Anger Issues

Following Sunday’s message- “The Appeal of Anger,” here are four issues that are rattling around in my head:

  1. Advice from a fellow pastor. Rev. Paul Cope shared with me and some fellow pastors some great insights on anger in November of last year. Here are some notes from what he had to say.
    • Why are you angry? 4 Causes for Anger: Fatigue, Frustration, Embarrassment, Rejection. Establishing the root cause often leads us toward resolution and away from repeating the cycle.
    • Get MAD:
      1. Minimize the Misery. Does Facebook make you angry? Skip it. Does traffic push your buttons? Carpool or travel on non-peak hours. You get the idea.
      2. Attend to the Problem. Are you tired? Sleep more. Are you frustrated? Share your frustration or even journal it. Its about find that root issue and dealing with it. If you can’t figure it out, ask a close friend if they can help identify what the underlying factor is.
      3. Depend on the Deliverer. The Life-giving Savior is where we find the answer. He gives us rest. He can change us or our situation to alleviate frustration. He gives us grace for our embarrassment. He accepts us unconditionally when we are rejected by others. Anger isn’t the answer. It only makes worse the original problem.
  1. Anger related wounds are common. As we said at the outset of this series, wounds increase our susceptibility to the temptation of sin in specific areas. If you had a parent with anger issues or a coach or teacher or sibling or spouse who used anger as a weapon, chances are that anger is a sin with which you struggle or at least the temptation to sin is one you have a harder time resisting. A related observation, anger seems to be a generational sin. So I hear men say to me, “My dad had anger issues and his dad had anger issues and…” you get the picture. A really helpful resource in this regard for men is, Bill Perkins’s book, When Good Men Get Angry.
  2. Apology is key. The sin of anger is almost never a ‘private’ sin. Meaning it impacts others (really this is true of any sin). Therefore, you and I must learn to apologize to those who are wounded by our anger. You want to help the next generation end the ‘anger’ cycle? Apologize to them when you wound in anger. Apologize without excuse. Apologize without blame. Apologize with humility. Often, this allows them to journey toward healing and you too. I don’t know if you’ve ever found yourself angry about getting angry but its pretty self-defeating. The simple words, “I am sorry.” Are so powerful.
  3. Refuse to go it alone. Please don’t try to defeat anger (or any sin) on your own. The Enemy of our souls loves to feed us the lie that we can ‘do it ourselves’ that we don’t “need” others. But that simply isn’t true. We do need others. Their prayer. Their encouragement. Their accountability. Their love. These become the catalysts to change in our lives. Don’t be a “lone ranger” Christian, that road only leads to defeat. Any good strategist will tell you that the first step to victory is to isolate an opponent. Don’t let the Enemy isolate you! There are brothers and sisters in Christ ready and willing to journey with you, pray with you, cry with you and celebrate with you as God transforms you!

I know each week as we look at a “new” category of the spiritual cancers (deadly sins), there are some for whom that one is a monster. Fear not, we have a Life-Giving Savior whose power delivers us from the deadliness of any and all sin. Let’s look to Him for the healing He alone can give.

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