Powlison comments, “In Western culture, many theories of anger treat
it as an emotional fluid that builds up pressure and must be
released. This ‘hydraulic’ theory of anger contributes to the pop
wisdom that anger, ‘just is, and is neither good or bad.’ Why does
this theory seem plausible? Because images such as the following
capture what anger can feel like: A person’s anger can be ‘pent up’;
‘his pump is primed.’ People can be ‘boiling mad,’ ‘filled’ with anger,
waiting to ‘explode’. They ‘blow off steam.’ Old, unresolved anger
can be ‘stored up inside,’ ‘harbored’ for decades. If you ‘get it off
your chest’ so that your anger is ‘spent,’ you feel better.
“All these metaphors depict anger as a pressurized substance inside us. No doubt, these colorful depictions do
capture how anger feels. But a metaphor is not meant to overpower the
thing it intends to illustrate. Anger feels fiery, but it’s not a
fire. The solution to sinful anger is not to surgically remove the
furnace or to drink enough water to quench the flames! The solution is
a moral one: to ‘turn’ from sin to God’s grace in repentant faith.”
David Powlison, Anger: Escaping the Maze
(Phillipsburg, NJ.: P&R Publishing, 2000) p. 3. To obtain a copy
of this very helpful booklet, call Resources for Changing Lives,
Brian Hedges is Senior Pastor of Fulkerson Park Baptist Church in Niles, MI.
View more sermon illustrations for inspiration for your next message.