No Right to be Angry

Anger is an emotion that we feel when we think something has been done that wronged us. Let me say that again. Anger is an emotion that we feel when we think something has been done that wronged us. 9 times out of 10, anger is about the self. It’s about me. Usually, it’s when something crosses our paths that get in the way of what we want. Anger is an inward emotion. There are exceptions, like when Jesus upset the carts at the temple. He was righteously indignant. However, many times in our world today, we describe our anger as ‘righteously indignant’ when we actually have no right to be angry at all.

Anger, whether good or bad, is a treacherous emotion. This past week, there was an incident at a NASCAR event involving Kyle Busch and Ron Hornaday. Kyle and Ron and a third car were going through the corner and all ended up getting together and trading some paint. The caution flag waived and Kyle Busch was mad that he got pushed into the wall, so he came back and decided to take matters into his own hands and crashed Ron.

Follow this link to see the actual event. *Disclaimer* Kyle Busch's spotter who you can hear in the background behind the commentators utters a few curse words. Parents, exercise caution when allowing children to view this. Those sensitive to foul language are encouraged not to watch. I provide this to demonstrate the implications and danger of anger.

10 years ago, Ron Hornaday could have been serioulsy injured or killed. It was that type of crash that killed Dale Earnhardt. Anger has serious implications.

For me, anger is one of my weak spots. In years past, I had a temper that would rival the best of them. Since then, I’ve learned techniques to bring it under control. You can count to 10, go for walk, memorize Scripture, or pray are just a few of the possibilities. I still battle with this from time to time and for anyone who battles this issue, it will flare at times. The key is to solidify it in our minds that we actually have no right to be angry.

We are going to talk today about Jonah. Most people know the story of Jonah. When commanded to go to Nineveh, Jonah ran the opposite direction. Upon being spit upon the beach by the big fish, Jonah heard from God again…this time he told him the same thing. To go to Nineveh and preach God’s word. Jonah preached that Nineveh would be demolished in 40 days. Jonah issued a decree that said they should all participate in a complete fast; no food or drink, repent of their evil ways, cover man and animal with sackcloth’s and call out earnestly to God.

We will pick up in verse 10 right after the decree by Jonah.

10 Then God saw their actions—that they had turned from their evil ways —so God relented from the disaster He had threatened to do to them. And He did not do it.
Jonah’s Anger
4 But Jonah was greatly displeased and became furious. 2 He prayed to the LORD: “Please, LORD, isn’t this what I said while I was still in my own country? That’s why I fled toward Tarshish in the first place. I knew that You are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to become angry, rich in faithful love, and One who relents from ⌊sending⌋ disaster. 3 And now, LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
4 The LORD asked, “Is it right for you to be angry?”
5 Jonah left the city and sat down east of it. He made himself a shelter there and sat in its shade to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the LORD God appointed a plant, and it grew up to provide shade over Jonah’s head to ease his discomfort. Jonah was greatly pleased with the plant. 7 When dawn came the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, and it withered.
8 As the sun was rising, God appointed a scorching east wind. The sun beat down so much on Jonah’s head that he almost fainted, and he wanted to die. He said, “It’s better for me to die than to live.”
9 Then God asked Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”
“⌊Yes,⌋” he replied. “It is right. I’m angry enough to die!”
10 So the LORD said, “You cared about the plant, which you did not labor over and did not grow. It appeared in a night and perished in a night. 11 Should I not care about the great city of Nineveh, which has more than 120,000 people who cannot distinguish between their right and their left, as well as many animals?”

So because the Ninevites repented of their ways, God called off the destruction. A nation who was known for their utter brutality actually heard the word of God, repented and changed their ways, however briefly. No one saw that coming…well, except for God and Jonah. Jonah says that’s why he ran in the first place. He didn’t want God to have mercy on them. He knew that if he preached, they’d turn and be saved. They had been brutal against all their enemies and Jonah didn’t think they deserved mercy. In fact, mercy and grace cannot be earned. No one deserves grace or mercy. However, Jonah knew God’s heart. He knew that God was forgiving, gracious and merciful. He knew that God wanted to forgive them and if they listened to Jonah, God would in fact do that.

Jonah was angry about that! So angry, that Jonah was prepared to die because of it! God gives back a question to Jonah that Scripture doesn’t say whether or not Jonah answered back. God asks “Jonah, do you have a right to be angry?”

The next thing we see is Jonah taking a seat on the East side of the city. Why? It seems that Jonah is set to camp until Nineveh gets what it deserves. So…he constructs a very crude shelter and waits. Keep in mind that Nineveh is in Iraq…which is a desert…it was also destroyed in 612 B.C. The remains now of which are on the opposite side of the Tigris River from the modern city of Mosul, Iraq. During the Iraqi conflicts, Mosul was in the news a lot. That is where Nineveh is…it is in the central northern side of Iraq.

More than likely, Jonah was on a hill and constructed his shelter from very loose objects such as twigs and other things. It wasn’t very good at keeping that hot Iraqi (then Assyrian) desert sun off his back. So, God provided a plant to shade him…then a worm to destroy it…then a wind that scorched him…and one more time, Jonah got angry at God.

God then reminds him, “Do you have a right to be angry?” Jonah apparently thinks he does…once again, he’s ready to die because he’s so angry.

And then, the sovereign God reminds us that we have no right to be angry. God explains that Jonah did not do anything to cause the plant to grow…nor Nineveh. God did all of this…it is God’s place to be merciful or gracious or forgiving if he wants to. Jonah has no right to be angry at God or question him. Jonah has no right?

I want you to remember one thing here. Questioning God is ok…that’s how we learn. However, when we question God in anger
because we think God has done us wrong, that is where God is rebuking us. No matter what happens in our lives, we have no right to be angry, or even angry at God. We have no right!

How many times has something happened in your life that you got angry about and wondered, “why is this happening to me?!” Whether or not you realize it, by posing that question, you are actually admitting that you are angry at God. If you are angry at God for something…talk to someone about it. Pray, meditate on it, seek out counseling. Anger towards God hinders the relationship.

Before I sought counseling for my anger issues, I didn’t realize how damaging my anger was for the people that knew me. My parents, wife, and at that time, by new baby Ave. The relationships at my job caused issues to. I was seen as a hardnosed manager…hard to get along with. After counseling, I was able to trace down what the source of my anger was. It all stemmed back to 3 incidents in my life.

1. My father’s cancer and alienation of my mom’s parents.
2. My parents divorce.
3. My brother leaving for the military/my own marriage and divorce.

Because of these three events in my life, I chose to become angry about them. I chose to let them affect me in ways that I would later regret…and then learn that God could use my mistakes to help others. I had to learn that I had no right to be angry about any of the circumstances that came up.

No longer to I allow these events to determine my mood. Through lots of time and work, I’ve learned that all of these events have brought me to where I am now. Had I not been through any one of these things, I would not be standing here today. It probably would have changed the course of my life…and I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else than right here, serving God in this church.

Do you have anger issues? We’re all human. We all have anger issues…the trouble is; what do we allow that anger to do in us? Today I want you to alter your vocabulary. Instead of saying to someone, “You’re making me angry!!!” Realize that you are “choosing to be angry” at someone or something.

I want to close today with a thought from Ephesians 4:26, "In your anger, do not sin." Friends, do not get so mad that you lose control of your senses. If you have anger, diffuse it. If you don't realize you have an anger issue, listen to your loved ones. They're only trying to help. I pray this reaches all those who deal with this. There are techniques and counseling to help. Can't find anyone? Email me. Please. I’ve been there.


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