I had gathered around with a group of men from our church and we began to share stories. The theme: ROAD RAGE. We freely shared about those people who had raged against us, and eventually, we even shared those humiliating stories about our own rage.
Anger. Hate. Rage. Whatever you want to call it — it’s something that powerfully wells up within us, just waiting to explode like an underground hot spring that breaks forth from the earth as a geyser would. Some people really struggle with this and others, they tend to be more easy-going and anger doesn’t rear its ugly head nearly as often for them.
Every person deals with anger. Whether this is their own behavior and attitude, or someone else’s they must face — we all deal with anger.
Let’s not forget, even Jesus got angry when he entered the temple and saw what the people had turned this place of worship into. I would argue God hates sin and what it does to his beloved, to you and me. But that isn’t what I’m talking about, is it? The anger I’m referring to is never good. You don’t want to be known for it and no one wants to be the recipient of it, either.
Anger takes up residency in our minds and hearts long before it ever explodes. We often just fail to recognize it, and deal with it. This means we lack the integrity and discipline to address this behavior and instead, we create for ourselves a list of justifications for being this way, for acting this way. A friend once told me: “Our approach to anger management no longer considers self control, but instead we are told that we should be angry, show anger, and wear it like a badge of courage.”
God’s heart is that we would be known by nothing else than by our love for him and our love for others. Every aspect of our mind, our heart and our actions must be saturated in God’s most gracious love.
Personal integrity and the way we conduct ourselves has a wild effect on not just ourselves, but also on our family, our friends and neighbors, and our coworkers and even those we merely pass by for but just a brief moment. If we lack awareness and self-discipline, we won’t ever address this toxic behavior and attitude and we will continue to rob ourselves of the joy and freedom God longs for those to have over this aspect of our lives. And, if not addressed, our anger becomes what we, the church, are known for by those apart from God and friends — this must not be the case.
We must address this issue and seek restoration. So begin by asking the Holy Spirit to search your heart. Let your Father reveal to you when and perhaps why you get angry. Then confess this to God. Seek forgiveness. Seek freedom. This path of restoration and transformation is far more attractive then our long litany of excuses. Don’t shy away from getting help either. Be open to letting others speak into your life about what they witness and have experienced when you rage, when you struggle with anger. Hear them out and learn from their experiences they’ve had with it. Then make a plan. Not something far fetched or something you’ll never be able to achieve. But daily seek God’s grace, surrendering your right, to be right and seek to be redemptive instead.
May the badge of honor we hold onto be one that’s birthed through humility, forgiveness, and courage — a courage to face what’s wrong and to deal with our own sin. May we be unashamed of this transformational journey where God is seeking to redeem and restore the broken pieces of our lives. And may we boldly proclaim who our source of freedom and joy is, so the world that’s watching the church, that they will see God and his glorious, powerful, abundant love and grace, that they will see it in action through your life.
Nick Emery is the senior pastor at Good Shepherd Wesleyan Church. He can be reached at email@example.com.