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Friday, August 16, 2013

Tim Keller On Anger

A friend sent me a sermon by Tim Keller on this passage of James 1:

"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.2But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. 26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world."
Here are some great quotes from the sermon:

“Anger is not sin...Cancerous anger is that which is quick, out of control and leads you to do things that afterward you wish you hadn’t done… What is the opposite of this anger?...The opposite of this anger is not self control… [it’s] humility.  you know how the two kinds of belly buttons, well there are two kinds of anger—innie anger is the  bitterness, keep it inside, hold the grudge…outtie anger is the flaring up, the blowing up.  If you’ve got a problem with either, your problem is not just ‘I’ve got to stop, I’ve got to stop’.  Pride is here…Here’s what turns anger cancerous here, when you release the anger to defend your pride…to save face…”
“Anger which is cancerous is being released because you, in your pride, are trying to control an uncontrollable universe.  And in particular, you are trying to preserve a spotless image of yourself, your pride…Anger by definition is to defend something.  But when you are defending the good, the true, other people, justice, it leads to righteousness.  But when you are releasing it to defend the spotless image of yourself, it turns cancerous. “
“Cancerous anger says I must not allow anyone to destroy my image of myself because if I were to accept what the gospel says I am…and here’s what the gospel says you are: you are a totally loved moral failure.  In Christ, you are totally loved, but you are a moral failure.  Nothing less than the death of the son of God could possibly save you.  But because He has died for you...forget yourself image, you are a sinner, you are a moral failure but you are absolutely loved.  An angry person is someone who denies that at the heart.  And if somebody tries to show that you’re a failure… you blow up: ‘no, it’s not my fault, it’s her fault, it’s his fault, it’s their fault, it’s God’s fault!’  And you blow because you cannot admit that you are really a moral failure…because if you admitted that, you wouldn’t be loved.  I’m either a moral failure or I am loved, I can’t be both.  The gospel says you can be both. An angry person says ‘I can’t be both’.  And therefore at the heart…is self righteousness, is pride.  It’s the reason you blow and it’s the reason you are bitter.  Why do you hold a grudge, only because you have forgotten how sinful you are.  You can’t think about your debt to Jesus and her or his debt to you at the same time… if you are not a listener, if you control situations, if you are an irritable person, you are going to be that way with God, you are not going to be able to let the Word of God come in.  Self righteousness a denial of the gospel of grace is what makes people angry and controlling instead of listening and accepting and if you are not a person who takes criticism well, if you are not a good listener, if people don’t want to come and tell you about their problems because they know you are a wonderful listener, it probably means you won’t get anything out of the Word of God either. “

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