We're turning to Ephesians, the book of Ephesians, and we will be referring to several scriptures as we go along - but this is just a bit of a springboard for us to start with tonight. Ephesians 4 verses 26 and 27: "'Be angry, and do not sin': do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil". Let's read that again: "'Be angry, and do not sin': do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil".
Let's pray, and as we pray I want you to pray now - OK? And what I want you to be praying for is that God would speak to you on this subject - but, do you know something? Here's the thing about God: you can speak on one subject, and He can speak to somebody about a totally different subject - did you know that? That's true! So be prepared: He can just come at you from any angle and touch a particular area of your life, even if the preacher isn't talking about it at all. I've had people say to me: 'Do you remember when you said that?', and I didn't say it at all, I don't know where they heard it - but it must have been the Holy Spirit, because I didn't say it. So God can speak to you in whatever area - if anger is not your problem - but do you know what He can do tonight? He can show you that anger is your problem, and you didn't realise it. OK? That's the way it is for a lot of people: they don't realise that there is a deep anger within them that has never really been pinpointed or dealt with. Now, are you open to God tonight? I hope we've got a crowd of people here this evening that are ready for God just to put His finger on anything, and you're ready to sit up and look at what has to be taken account of. Is that OK?
Let's pray to that end, so I want you to pray: 'Lord, speak to me, speak to me about anger, speak to me about anything that You need to talk to me about tonight' - will you do that? Let's unite our hearts in prayer: Father, we worship You, we praise You, we adore You for Your great love and Your goodness to us. We thank You for that great demonstration of Your love at the cross, where Jesus suffered and endured the pain and the penalty and punishment for all of our weakness, our fallenness, our sin and our selfishness. We thank You that at the cross He put those things to death, He dealt with them once and for all. We thank You that at the cross, that He even defeated death itself. We thank You that on the cross, He defeated the devil, and hell, and the consequences of our sins. Lord, we pray tonight that the full ramifications of what Jesus did, Your Son, on the cross, and the power of His resurrection, and the efficacy of His ascension, and the outpouring of His Spirit would be manifested in this place tonight. Lord, deliver us from talking about things that happened hundreds and thousands of years ago, but not actually living in the fullness of the power of it tonight. We want that power, Lord, to be demonstrated in lives that are set free. I ask You, Lord, and I declare tonight by faith, that there will be people set free from anger in this very meeting; there will be people whose minds, whose hearts, and whose behaviours, and even their very bodies will be set free from disease that has been afflicted upon them because of anger. So come, Lord, and do what You alone can do, in the mighty name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, we pray, Amen.
Amen? OK. Anger has become a taboo subject within the church. I suppose there is a sense in which 'anger' is a dirty word. If you like, it's the black sheep of the emotions to most Christians - and, if we're honest, a lot of us would want to ban anger from our lives and from the church, particularly if we've had difficult experiences with angry, prickly people. I want to say to you right from the outset, this is going to be a massive healing for some of you before we even address anger: you need to know that that attitude toward anger is wrong. Are you hearing that? You see, an attitude that thinks anger is sinful can contribute to false guilt in our lives, because when we feel angry then we feel shameful for feeling it. It can lead to a tendency - because anger is a bad thing, we think - we push it down, we suppress the anger, and there are grave and dangerous consequences when we do that.
Now, of course there are some aggressive people, and they wear their anger on their sleeve - and actually those people (though I'm not advocating that you become like them) those people are probably more emotionally and mentally healthy because they find an expression for their emotion. Whereas there are others, particularly in the church, who deny the emotion of anger, and they bury it. Here's what happens: it either erupts in an unpredictable way and time, out of control; or it begins to destroy you internally, from the inside out, in many, many different ways. I cited even in my prayer that that can even be manifested in physical illness.
So what you've got is - if you've got the perception that anger is always wrong - you could have a passive-aggressive anger, where it is buried and you don't express it the way you should; or you could have an explosive anger, and everybody gets it. OK? I don't know what you fit into, but what I will say tonight is: often Christians have a repressed anger - do you understand what I mean? They have pushed it down, denied it, and because of that they have repressed it and not allowed themselves to express it, and it is hurting them. Now, yes, anger is powerful, it is very very potent, but anger is not sinful per se - that means on its own. You must hear this, because some of us - especially Christians - are in bondage. We feel that we cannot be angry, we cannot express our anger because it's wrong, it's sinful, it's displeasing to God - when, in fact, the truth of the matter is, and what the Bible teaches is: anger is neutral.
Are you hearing this? I have spoken to you on previous occasions and referred to fear and sex, and I've spoken about how both of those are gifts from God. Fear, remember we spent a whole night on it, fear is there to protect us. I've used the analogy many times: walking across the road, we look both ways in case we get run over; when we're putting a log on the fire, we're careful in case we get burned. God has given us fear to protect us, the problem comes when fear ceases to be our servant and becomes our master, and we won't light a fire in case the house burns down, or we won't go out the front door in case we get hit by a car - do you see? It becomes our master. Equally so, sexuality is a gift from God. God had the first sex thought, God devised it - I don't want to be too graphic, but you know what I'm trying to say - it was God's idea! He had pleasure in the thought of us having pleasure, and it is a gift from God - but it is very powerful. Just like fear, it is powerful, and the enemy knows how he can pervert it and use it against the human race.
Now, anger is similar. It is neutral, it is actually given as a gift from God, but the enemy knows how powerful it really is. As this slide just says: 'Anger is only one letter short of 'danger''. That's why a lot of you have probably had the misguided perception that anger is always wrong. You avoid being angry, and you avoid angry people. But we need to remember something, and it is fundamental to everything we're going to say tonight: God is angry. Now, you're very rarely going to get an 'Amen' for that one. You know, 'God is love', oh, yes, yes; 'God is gracious'; but 'God is angry' - Amen? Let's have an 'Amen'! Amen, hallelujah, God is angry. Well, you see, we have such a perception that there is something fallen or depraved in our anger that we don't like to think of God as angry, because it seems to be nasty, distasteful. But here's where the problem is: it's with us, with our concept of anger.
Psalm 7 verse 11 says that 'God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day'. So if God is angry, it's OK to be angry! Now, we know His anger is perfect anger, perfect wrath. What I want you to understand is: His anger does not cancel out His love. So there is no contradiction when we say 'God is absolute love, but He is also angry'. The reason why He is angry is because He is love, because He loves us He is angry against sin, He is angry against things that will destroy us, that will damn our souls for all eternity - that's why God is angry! But the wonderful thing about God is: all His attributes are in total equilibrium at every given point - do you know what I mean? He can be love and anger at the same time, and He doesn't contradict Himself. Now we find that difficult, because we're not God, but what I want you to understand tonight is: God is angry, and it's OK.
Does that remind you of a biblical story? What is it? It's Jesus cleansing the Temple. Do you know what He did? A lot of people don't realise that this was not an angry explosion of violence when He rid the Temple of the money changers, but in fact it was premeditated anger. Did you know that? Did you know that the night before Jesus did that, He sat and thought about it, and He wove together - look at the chronology of the Gospels - He wove together the leather whip. He thought about it, He didn't lose His temper, He thought about it, and He went in and the anger of God was expressed by Him. Now, He didn't whip people, but it seems that He might have whipped the animals, and He upended the money changers, and He drove them out of the Temple. It says in John chapter 2 that when the disciples saw these things they remembered what was written: 'The zeal of Thy house has eaten Me up'. In other words, 'I'm getting angry because I'm seeing sacrilege in Your Temple'.
Sometimes we as Christians get angry about things that are wrong, and we ought to get angry. But what I really want you to see is: Jesus was often angry at hypocrisy, especially religious hypocrisy - I'm going to tell you, that is one of the top ten things that makes me angry, religious hypocrisy, and I was a religious hypocrite - OK? I might still be one in certain areas that God needs to deal with - but that is something that made Jesus very angry. He was very angry at wickedness. We don't think of Him like that - why? Because it's uncomfortable for us, and often it's uncomfortable for us because we have a misconception about anger. We have been created with the emotional capacity to be angry as an emotional response. It is God-given, God has it, Jesus expressed it, and you must allow yourself to be angry. The question is: do you?
This is where the shackles come off right away for some of you, because some of you have forbidden yourself, you have made an ungodly vow: 'I will not get angry or express my anger'. The irony of that is: some of you have done it under the illusion of holiness, or being a good Christian. 'I will not allow myself to get angry' - that's wrong, and you need to see it as wrong! Now, don't misunderstand me: anger, as we have said, is one letter away from 'danger'. It has great potential to do damage. The problem is not anger on its own, the problem is what we do with it and how we express it. That's why, in our reading tonight, 'Do not let the sun go down upon your anger', this is why it is vital that we do not believe the lie - what is the lie of the devil? That we cannot deal with anger, just leave it alone, bury it, and it will go away, and there will be no consequences - that is a lie of the devil, do you hear that?
Now, I forgot, but I was going to do an illustration tonight of a glass and a jug of water, and I was going to fill up the glass bit, by bit, by bit, speaking of anger. Then it gets to the surface level, the very top, the very lip of the glass, and you know it only takes one drop of water to cause that glass to overflow - that tells us that you cannot bury your anger without consequences. Eventually there will just be one little, seemingly insignificant incident that will cause your whole anger to erupt. Now, if you're married, you might know a wee bit about this, alright? So the men might leave their socks or their underwear lying on the bedroom floor or something like that, and the wives go through the roof - but it may not necessarily be about the laundry, it may be about something else, and the laundry was the last straw. Yes? So we need to understand that you cannot just file away anger and hope it goes away, it needs to be dealt with.
Now, I'm going to answer three questions for you tonight to help you see the answer to anger. The first question is: what is anger? The second is: what made me angry? What made you angry? The third is: how do I deal with my anger? OK, first of all: what is anger? Do you understand what anger is? Let me give you three things that hopefully will help you understand what anger is. The first thing is: it is God-given. Anger is given to us by God as an emotional release. It is an emotion God has given us, but it is given to us so that we might release - it's like a release valve. We use the expression, don't we: 'Letting off steam'. It's like the pressure cooker, if you don't let off the steam, it explodes, the lid blows off! That's the way we are with anger if we don't express it - by the way, emotions were meant to be emoted, the clue is in the name: they are meant to come out, they are meant to be released! So when we don't release them at the time and at the event that we feel them, there is damage that is done - do you know that? It is healthy to express yourself at the time and the moment of an event that makes you angry. Now, we will learn a little bit later that not every expression of anger is permissible, but we are meant to express it at the time.
So: what is anger? It is God-given, and you've got to get to that place of actually recognising that anger is neutral, in and of itself it is not sin, but it is a gift from God. Now, are you all there? I'm not sure about that one. What is anger? Secondly: it is a signal or a warning that is sending us a message, just like the light on your dashboard, telling us that something deeper needs attention. Now, I know that there are some people - I'm not suggesting that there is anyone here tonight - but, for the MOT, if there is a wee light showing, you'll go to the mechanic and ask him to change the bulb. Some do that, around our country they do that anyway, to get it through the test - please don't do that! But that would be ridiculous, especially in our lives, if we tried to remedy the anger - OK - but not the deep down issue that is causing the anger. So the anger is necessarily the problem, the anger is the warning sign and signal that there is a deeper problem that needs attention.
Now, that being said, there are thoughts and attitudes that could contribute to our anger that are sinful - but we need to be cognisant of unresolved hurts, issues, past occurrences that cause us to feel anger and affect how we think about ourselves, how we think about others, and even how we think about God. So if you're angry tonight, and you're able to admit it, you've got to see that it's a flashing light telling you that something deeper needs attention. So: one, anger is God-given; two, it's a signal or warning; and thirdly, we must distinguish between the anger which is neutral, and sin which is contributing to the anger, and sin that is resulting from the anger. Are you with me?
So there is the surgeon's scalpel, and the word of God and the Spirit of God are masterful at doing this: dividing soul, from spirit, bone, and marrow, being the distinguisher of the thoughts and the intents of the heart. So you've got to look and say: 'Right, I'm angry, and the anger itself is OK per se; but if it's out of control, or if I'm expressing it in the wrong way, where is sin mixed in here?'. You've got to allow the scalpel of the Holy Spirit to say to you: 'Well, this is sin. You're angry about this, but sin has contributed to this, and this is a sinful way that you are expressing and venting your anger'. OK? So, what is anger? God-given; it's a warning sign; but you must distinguish between the neutral emotion of anger, and where sin has contributed to it, and where sin has come as a result.
Now, second question: what has made me angry? Now many of you tonight may be able to say: 'Oh, I know exactly what it is', but some of you will not. Now, I have to acknowledge tonight some teaching from Ellel Ministries, which has been tremendously helpful in delineating various contributors to making us angry. There are nine here, or so, listen to them carefully, you might want to jot them down. One of the major ways that we become angry, and one of the underlying causes of anger is injustice, OK? The scales are not fair, do you understand? Now, each of us, whether we're Christians or not, we've all been given a God-given, inbuilt sense of right and wrong, a sense of justice. When there is injustice we can become angry.
I want you to turn with me to 2 Samuel chapter 12, 2 Samuel 12 verse 1 - are you ready? Now, just to bring you up to speed here, the last verse of chapter 11, it says at the very end: 'the thing that David had done displeased the LORD'. What did David do? What was the thing that David did? Well, David committed adultery with Bathsheba, and it didn't please the Lord. If you're committing adultery, fornication tonight, it doesn't please the Lord. Also, add to that: he got the fellow murdered that the woman he was committing adultery with was married to - Uriah. He put him at the forefront of the battle, and he had him slain. This displeased the Lord. Then Nathan the prophet comes, verse 1 of chapter 12: 'The LORD sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him: 'There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him''. Do you see this? Nathan is telling a parable: there is this guy, and he treats this lamb like a baby, he feeds it like a baby, it's the only one he's got. The rich fellow has a visitor who comes, and the rich fellow who has all these flocks, he slays the little lamb of this man who has only the one lamb and treats it like a daughter. Now, look at the reaction of David in verse 5: 'So David's anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, 'As the LORD lives, the man who has done this shall surely die!''.
Now we know, because verse 7 says, Nathan says to David: 'You are the man! You're the guy we're talking about! You've stolen another man's wife, you could have had any woman in the kingdom, but you stole his wife and you've killed him!'. But what I want you to see is: David, even in his sin, had an innate sense of injustice, that this was wrong, what this rich man did - killing the poor man's little lamb. So all of us can be aroused within ourselves when we hear of an injustice. Maybe you turn the radio on in the morning, and you hear of an old lady or an old man, a pensioner who has had their house broken into, or they have been beaten up - and even the hardest among us will feel a sense of anger and injustice. But when things happen to us, injustices - maybe you're here tonight, and you're saying: 'What happened to me was not fair, it just wasn't!'. Whatever that is, it's not fair, and it makes you angry.
The second contributor to anger is betrayal. Here we see on the screen relational betrayal, which is everywhere, even right throughout the church. Whatever the relationship might be where there has been betrayal, there will be a sense of broken trust. You find it difficult to trust people because you're angry with what happened. You feel you have been disrespected, loyalty has broken down - maybe in your present relationship or past ones - and you find it hard to cultivate that now in the present. Your confidence has been knocked. Maybe out of betrayal, you're angry against third parties, other people who were involved in that whole incident, people who didn't take your side but took your betrayer's side. Maybe you're even angry at yourself? I've heard this so many times, people saying: 'How stupid was I! I was taken for a ride there! I was made such a fool of!', and you become angry against yourself. Or maybe you're angry because you weren't believed when you were telling others about the betrayal, or maybe it was abuse and you spoke about it and the nearest and dearest to you didn't believe you, maybe even punished you. Maybe some of you even feel a sense of betrayal from God? Yes, people feel God was at fault because He allowed this to happen - that's what we say, it's not very accurate, but that's often the way we feel, and that's what we say: 'How could You allow this to happen to me, this injustice, this betrayal?'. We get angry even at God.
Injustice, betrayal, and then thirdly: failure. It doesn't have to just be exams, it can be any form of failure - and all of us have faced it at some time or another. Do you remember Naaman, the great captain in the Syrian army? He had leprosy, and the little girl told him about the prophet Elisha, that he could help him. He goes to Elisha's door, and Elisha - very rude, we might say - never even came to the door! He just sent a message out and said: 'Go and bathe seven times in the Jordan River'. Now, Naaman knew that the Jordan was a dirty, stinking river - he says: 'We have far better rivers where I come from, why would I want to do that?'. It says in 2 Kings 5:11, listen: 'Naaman became furious, and went away and said, 'Indeed, I said to myself, 'He will''' - this is the prophet - '''He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand''' - or clap his hands - '''over the place, and heal the leprosy'''. He got angry because of the failure of his expectations of another. Has that ever happened to you, where others have failed to meet your expectations of them? You might be justified, it might be a Mum and a Dad, or a spouse, or something else, an authority figure, and they have let you down. You feel rejected when that happens, you know. I know we spent a whole night looking at 'Rejection', but that's often when we feel rejected, when someone has failed us that we had expectations of.
But then there are some of us, and it's our own failures that are the problem. We can be, perhaps, a bit of a perfectionist, an introspective, and we have failed to meet our own expectations of ourselves - whatever that might be, in academia or career, or even religiously speaking. Do you know what that leads to? That leads to self-rejection, you start to loathe yourself for not being good enough or up to the right standard. Then there are failures in expectations of God: 'God didn't do this when we asked Him, He didn't come through when we needed Him, my back was against the wall and He wasn't there for me', as we said earlier, 'Why has He allowed this to happen? Or why didn't He make that happen?' - and so the failure of expectations from God creates, as it were, a barrier between us and God because we think He has rejected us. So, in effect, we withdraw from Him lest we get rejected all over again.
A fourth contributor to anger is affronts to our personal values. What am I talking about? When someone offends us, maybe it's a belief system we have - we Christians are brilliant at this! We get horrified! Maybe it's an opinion that we have, and somebody contradicts our opinion, or shares theirs. Maybe it's a conviction we have: we believe something is true, and someone affronts that value that we have, and we get all angry. Can I just say to you tonight that this is one of the reasons why the world thinks we are all prickly pears, and we're a bit difficult to get on with as Christians - because we're always looking down our noses at them, and condemning them for the way that they're living. Now, we have to speak the truth, but we have to speak the truth in love. 'By this shall all men know that you are My disciples: that you love one another', that's what the Bible says - but what is the emotion that often characterises us as Bible-believing Christians? Anger. Now, don't misunderstand me: we ought to be angry at a lot of the stuff that is going on in our world, but the world is not meant to know us by our anger, they are meant to know us by our love.
Oh, we could spend all night talking about this one in our own land - what? How we are experts at offence, and keeping offence, and keeping scores, and the tit-for-tat - I mean, it's huge, it goes back centuries, doesn't it? We're still doing it, because we have learned to do it by default, we could do it in our sleep! Even the churches - forget about the whole Catholic, Protestant, Nationalist, Unionist thing - just take the churches: how we are experts at falling out with one another because we get so offended when someone takes a view that is not our view. I'll leave that one, or it will take over!
Fifthly: frustration - ever been frustrated? Frustration comes when progress towards a personal goal is blocked. That has happened to me, and it has contributed to near breakdown - where you felt you had to go a certain way, and there were people standing in your way, and you couldn't get there, and you just went into a sort of meltdown. Well, we have it in the Bible, it's not a very commendable incident, but in 1 Kings 21 - you don't have to turn to it - but, you remember a man called Ahab, he was married to Jezebel, we spent a lot of time talking about her in January, Jezebel. Well, Ahab was married to Jezebel, and he liked a vineyard that belonged to a chap called Naboth. It was his only vineyard, and it was his inheritance from his family. Ahab was the King, he could have whatever he wanted - a bit like David and Bathsheba and all the rest - and he wanted Naboth's vineyard. He went to Naboth and he said: 'Give me your vineyard, and I will give you anything else you want'. This is a very interesting statement that Naboth says: 'You will not have my inheritance. I don't care who you are, you will not have my inheritance' - I like that! We ought never to give up to the enemy the inheritance that God has given to us in our families, in this life, and in eternal life in the blessings and inheritance of God.
But listen to what happened when Naboth said no: 'So Ahab went into his house sullen and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him; for he had said, 'I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers'. And he lay down on his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no food'. Then Jezebel comes to him and says: 'What's wrong?', and then she says, 'I'll sort him out!' - that was a paraphrase there. She did sort him out. But what I want you to see is how, whenever our own personal goals, what we want, is thwarted - whether it's right or wrong by the way, it doesn't really matter - when what we want is thwarted, how we can become angry. Now, confession is good for the soul, I'm told, so I'm going to confess: I don't often get angry, alright? Honestly, even talk to my kids - maybe don't talk to the kids, but talk to the wife - I don't get that angry, and I don't erupt in anger. But there is one thing that makes me angry: it's whenever my wife asks me to do some DIY - and I'm quite calm and collected when I start it, but if it's not going well I feel anger rising up in me (I'm serious) like nothing else in all of life's experience for me. It's just the way it goes for me. If it goes wrong, and I put the hole in the wrong place, or the shelf is crooked, or whatever it is - that will really get me going. Now, I usually turn internal when I'm angry - I don't shout and rant and rave, I usually go quiet, I might throw the toolbox down a bit or punch the wall or something like that - but I try not to exhibit my anger. What I'm trying to say is that we've all got our particular red button, haven't we? Something that makes us angry. When I don't get to the DIY goal the way I want to, it really frustrates me. What is your particular contributor to anger and frustration?
The next is rejection. Now we spend a whole night on rejection, we're not going to repeat ourselves, but rejection will make you angry because you feel devalued, you feel shamed, maybe confused: 'Why did my Mum not want me?', 'Why did wife or husband leave me?'. Because of rejection we get angry, and that's OK - we've just got to be aware of why that's happening. Sometimes we are made to feel guilty because we have been rejected. Someone once said that when we are red with rage, it can cover up our blushing with shame. It's interesting: when we are red with rage, it can sometimes cover up our blushing with shame. If there are things that we feel guilty about or shamed about, sometimes we can become angry to even cover that up. Now that's not directly related to rejection, I'm just adding that in there. If we feel guilty, we can become angry to cover up the guilt.
The seventh contributor is unhealed hurts. So current anger, what you're feeling right now, can often be rooted in the past. It can be childhood hurts, pain, unresolved issues. That's why Paul says: 'Do not let the sun go down on your anger' - sort the thing out before midnight or sundown so that it won't be carried into the next day and be harder to deal with. There are actually biological things happen to you when you carry something through to the next day. Don't ask me exactly what it is, but I know there is stuff goes on in the brain that makes it difficult second day. Unhealed hurts.
Eighth: behavioural patterns. That can be the result of environmental factors, where you have seen certain behaviours and so you have imbibed them, learned behaviours. So if Daddy got mad at Mummy, or Mummy got mad at Daddy, or reacted in a certain way to certain issues, or if you were heavily disciplined in a very physical or verbally abusive way; you might feel it that is appropriate to do to your children. So there can be behavioural patterns that are a result of environmental factors. There can be defence mechanisms that you have learned, and they helped you at one point in your life but you've carried them on - defence mechanisms that exhibit anger in a wrong way. There can be control mechanisms involved in anger. What I mean by that is simply: do you use anger - as a behavioural pattern - do you use anger to get your own way? Now, when do we learn to do that? When we're standing in the supermarket going: 'I want those sweets' - you know, toddler tantrum! We learn that emotional exhibition can get us what we want at times.
Ninth: demonic influence. We've covered injustice, betrayal, failure, affronts to our personal values, rejection, unhealed hurts, behavioural patterns, and demonic influence. What did verse 27 of chapter 4 of Ephesians say? Verse 26 says: 'Do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil'. The word 'place' there means 'give a foothold' or 'give an opportunity' to the devil. The word for 'foothold' is 'topos' in Greek, which means actually where the rock climber would have put his toe as he is climbing up a rock, or where he would put his hand into a crevice. Do not give the devil an inch to get a hold in your life through anger, it's in the context of talking about anger.
If you were to go to Genesis chapter 4, there is a story there about Cain and Abel. You remember that God received Abel's sacrifice of a lamb, but He wouldn't receive Cain's sacrifice of vegetables. In chapter 4 of Genesis verse 6 and 7, listen to this: 'The LORD said to Cain, 'Why are you angry?'' - Cain was angry that God wouldn't receive his sacrifice - ''And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well'', listen to this phrase, ''sin lies at the door''. Now do you know what the terminology there is? Literally: sin is crouching at the doorway. That's a very unusual expression to describe sin, because we think of sin as an impersonal thing: breaking the law of God. We don't think of it as a person - but God's word is saying right at the very beginning that when we choose to sin, specifically here it was Cain's wrath, his anger, that it was as if there was a beast, a demonic beast sitting at the gateway; that he had allowed the enemy to enter through wilful sin, that there was something ready to pounce on him. God said: 'Sin lies at the door, it is crouching at your doorway, and its desire is for you, but you should rule over it'.
Now I wonder what the entry points are in your life where something demonic that is crouching at your door is just waiting to pounce and get a hold over you? Is it anger, like Cain? It's just waiting. Maybe because you have engaged in ungodly anger over many many years, the enemy has got on top of your life, and he is empowering that anger against others and to your own detriment. Now, listen: the enemy can get on board even if we just shut down our anger. You know what we talked about the very beginning, if we repress it, if we push it down, if we store it up, we are actually giving the enemy a right - but especially he will get a foothold in our lives if we are using anger in order to control or intimidate others. Some graphic ways of doing that are through blackmail, there are others who actually engage in voodoo - where they get wee doll, and through witchcraft they start to stab the doll and try to get control over another person. Others go and get curses put upon people, they cast spells upon people to try and get what they want. I don't know if that's what you're doing, or have ever done.
Some people, it's just simply that they're trying to remedy anger in the wrong way - that's enough to give the devil a foothold in your life. You could go to anger management, I'm not saying that's always a bad thing to do, I'm just saying: if you go to anger management classes or counselling, but you don't deal with the real issues of deep hurt within you, it will not work! It will put you in greater bondage perhaps. Do you know something? Angry kids are often now being encouraged to go and do martial arts: 'Channel your anger into something controlled and disciplined' - but there is a problem there. Twofold: they are not dealing with the deep down issues that are contributing to their anger; and secondly, by engaging in false religious practices (that's what martial arts are) they actually open themselves up to a supernatural power of anger that is demonic. That's why people can do things in martial arts that are not natural. Some people are inheritors of secret societies in their families, or even themselves have been participators in it. Take Freemasonry, for instance. I know that often people who have been involved in Freemasonry, or there has been an inheritance of Freemasonry, there can be a very explosive anger in their personality.
But if you're sitting here tonight, and you say: 'Look, there are just times when I don't know what possesses me' - have you ever said that? Have you ever felt like that? Now, we've all got angry, we've all lost our temper, but if this is a regular occurrence, if there is a character trait in your life and you're saying: 'I don't know what comes over me, I don't know what possesses me', it may well be that there is a demonic influence of anger in your life. Anger is neutral, we said, but the enemy can take it and use it.
Now, finally, how do I deal with my anger? Well, your anger will manifest in many ways as we've said, but the important thing is not to suppress it. It's like trying - think of a blown up football in a swimming pool, and you're trying to push it under the water: it will forcibly reappear over and over again, no matter how many times you push it down. It's the same with anger. So, here are ways not to express your anger: you shouldn't do it through violence; you shouldn't do it through control; you shouldn't do it through criticism or perfectionism, turning in on yourself, that will very quickly become depression. You ought not to take your anger out directly on other people, on objects, vandalism, or on animals - don't kick the cat and the dog! We ought not to shift the blame away from ourselves to others. We ought not to self-harm, or abuse substances, or comfort eat. Some people even exercise to deal with their anger. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with exercise, but the problem comes when you're not dealing with the issues that are contributing to your anger.
So here's the thing I will say to you tonight, and this is core to dealing with your anger - are you ready? Two words: be real. OK? Be real about your anger. So, the first thing is: to be real you need to confess the problem, admit that you've got a problem. Christians are not good at admitting that they are angry, for all the aforementioned reasons that we said at the very beginning. There is a stigma with the concept of anger, we're not meant to be angry as Christians, we think. So we're not good as Christians at saying: 'I am angry, I am really angry - and here's why'. But the church is also not good at listening to angry people. I mean, think of the role-play: someone comes up to you on Sunday morning and says, 'I'm angry', I mean, what do you do? You usually will back off, or will distract them: 'Oh, it's a lovely day, isn't it? That was a nice service!'. Or we'll make them feel guilty, and we will look down on them and say: 'Oh no, you don't want to be angry. Now be careful what you say, think before you speak', and all that type of stuff. But what if someone comes up to you or me in church, or the pastor, and says: 'I'm annoyed', or 'I'm really hurt'. We might set them down and say: 'Oh, would you like some ministry, talk it out there, talk it out'. When somebody says: 'I'm angry!', we run!
I want to say this to you: you need to tell God how angry you are - have you ever done that? 'Oh, that's terrible! Imagine telling God how angry you are!' - this is alright! Do you not know: He already knows how angry you are! Did that bypass you? He reads your heart, He knows what's deep down there, He knows what's happened to you all through your life. He knows the wrongs, the injustices, the betrayals, the rejection, etc etc. He knows, and He knows it's buried in there, and He wants you to be real. He wants you to confess it, because He knows it's deep down there and it needs to come out. Tell God how angry you are, whatever the tone is, whatever it sounds like. I know this is uncharted waters for you, but this is in the Bible. There is no better outlet for your anger than in the presence of God. Do you believe that?
Turn with me to Psalm 88 - you listen to how the psalmist talks to God here. If some of these verses weren't in the Bible, we wouldn't believe it. Look at verse 10 of Psalm 88: 'Will You work wonders for the dead?'. What that really means is: 'Lord, I'm looking a miracle, but it isn't any good when I'm in the grave! I'm dying here! I'm dying, Lord, what are You going to do? A miracle after I'm dead? I need it now!'. 'Shall the dead arise and praise You? Shall Your lovingkindness be declared in the grave? Or Your faithfulness in the place of destruction? Shall Your wonders be known in the dark? And Your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? But to You I have cried out, O LORD, and in the morning my prayer comes before You. LORD, why do You cast off my soul?'. Imagine somebody sat down to you tomorrow morning and said: 'I think God has cast me off', 'Oh, don't say that, God couldn't cast you off' - but, you see, we're not talking about theology here. The psalmist isn't talking theology, he's talking emotions, he's telling the way he's feeling. Look at verse 14: 'Why do You hide Your face from me?', do you ever feel like that? 'I have been afflicted and ready to die from my youth; I suffer Your terrors; I am distraught. Your fierce wrath has gone over me; Your terrors have cut me off. They came around me all day long like water; they engulfed me altogether. Loved one and friend You have put far from me, and my acquaintances into darkness' - and that's it over! That's where he stops! I like it when he goes on and starts praising the Lord, but not in Psalm 88! He just vents his spleen in anger to God, and he leaves it there - that's his quiet time! Great, isn't it?
So you need to come to God, and you need to be real. We need to be honest, whatever you feel in anger against others, against yourself, even against the Lord - He's big enough, His shoulders are broad enough to take it. Secondly, you need to listen to what God has to say. You need to listen to what He has to say when you unburden yourself. You're still in the Psalms I hope, look at Psalm 73, go back a few pages to Psalm 73. He does stay in God's presence a wee bit longer this particular day, and in Psalm 73 verse 2 we read: 'But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked'. Does that ever get on your wick, when wicked people do well and good people suffer? Does that ever annoy you? It annoyed the psalmist, it annoys me. 'For there are no pangs in their death' - did you ever see a wicked person die peacefully with riches? 'But their strength is firm', they are not in trouble as other men, nor are they plagued like other men. This was really troubling the psalmist, then go down to verse 16, he talks a wee bit more, but then in verse 16: 'When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me!'. Is there anything in your life that is just too painful to try and understand? I know there is - I know some things about some of you, but I believe the Lord has showed me some things about some of you here tonight that I don't know. I don't know you, but I believe the Lord has showed me some things. Look at verse 17: 'It was too painful for me until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end'. Do you know what that means? Verse 18: 'Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction'. He felt, in verse 2, that he was in the slippery place, he almost slipped; but now he goes into the presence of God, and he says: 'When I went into Your presence, then I understood how things are all going to end and pan out. I understood that one day justice is coming!'. Do you know that? One day all the creases are going to be ironed out. One day a person who got off with it in your life is going to have to face justice if they are not forgiven by God.
You see, you need to stay long enough talking to God and listening to hear His perspective on things - are you with me? I'm not talking about a pity party, like Jonah - you know, when he sat under the gourd, and he started to moan and grump. What I'm talking about is: be honest and real with God, but let God be real with you - and you need to be real with yourself, and accept perhaps another version of the facts that you haven't already considered. That's a big one. God might tell you a few things about yourself that are hard to receive. He might reinterpret the historical facts for you in a way that you haven't previously understood, and you need to be willing to listen to God, to what He has to say about your situation.
How do you deal with anger? Confess it; be real; but you've got to listen to what God has to say. Here's the third thing that is flowing on from that: you need to be willing to repent - be prepared to repent! Because you might start to realise that: 'Yes, I was justified in being angry as an emotion, I was justified in that initial neutral response that something was wrong; but now I have allowed there to be sinful contributions to my anger, and my anger has now moved me into areas where I'm exhibiting sinful behaviours. I need to repent of that'. You don't have to repent of anger on its own, but you do have to repent of what is sinful. So maybe you need to ask yourself: 'Is it righteous indignation that I have, is it what Ephesians talks about - I am being angry, but I am not sinning - or is it ungodly wrath, selfish, soulish anger?'.
You need to repent of anything that needs to be repented of. Fourthly: you need to break ungodly soul-ties and be released from ancestral sin. By ungodly soul-ties, I mean relationships that have contributed to your anger. The hurts that have come to you have come through relationships, and you're usually angry against people - so whatever unhealthy relationship that is, you may need those ties broken with that person. I'm not talking about the actual physical relationship that might have already ceased, I'm talking about in the spiritual dimension, where this person has a hold, a heart-emotional hold still over you - and that is a channel for to oppress you and to make you angry. You need to break that off. Ancestrally, you could have inherited an ancestral spirit of anger and ungodly wrath. It could come through those secret societies we talked about, Freemasonry etc, or it could come just by a character trait that is in your family line - that needs to be broken.
Fifthly: you need to forgive. You just need to forgive. The picture is of poison being poured out into a glass, and I've often said that unforgiveness is when we pour out a glass of poison for somebody else, but we drink it ourselves - because unforgiveness harms us more than it harms anybody else. So we need to forgive - what does that mean? It doesn't mean you let them off the hook; it doesn't mean you have to feel like forgiving them; it doesn't mean you're saying what happened is admissible, it doesn't really matter; it doesn't say that it's OK, what they did; it's nothing of the sort. It's a choice of your will to say: 'God, this is harming me, and I take this person off my hook and put them onto Your hook. I'm getting out of the way and letting You be God'. Now, it may well be when you do that, that your anger rises to the surface - and that's often what happens. If it does, even tonight, do you know what I'm going to say to you? Let it rise, let it up, and let it out! You need to find the proper and the safe way to release it, but I beg of you tonight: if you take the steps through prayer that we're going to do in a few moments, and you feel anger rising up, do not stuff it down. Healing only works when you actually get in touch with the true issues.
Someone once said, I heard them say it in relation to anger: 'We have an amazing editor in our brain. When we get in touch with anything not nice, we edit it out' - isn't that right? The editor in our brain, when something crops up - we're in prayer, we're forgiving people, and anger comes up - we try to edit it out. Do you know what God wants you to do? Express yourself! Maybe not quite like the Incredible Hulk, but do you understand what I'm trying to say? You see, some of you are in bondage because you're afraid - this is honest - you're afraid of what will happen if you let it come to the surface. Now, that fear is not of God. It's not of God. Particularly the men might feel that way, but there are safe ways to release the anger. There are safe ways to express it. One very safe way is to talk about it, that's one of the first steps to release of anger: to verbalise the way you're really feeling. There are other people, and they need to go out into a wide space and scream at the top of their voice; or they need to get a punch bag or a pillow, or a cushion and punch it to shreds; or they need to kick a football, or kick something else harmless; or throw something, or tear something, or go on a long brisk walk, or go and do some exercise. Maybe it's cleaning, maybe it's music or art or some other hobby that you have - now, I'm not saying that these things will fix it on their own, they will not, as we said earlier. But when you come into touch with that anger, alright, when you prime the pump and you feel it starting to come up, that's the time when you need to go out and do something that will release it that will not hurt you or anyone else.
You see, here's a lesson for us as parents - and I'm still learning this one - we need to allow our children to be real with their emotions. Now I'm not saying you let them do whatever they like and say whatever they like, I'm not saying that, I'm not saying they're to be undisciplined and run riot. But I am saying that sometimes we shut down their emotions, sometimes I've found myself saying: 'Don't you dare speak to me like that! Don't you dare show that expression on your face!' - not even allowing them to have an expression on their face. That's dangerous at times, because if we do not allow them to express their emotions in a safe way it could come out in an unsafe way. We actually need to teach our children to express their emotions, even their anger, in a godly way. Maybe if they do run up the stairs and slam the door, and you leave them instead of running up and saying: 'Don't you dare slam the door on me!', and you run up immediately - leave it, leave it for half an hour, let them cool down, let them get it off their chest, and you can see things change when you allow them to express their emotions.
Now sometimes that doesn't work, of course - but listen: we've mentioned many ways to express yourself, but one way that is unavoidable, that sometimes we have to express our anger, is to confront. Some people don't like that. I'm not a confrontationist, I internalise things and go quiet - but sometimes you have to confront people. Jesus taught this in Matthew 18: if anyone offends you, or does anything against you, you're to go to them - and if they don't hear what you're saying, you're then to take one or two people with you, and in the mouth of two or three witnesses the thing will be established. If they still don't hear you, take it to the church. Now everybody runs away from that, 'Oh, we don't want to cause a fuss!', listen: the fuss is being caused if you have got anger deep within your heart. You need to deal with it. There are right ways to doing it, it is to be done in grace, but confrontation at times is necessary. It can be done in a very loving way, and just say: 'Look, you said something and it offended me, and you maybe didn't mean it - but I just want things to be right between you and me - did you know that? Did you know you offended me?'. Have you ever done that? Or 'Are things OK between you and me?' - have you ever done that? I've done that, I've done that with people: 'Are things OK between you and me? I'm sorry if I've thought something against you, or said something against you, but we need to clear the air'. Sometimes confrontation is necessary.
Listen: reconciliation may not always be possible. Sometimes it is, but sometimes it cannot be possible - we've got to understand that. Forgiveness and reconciliation are not the same thing. We look for reconciliation where it can be, but sometimes it can't happen. But listen to this: withdrawal is not the answer, because it just wants everything to go away, and it doesn't! We've seen this from the very beginning: anger won't go away, it's got to be dealt with!
Sixth, how to deal with our anger: confess, listen, repent, break the ungodly ties, release from ancestral sin, forgive, receive healing for wounds in God's presence. Do you know that Jesus died for all the injustice, all the betrayal, all the rejection, all our failures, all our offences, all our frustrations, all our unhealed hurts, all our ungodly behaviours, all our demonic bondages? He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the punishment of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed. He bore our sorrows, He bore the opposition and contradiction of sinners against Himself, and yet He cried: 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do'. I want to tell you tonight: if you come to the cross with whatever has caused your anger, and even your anger itself, and you look to the crucified Jesus, He will heal you! He will release your anger - it mightn't all happen in one go, but if you continue to look to Jesus, He will begin to work through that with you. He is the only One who has the power to truly heal your hurt and deliver you from anger. Receive healing for the wounds in God's presence.
Finally: choose to maintain a healthy attitude to anger. You're going to be made angry again - newsflash! - because people are going to do stuff on you. Some of the situations we are in that have made us angry are perpetual situations. In other words, the behaviour is ongoing from that person that is hurting you. But listen: all the God-given emotions that He has given us, whatever they are, we are to maintain a healthy attitude to them. We are to allow ourselves to express them - all emotions are God-given! You would think the devil had created emotions, when you go into some churches! I have been accused of playing on people's emotions - I have, by ministers - but God created them, and there is nothing wrong with them, they are just very fickle. They have to be regulated by superior things, like your thought life, and like the truth of God's word - but God wants us to enjoy our emotions in a godly way. What we're not to do is live in denial. Remember those three boys: Speak no evil, See no evil, Hear no evil - don't be in denial of any of your emotions, especially anger. Do you know what that will mean? You need to be humble, you need to be quick to admit when you're wrong, you need to be quick to deal with anger when it rises within you. Ask: 'Where is this coming from, and how can I bring it to the Lord?'. Don't let it fester! That is having a healthy relationship with anger. You might have to confront people in a godly way if necessary, but you're to continually walk in forgiveness. Peter said to Jesus: 'How many times do I forgive someone? Seven?' - he thought that was the correct answer, because seven is the perfect number, the number of completeness. 'Yes! 100% that is going to get from Jesus!', but Jesus said, 'No Peter, seventy times seven', which is 490! Which effectively means, not that at 491 you can club the fellow, but it means: 'Peter, stop counting, and keep on forgiving!'.
So this is something that you have to keep doing in your life over and over again. Listen: the only way to develop your relationship with the Lord is to be real. Listen to me, you might never hear this ever again in a church - we're not in a church anyway, but: you don't need to be polite with the Lord, but you do need to be real with Him. Some of you are deeply hurting tonight, and you need to once and for all let go of the anger, and let go of the causes of that anger in the presence of God. Listen: it doesn't matter how it comes out, all that matters is that it comes out and gets out of you, because it's destroying you. Can I pronounce this Scripture over everyone here tonight: 'Be angry, and do not sin; do not let the sun go down'. Now the sun has gone down here, that's Fermanagh for you - but, you understand: don't let midnight strike tonight, and you still retain any ungodly anger, or not be real with the anger that is in your heart, be in denial or suppression of it.
Up on the screen there are a number of prayers - and we do this every night, I hope everyone can see these, if you can't get into a position where you can. What we're going to do, we're going to pray through this, for those people who really believe that you have either suppressed anger or you've got an anger issue that's out of proportion, or the devil has got on top of it or whatever, and God has spoken to you tonight, prejudice, whatever: we're going to go through these prayers, and I'm going to explain each slide. There are about five slides of prayer. We're going to explain each slide so that you know what you're reading before you pray it, alright?
So this first one is a prayer of Lordship: 'Lord Jesus, I confess that I have sinned and am in need of a Saviour'. Now, if you're not converted tonight, that means if you're not born again, you're not a Christian - I'm not talking about being converted as turning from a Catholic to a Protestant, or a Protestant to a Catholic, we're not interested in all that. We're talking about turning from your sin to Jesus, that's conversion, turning from your sin, being converted, turn from a non-Christian into a believing Christian - to personally know Jesus as your Saviour. You can pray this, and you can know Jesus tonight, and I hope and trust that there will be somebody here tonight will do that. But even we as Christians, we continually need the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ, so we're asking Him to save us from these problems: 'I thank You for dying for my sin, I invite You to be Lord of my life'. Now, you can be a Christian, but Jesus isn't really - He ought to be, but you haven't allowed Him to be Lord of every area of your life. This just summarises some of that, particularly in relation to anger: 'Be Lord of my life, be Lord of my body and all my actions'. So that's how you express or suppress anger, how it's affecting you, whether you throw it out or whether you put in: 'Be Lord of my mind, and all my thoughts', what contributes to your anger and what comes out of it. 'Be Lord of my emotions and all my reactions; be Lord of my will and all my choices; be Lord of my spirit and all my relationships' - which is usually the way we get into anger problems.
Are you ready to pray this? OK, let's pray it together, meaningfully together: 'Lord Jesus, I confess that I have sinned and am in need of a Saviour. I thank You for dying for my sin, I invite You to be Lord of my life. Be Lord of my body and all my actions; be Lord of my mind and all my thoughts; be Lord of my emotions and all my reactions; be Lord of my will and all my choices; be Lord of my spirit and all my relationships'. The next slide is an acknowledgement that God has given you these emotions, and you have to embrace them if you've never done that before: 'Father, I thank You for my emotions and accept them as from You. I have not always expressed them, but sometimes I have lived in denial or repressed them. There have also been times when I have expressed emotions in ungodly ways, especially anger. As a result I have heard others, and myself. I repent of hurting, manipulating, or attempting to control others by my anger. I thank You, Lord that You do forgive me, and I embrace that with my whole heart'. So you've got to come into the place of knowing God has forgiven you, and allowing yourself to be in the freedom of that - but, listen: you've got to be honest. If you've been in God's presence tonight, and I believe we are, He may well have put His finger on areas where, yes, you've been hurt, but you've expressed anger in the wrong way that has hurt others. Would you be willing to confess it?
Let's pray together, only if you want to, only if you're ready: 'Father, I thank You for my emotions and accept them as from You. I have not always expressed them, but sometimes I have lived in denial or repressed them. There have also been times when I have expressed emotions in ungodly ways, especially anger. As a result I have heard others, and myself. I repent of hurting, manipulating, or attempting to control others by my anger. I thank You, Lord that You do forgive me, and I embrace that with my whole heart'.
'Help me, Lord, to get in touch with my anger in healthy ways. If I have detached emotions from my memories, please connect them that I might be real before You'. You see, what can happen is that there can, disassociation between a horrendous, tragic, traumatic event that has happened in your life, and the actual emotion. You just did it to survive, sometimes that can be a good thing at the particular time, but it's not a good thing long-term - because what can happen is: you can lose attachment with your emotions, and they actually shut down. In order for you to be healed, you've got to get in touch with your emotions again. Now, that can be painful initially, but you may need God to do that: 'Help me to express my anger correctly. Please heal my deep pain by the power of Your cross' - what contributed to the anger.' Forgive me for blaming You, Lord, for things that have happened to me' - if that's the case with you - 'I know You hate what Satan and others have done to harm me, and You are angry about all the wrong that has taken place in my life'. How often we blame God for things that the devil and others have done! I don't understand everything that God allows, or everything God does, but so often we blame the wrong person. Do you need to pray this?
Let's pray: 'Help me, Lord, to get in touch with my anger in healthy ways. If I have detached emotions from my memories, please connect them that I might be real before You. Help me to express my anger correctly. Please heal my deep pain by the power of Your cross. Forgive me for blaming You, Lord, for things that have happened to me. I know You hate what Satan and others have done to harm me, and You are angry about all the wrong that has taken place in my life'.
Now here's the really difficult part, to forgive those who have hurt you and made you angry: 'I choose to forgive those who have wronged me, specifically I forgive' - and you just put the person or people's names there - 'for' - whatever they have done, and the way that it has made you feel. Then we will pray: 'Set me free from all bitterness and resentment, and heal my damaged emotions. I forgive my parents and all my ancestors for any way they have harmed me by their actions', whether they have taught us anger or we have inherited anger from them or some other thing. 'I confess and renounce all their iniquity, and especially their ungodly expressions of anger through control, violence, hatred, murder, witchcraft, oaths, curses, or secret societies. I claim freedom from the consequences of these sins, from all generational curses and pronouncements, and from all hereditary diseases'. I have ministered to children of terrorists who have had spirits of anger and murder because of their fathers - go figure, but I'm just telling you the truth of what has happened. It may be that it's not something you have done, or something specifically done to you, but something has come down to you.
Are you ready to pray this and forgive those? I'm going to pause just after the first bit and allow you time to be real with this forgiveness - are you ready? 'I choose to forgive those who have wronged me, specifically I forgive' - now take upon your lips, I don't want you to speak out audibly, but in such a way that you're whispering, you're taking the name or names on your lips just between you and the Lord. Confess forgiveness to that person. It's not 'Help me to forgive them', it's a choice of your will. You don't have to feel like forgiving them, it's a choice, an action, a declaration. Tell the Lord what they did, what you're forgiving them for, and how they made you feel - maybe angry - whatever way they made you feel, shame, or rejected, or whatever. Whatever has contributed to your anger, just express it now - take your time and do that before the Lord.
OK: 'Set me free from all bitterness and resentment, and heal my damaged emotions. I forgive my parents and all my ancestors for any way they have harmed me by their actions. I confess and renounce all their iniquity, and especially their ungodly expressions of anger through control, violence, hatred, murder, witchcraft, oaths, curses, or secret societies. I claim freedom from the consequences of these sins, from all generational curses and pronouncements, and from all hereditary diseases'.
Amen. This is the last prayer: 'Lord, please break any ungodly soul-tie with' - so-and-so and I. So whoever contributed to your anger, if it's a parent, an authority figure, a spouse, a child, a friend, a bully, a church leader, whatever - OK? Whoever it is, but there is maybe still something - in other words, they are still on your back, they are still there holding you - ask the Lord to break that tie. 'Separate me spirit, soul, and body from them. Thank You, Jesus, that You became cursed for me on the cross, that Your blood was shed so that I might be set free. I take my stand with You against all Satan's demons. I command any spirits that have had control over me to leave me now in Jesus' name'. This is where we tell the devil to get off our case, OK? Are you ready? 'Lord, please break any ungodly soul-tie with' - name the person, take it on your lips, you don't need to audibly speak it out that others may hear, but just whisper their name - 'and I' - the tie between so-and-so and I. You can have a list, go down your list - whoever abused you, misused you, hurt you, damaged you, rejected you, whatever. You mightn't be able to remember their name, but the Lord knows - just describe them and ask the Lord to break the tie. 'Separate me spirit, soul, and body from them. Thank You, Jesus, that You became cursed for me on the cross, that Your blood was shed so that I might be set free. I take my stand with You against all Satan's demons. I command any spirits that have had control over me to leave me now. In Jesus' name I expel you'.
Let's all stand please, if you can. Now if you prayed those prayers and really meant them, OK, I want you to be open now for God to do whatever He wants to do. You have given Him permission, effectively, to reach into your life and start dealing with anger issues and the contributing factors to your anger. If there are spirits of anger that are in you or on you, you have given Him permission to just come down and lift it off you - and I believe that's what He's going to do to some people tonight. So I'm going to pray for you, and I just want you to receive and respond to whatever the Lord is doing. OK?
Father, I thank You for what You have done tonight. I thank You for Your word that has shone a light right into the hearts of people. You have dissected, You have discerned, You have distinguished issues. You have put Your finger on deep hurts that have been repressed for many years. You have even, Lord, allowed anger to surface that had been denied, that people have been ignorant of and not understood why things were the way they were. Lord, I come behind, in the mighty name of Jesus, everything that these people have engaged with You upon through faith. I think You for their confessions, I thank You for their repentance, I thank You for their declarations of forgiveness, I thank You for their acknowledgement of their great need of deliverance and healing. Lord, I pray that You will perform a deep healing now, right now, that these areas where issues have contributed to anger, that You would heal the deep issues, that You would heal the deep hurts. I pray that You will just reach in with Your nail-pierced hand into those fragmented, fractured, broken areas, and You will take them and You will put them together again, Lord Jesus, right now. Parts of people that are stuck in the past, that have been shattered and are in bits, in different places with different people, Lord, everything that has been lost to us, that You will gather it together now - You will gather it together and restore it now, and bring it together right now. Bring wholeness and healing in the mighty name of Jesus, you'll pour in Your oil and Your wine. Lord, bring deep, deep restoration, deep redemption now in people's spirits, Lord, in people's souls, in their minds, in their emotions that are wrecked because of anger and hurts. Oh Lord, we thank You that You are the Healer, we thank You that You are the Saviour, we thank You that You are the One who restores our soul. We thank You, Lord Jesus, that You are anointed to heal the brokenhearted. We pray that You will do that tonight, to the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ we pray - and everyone said 'Amen'.
Can I just say one more thing before we finish: our land needs a baptism of love, because our land is so angry. Whether you are a Nationalist, or a Unionist, I don't care. Both of our histories, whatever those are, have very angry parts to them - violent, bitter parts to them - both of them. We've seen them manifested in our own modern era, and listen: we need to repent, and we need to say sorry to the other people. We can't say sorry to ourselves, that's our problem here in this country: we want people to come to us and say sorry, but we are not prepared to go to them and say sorry, even when they're not sorry themselves. Listen: if revival is going to break out, I think we need to bring our sectarian anger, our genuine anger for wrongs that have been done - there have been wrongs done, we're not saying it was right or was excusable. But we need to bring our anger to the Lord, and say: 'Lord, would You replace this anger with Your love, so that I might love my enemy, the one who has hurt me'.
Can we pray just now before I hand over, can we pray together for a baptism of love - that's the baptism of the Holy Spirit, that's what Ireland needs. Ireland needs a baptism of the Holy Spirit. Can we pray for that unitedly? I know there are different backgrounds here, and that's wonderful, that excites me - there are people who have Catholic backgrounds, people who have Protestant backgrounds, people who have Hindu backgrounds, there might be Muslim backgrounds, there might be nonreligious backgrounds - I don't know, but that excites me, because this is the new man in Christ. We're all one in Christ. So let us lift up, and in Jesus' name let us ask: Lord Jesus, we believe that You put a missionary commission upon the land of Ireland, we believe this land was marked by You to send the Gospel through the whole nation, through the whole of Europe, and through the whole of the world. As we approach St Patrick's Day, we thank You for Patrick, we thank You for that man that You put Your Holy Spirit on to come to our island. He wasn't Irish, but we thank You for him, Lord. We thank You that he was an apostle to us, and I pray, Lord, that his legacy and his anointing will come upon us again. We pray, Lord, that You will pour out love, love and truth upon our island, Lord. We need You, we need You to pour out the true love of God upon Ireland! Lord, would You start something even in us, even here. O Lord, come, we pray, open Your windows upon us. We need You to deliver us from the bondages of politics and religion, and sectarianism and bigotry. We need You to heal the wounds, Lord, we need to heal the wounds, heal the offences, heal the hurts, the deep animosities. We need You to right the wrongs, Lord. We need You to give grace, we need You to give faith that we might be able for this - we are not able for it, Lord. It has to come from You or it cannot be done. Lord, have mercy and forgive us. For You have said: 'If My people, that are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, I will forgive their sins and heal their land' - and that's what we want, Lord. That's what we want, come and heal our land.
Preach The Word.
This sermon was delivered at The Stables in Enniskillen by David Legge. It was transcribed from the fifth recording in his 'Deeper Healing' series, entitled "The Antidote To Anger" - Transcribed by Preach The Word.
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