At Good Shepherd, we began 2019 with a message series about anger called Up In Arms.
And the first message in that series concluded by asking congregants to ask themselves three sobering questions regarding their own anger.
Although almost three months have passed since that message, I believe it’s a good time for you and for me to revisit them. Here they are, direct questions for any of you who spend more than your fair share of time being “up in arms”:
Who is the REAL target? My kids may get the brunt of my anger but am I just venting at my mom and dad for stuff that happened way back when? Am I just repeating cycles that I should stop? Please know this: the target of your tantrum is not the same as the object of your anger.
Who is paying a high price for what I’m too cheap to examine? I know first hand that a lot of people need ongoing, pay-for-it, therapeutic work. Please. Don’t say, “I can’t afford it.” If you have a compulsion, if you have despair, if you have wounding that no amount of pulling yourself up will get you out of, you can’t afford not to.
How is my anger a downpayment on future relationship control? Man, this is a big one. A lot of you have learned through the years that by losing your temper occasionally and THREATENING to lose it frequently, you can control the behavior of others. They are so scared of what MIGHT HAPPEN that they sort of grin, bear it, and do what you say. You didn’t know all that’s what was going on until just now, but now you do. Listen: if you are successful at getting people to walk on eggshells around you, you WILL have their compliance but you WILL NOT have their love. It’s not worth it.