Most of us don’t have healthy models of how to deal with anger, and then when it spills out in our churches, ministry teams, and small groups, we wonder why we have troubles. If we are to address issues of anger in our own lives and be equipped to help others in our ministries do the same, we need to look at one of the underlying issues.
That underlying issue is spiritual in nature: dependency. Anger arises because we are depending on other people to have our emotional needs met instead of on God. When people don’t meet our needs, we get upset.
What is the most obvious and important human need? Love. When we feel consistently loved, our emotions show it through their calmness. When we don’t feel love, we respond to our rejected feelings with anger. Anger is our cry of Why can’t you just love me?
Feeling unloved creates dependence on others. Dependency allows inner thoughts and feelings to be controlled by circumstances or people. When we allow our emotions to be controlled by others, no wonder we feel angry.
So what’s the solution? We exchange dependency on people for dependency on God. Anger is linked to an unmet need for worth or respect. This worth is met by accepting God’s great statement of our worth and God’s overwhelming love for us. We need to accept this love not only on the surface, but allow it to enter our lives and consciousness in deep ways. Only after we have accepted this truth in our own lives can we help others in our sphere of influence accept it.
To memorize: Knowing I can draw upon God’s strength, I choose not to let my anger be controlled by circumstances or other people.
This blog entry is part of a series of thoughts on anger management, based on a class I teach to residents of the Salvation Army based on The Anger Management Workbook. The thoughts are equally applicable to ministry leaders. If you are reading this series after it has come out on this blog, you can pull up all of the entries at once by doing a search for anger management in the search box within the blog.
Don’t Let Anger Take Control! Most people stereotype anger by assuming that it always results in shouting, slamming fists, or throwing things. However, anger is not that one-dimensional. In fact, all of the statements below represent feelings of anger: When I am displeased with someone I shut down any communication and withdraw. I get very […]