human emotions, says the psych book. The Bible calls them fruits of the spirit of God. Are we just dealing with normal humanity? Listen, if you want to walk in the Spirit, you must deal with God.

If you want to get rid of your sins, you must deal with God. There is no human help for you. If you want relief you can go to a human being to help you. If you want cleansing you must go to God. It’s that simple. And we’ve gotten it pretty complicated haven’t we? I know that there are people in this audience, you’ve told me so, you’ve got your tranquilizing medicines right in your purse right now. And the reason for it is that you don’t want to get rid of your sins. You want to live with your sins, and therefore, we look to the world for help, and the world can help.

One lady that came to see me, she was a very hostile person, and she knew how to use the world to help her. The things that she used were golf and tennis. She was a good tennis player, and a good golf player. Now she played golf to work off her tensions. She played with some people who were playing golf for fun, but she wasn’t playing golf for fun. She was working off her tensions. She’d go out on the tennis court, and she was a good tennis player, but she wasn’t playing tennis for the fun of it, she was playing tennis to make her life livable.

Well, when you use tennis like that for that reason, you see, her buddies didn’t know the difference. You know what she said to me? “I’m sick and tired of pretending to my friends that I’m happy. I’m playing tennis to get happy. They’re playing tennis because they are happy.” Big difference.

Well you can turn to the world for relief. You can get involved with music, you can loose yourself in a book, you can loose yourself in a study program, you can loose yourself in the work program. You can even loose yourself in a church program in working off your tension.

I can design you a program that if you will follow it, you can live through life reasonably content. We are getting better, and better, and better at helping people live with their sins. We keep studying that problem, we will improve. I hope you’re not depending upon the world to keep you going. If it’s sin, there is no human help, right? But you know, if it’s sin, that’s the simplest problem in the world. It doesn’t take God three months to take care of your sins. You can drop your sins before you get out of this room.

If you enter the presence of God all by yourself, and the conditions are you must own your own sins.

“This is Henry, I’m mad at Eva, because she is doing what she’s supposed to do, instead of what I want. I’m stubborn, and I’ve been rebellious, and hostile, and Lord, here I am three and a half exits down the road. It’s all my fault, and I’m sorry.”

That’s how you gotta enter into the presence of God.

“Not only that, I’m ready to repent, and will you cleanse me? And fill me back up again with your love.”

Then I said to Eva, “You know what? I think we’re headed in the right direction.”

You couldn’t have pulled me off of that road with a tow truck up until then. And now, the happiest thought I had is, where’s the next exit?

In order to get your sins taken care of, the next question is, “Who can I cooperate with?” Although, if you don’t, the answer is, “Leave me alone. You mind your own business, and let me mind my own business.”

Well, when you repent, you’re sorry, and you want to heal your relationships. Then we talk about pleasing God. You don’t talk about pleasing God when you’re mad. Well, I’m not sure how to end this…well, I guess I’ll just have to….well, you can end it for me.