Preaching to the Choir

These are some sermons, but mostly lectionary discussions. It also has prayers for some Sundays.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Wrath Defusing your anger

Wrath Defusing your anger James 1:19-25 April 23, 06
Part 1

We are still in our series on the 7 Deadly Sins with six down, and 1 to go. But we can look at these sins in a whole new light because of what we know about the power of the death and resurrection of Jesus over sin. Our sins have been nailed to the cross, and the resurrection put an end to the power of sin over us.

Researching these sins, I have learned that only in the Middle Ages did they earn the title sins. In the fourth century the desert monks called them vices or habits that came from evil thoughts which would tempt the monk and try to dissuade him from his spiritual pursuits. Each of the Seven Deadly Sins can be corrosive to the soul; each can be embodied in actions that are harmful to self and others.
The concern was how then these habits would effect the small Christian community. Now remember you won’t find these sins in the Bible in a list. But throughout the Bible the Psalmist, Jesus, Paul and others write about these sins.

It was the pioneers of the Christian spiritual tradition, the fathers and mothers of the desert who identified anger as a deadly sin. They weren’t interested in getting things done, but in purity of heart. To them anger was never justified. Why did the desert fathers condemn it? Anger inflates the heart, when what we most need is a heart that is receptive. Anger blocks grief. If you are high on the adrenaline of anger you don’t cry, you don’t mourn, you don’t recognize your faults. In stead you swear and hit. Rage can keeps certain kinds of pain at bay. Anger blocks the relationship to God, by making it difficult to pray.
Kathleen Norris, who has a sense of dry humor and wrote the book Amazing Grace, says that wrath, or anger, is a tricky sin, and that the desert monks of the 4th century regarded anger as the most dangerous of human passions--far more destructive than even greed or lust--and they had much to say about the tricks that anger plays on us. "When it is absolutely necessary to correct another, do so," they said. "But do it quickly and simply, then let it go. Don't get entangled in the expectation of results. Otherwise, anger can take hold and lead you to commit an even worse fault than the other person.”

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