If the above picture is a representation of your personality, we may have issues. Let's face it. It's impossible to be a good leader if you're angry all the time. Our church, Grace Community Church in Noblesville, Indiana, is working through a preaching series called Self Denied. To be blunt, it's about getting over yourself. It addresses the who's who list of sin problems, so every week is quite a jolt. This past week, our senior pastor, Dave Rodriguez, preached such a great sermon on the very relevant topic of anger, that I felt compelled to pass along my notes.
He used two different texts, Genesis 4 (Cain and Abel) and Colossians 3:1-14.
When you think about it, when do you get most angry? Most of us start turning green and tearing our clothes when our own self-worth is threatened. I get the most upset with my son when he acts up in public. Why? Not only is he exhibiting behavior that I need to correct and bothering the innocent bystanders. He's also making people question my parenting skills. The fact of the matter is that while people might be a little upset over being disturbed, they probably don't know who I am or really care about my parenting skills at all (they are exceptional I assure you). If we can simply recognize that it's our fragile ego that's making us explode, we may be able to disarm ourselves before it's too late.
Another interesting point - when we get angry, our minds secrete two chemicals. One numbs us out while the other makes us feel in control. I don't know about you, but conscience-numb, adrenaline-hyped dude is not my first pick to meet in a dark alley, let alone my first pick to follow. And just like any other chemical process in the brain, we can get addicted to being angry.
If you look like this guy all the time, you may want to rethink your emotional reactions and choice of attire.
So if we have an anger problem what should we do?
1. Practice self-denial. Colossians 3:5 says, " . . . put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world"(NLT). It doesn't just happen. We have to get in the habit of aggressively killing these things in favor of following Christ.
2. Practice patience. During my keenest moments of self-actualization I see that I'm just not as important as I think I am. I, I really can wait for other people....queue sarcastic applause.
3. Some tools to help us get there:
- Have a quiet time.
- Slow the heck down. Build some margin in your life, and stop rushing around so much (easier said then done of course).
- Focus on the journey more than the todo list.
- Have a one-line prayer that you say when you feel yourself getting all worked up.
*This is based on the sermon Anger - Patience preached by Dave Rodriguez on March 11, 2012 at Grace Community Church in Noblesville, IN. While my remarks are original, all of the points herein are from this sermon, and I do not claim authorship.