In my family, we were generally encouraged to share positive emotions but not negative ones. So as I was growing up and even into adulthood, I’d say, “I’m not angry. I’m just frustrated.” But I’ve since learned that words like frustrated, irritated, or hurt are often just more socially acceptable euphemisms for anger… especially among Christians.
In fact, anger can look many different ways. As I teach in my class, some people blow up, others clam up, and others mess up. These are all different faces of anger. Sometimes anger takes the form of impatience, critical thoughts, grudges, avoidance of certain people, the “silent treatment,” or internal tension that we refuse to address. Ministry leaders in particular are prone to anger that looks “nice” on the outside, but is nonetheless felt by others. Anger can be felt even when others don’t see it.
A huge turning point comes in your life when you are willing to acknowledge your anger, even when it doesn’t look like the traditional “blowing up” anger. The first step to change is recognition of the problem.
Here’s something a lot of the people in the class I teach memorize: “I can’t. God can. I think I’ll let him.”
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 […]