Pride is a spiritual disease. Like Adam, in choosing to defy God’s commands, we take control of our own life. Pride is the inner push that prompts us to do this. Once we give in to this self-centered thinking, it becomes part of our personality. A day doesn’t pass without many self-absorbed thoughts. We cannot rid ourselves of it.
As a ministry leader, take note of self-focused thoughts that arise in a given day: How are others seeing me? Am I respected? Do I have influence? Am I seen as successful? How do I compare with other ministry leaders? Self-focus (also known as pride) gives birth to anger.
One of the most effective ways to combat pride is through listening. When a disagreement arises, stay calm and listen. Unpack what the other person is trying to say, repeating it back to them until they agree that, yes, that is what they meant. Only at that point are you in a position to share your perspective. (Note: It can feel like it takes a really long time before you get to this point.) Even if you still end up disagreeing, at least others know that they have been heard, which often serves to defuse the situation.
Once you have learned to listen when angry– no easy feat for anyone– then you can help others in your community learn to do the same. You’ll be amazed and how much more effectively your group or community pulls together when people start listening to one another.
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 […]