Message by Rev. Erny McDonough
Fisherman’s Chapel, Port O’Connor, Texas
I Cor. 13:5 & 6 “[Love] … is not easily angered. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth.”
Intro: Finally today we will begin looking toward the management part of this series. Remember, anger is a good emotion used by the entire Trinity – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The greatest problem with anger is truly two fold: 1. Often our display of anger takes us to sin; and 2. It often covers up other emotions like fear, frustration, and anxiety where we never deal with those things in our lives. It is only as we learn the difference between beneficial anger and destructive anger that we can become what God has created us to be.
The first week, we noted some of the physical and psychological problems brought about by inappropriate anger.
The second week, we examined the flight-or-fight response to anger and saw where both these are damaging to God’s creation.
The third week, we looked at four (4) Old Testament examples of God’s anger and how His responses were always from His heart of love.
The fourth week, we saw three (3) examples from the New Testament of Jesus’ anger (cleansing the Temple twice and His dealings with the Pharisees), and one (1) example of how the Holy Spirit acted out of love for the new Church when He dealt severely with Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5)
Last week, we pointed out three things that I believe should stir our anger. I believe that we have become too passive and allow things to happen in our culture that we should be taking a stand against.
All of these notes are available and will be put on our web site when we have completed this series in a couple of weeks.
Today we want to see if we can learn how to have a balanced approach to anger. When properly accomplished, this approach will both control the emotion and allow the emotion to express itself in a healthy way. Let us look at some descriptions of actions of anger management:
I. The Direct Approach:
When I am angry, one way to help manage it is to be direct. It is important that I not beat around the bush. I will need to make my feelings as visible and conspicuous as possible by using body language to indicate that I am angry, clearly and honestly. I need to let the person who has made me angry know that they have made me angry and why I feel my feeling is appropriate.
II. The Honorable Approach:
Often it is necessary to make it apparent that there is some clear moral basis for my anger. I need to be prepared to argue my case, but be sure that I never use manipulation or emotional blackmail while doing it. In this approach I also need to be sure I am never abusing another person’s basic human rights and never unfairly hurting the weak or defenseless. I must always be ready to accept responsibility for my actions.
III. The Focused Approach:
I understand that I must focus on the issue and stick to the issue of concern. I must remember not to bring up irrelevant materials or rehash problems that have already been settled.
IV. The Persistent Approach:
There are some people that will try to minimize your emotion and it will be important for you to stand your ground and be self-defensive. It will require you to repeatedly express your feelings over and over again, because sometimes they just do not understand why you are angry.
V. The Courageous Approach:
We have a friend who believes his church is making a critical error in leasing out four (4) acres of their property for 175 years. He found only one ally, but the two of them sent leaders to the 150 Deacons and 18 Pastoral staff members. When they got no response from any of these, they attended the meeting and handed out information sheets explaining their position. This is an example of the courageous approach.
You must be willing to take a calculate risk and endure some short-term discomfort for a long-term gain. You must be willing to risk displeasing some others for a period of time and be willing to take the lead. You can not fear other’s displays of anger and be willing to stand outside the crowd and take ownership of your differences. For a Scriptural example, one only needs to look at Joshua and Caleb in Numbers 13.
VI. The Creative Approach:
This approach will require the angry person to think quickly and use more wit in the confrontation. One will be required to spontaneously come up with new ideas and new views on the subject that will help sway the other person’s opinion your way.
VII. The Listening Approach:
Anger creates a hostility filter, and often all you can hear is negative tones from the one who is making you angry. Many times, when one will just stop and truly listen to what is being said to you, he will realize that there is no need to even be angry or will quickly realize that they are the wrong party.
VIII. The Forgiving Approach:
This approach demonstrates a willingness to hear other people’s anger and grievance. Dr. Eva Feindler recommends that people try, in the heat of an angry moment, to see if they can understand where the alleged perpetrator is coming from. Empathy is very difficult when one is angry, but it can make all the difference in the world. Taking the other person’s point of view can be excruciating when in the throes of anger, but with practice it can become second nature. Once you hear the other’s point of view, it is imperative that you show an ability to wipe the slate clean once anger has been expressed.
Conclusion: When we realize that we can not be forgiven when we are unwilling to forgive, we are motivated to use any method available to get the problem solved as quickly as possible. Remember the words of Jesus (Luke 17:3&4) “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him“. And (Mark 11:25 NKJ) “But, if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.“.
Next week we will be looking at “Taming your Temper.”