Pastor – How do you deal with your anger? (not just for Pastors!)

Posted: March 2, 2011 in Ministry

Ok, ok, another article.  But this is not just any article!  We all deal with anger in one form or fashion.  For some of us it is written all over our faces.  Others, it is hidden deep within.  If we do not deal with this anger that we have, we will become ineffective, bitter and not lovable by our Spouse and family.

So, now is the time to start to process this.  Take a few minutes and read over this brief article…but before you do, pause and ask the Lord to speak to you…

How to Deal with Your Anger as a Minister

Written by John Powers

If you have served in a church any length of time, one of three things is occurring. Either you are angry, have been angry, or will be angry.

Anger in ministry has many faces. Take time to consider an anger inventory. Check to see how many of the questions apply to you:

  • Do you nurture critical thoughts quite easily?
  • Do tensions mount within you as you try to tackle a challenging task?
  • How often do you walk in an opposite direction to avoid seeing people you don’t like?
  • When you are displeased with someone, do you shut down any communication or withdraw?
  • When someone does you wrong, do you easily forget?
  • Are you discouraged and ready to quit the ministry?
  • Are you sarcastic?
  • When someone attacks you, do you try to defend yourself?
  • Have you adopted an “I don’t care” attitude toward the needs of others?
  • Does taking “an anger inventory” make you angry?

Honesty, how did you do? The emotion of anger often is felt when others don’t see it.

Anger and Preservation

Anger is a result of trying to preserve personal worth, basic needs, and deeply held convictions. It is ignited when the person feels rejection or invalidation.

  • Preserving self-worth. Someone said, “There are two kinds of football coaches and Baptist preachers: Those that have been fired and those that will be.” Southern Baptist churches are firing ministers at the alarming rate of one hundred per month. Rejection is a cruel reality in ministry. Think about Noah, Moses, Joseph, Elijah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Paul and even Jesus experienced rejection. Like the line in the classic novel Tale of Two Cities, ministry can be “the best of times and the worst of times.”
  • Preserving basic needs. Birds, fish and animals are constantly looking for basic needs to be met. Men and women have intricate systems of needs that must be addressed if we are to experience emotional well-being. When they are not addressed or quashed, we experience hurt and then anger.
  • Preserving deeply-held convictions. It’s tough to manage our feelings of anger when we feel our convictions are violated. Too often dogmatism sets in quickly within those of us who have been trained to think in “black and white” terms.

How we Deal with Anger

Friend, whether it’s past, present or in your future, the bite marks anger leaves in your spirit may be evident in the ways we deal with it. For example:

  • Some people suppress anger. It’s holding anger inside in unhealthy ways.
  • Some people express anger. This is evidenced by: griping, sarcasm, rage, intimidation and blame.
  • Some people become passive with anger. In a battle for superiority, passively angry people have a need to control without being transparent or open.
  • Some people are assertive with anger. Failure to share feelings in a constructive way may produce assertive anger.
  • Everyone needs to deal with anger. The most difficult choice of the five options is letting go. Don’t hold it in; don’t let it out; don’t be passive or assertive.

How to Release Your Anger

Pastor, learn to release your anger. “But,” you ask, “how do it do this?”

Ephesians 4:26-27; 30-32 teaches several principles about being proactive in dealing with anger:

  • Principle 1: Admit the sin in your anger (Ephesians 4:26)
  • Principle 2: Confront anger by seeing the devil in it (Ephesians 4:27).
  • Principle 3: Invite the Holy Spirit to change you by confessing anger (Ephesians 4:30).
  • Principle 4: Choose to drop your anger…at this very moment (Ephesians 4:31).
  • Principle 5: Substitute forgiveness for your anger. (Ephesians 4:32).

6 Practical Insights

Finally, consider some additional practical insights for your personal growth.

  • Your temper is like a fire. It gets very destructive when it gets out of control.
  • A shut mouth gathers no foot.
  • He who throws dirt loses ground.
  • Swallowing angry words before you say them is better than having to eat them afterwards.
  • Anger is a stone thrown at a wasp’s nest.
  • People who fly into rage always make a bad landing.

It’s your choice. You spend the next 10 to 50 years mad as a hornet. In the end, you may possess a ministry that is impotent. Furthermore, you will become a bitter old man. There is a better way. Ask the One who unconditionally loves you and me to mend our lives by creating within us a clean heart.

What a great and practical article!  I know that for me if brought to light some areas that I need continual care and processing in.  For, as much as I would like to not admit this, I have been there…and I don’t like being there…but I know the ONE who can get me out of myself and refocused!

For further reading on this topic, consider getting the book “The Gift of Forgiveness” by Charles Stanley.  It is a GREAT read, practical, and ministers deeply to the heart.  If you have the need to work on forgiveness in your life…consider this the only book that you need…

I would love to hear from you what you are thinking about this topic…anger/forgiveness.  Share with me below in the “reply” section…

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Comments
  1. “Pastor – How do you deal with your anger? (not just for Pastors!
    ) Navigating Ministry and Marriage” in fact enables
    myself imagine a small amount more. I personally cherished each and every
    single portion of this post. Thanks a lot ,Liza

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