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Anger management or repentance?


In reading IMonks posting of April 26, he provided a couple of links from previous posts he had made about anger. Very interesting and they deserve a link. In one from April 29, 2006 called, Anger: What Can I Do?, he challenges us to consider Paul’s exhortations in Colossians 3:5-13 in relationship to anger. Spencer writes in response to this passage, “The majority of the rational, willing acts of changed behavior are within the choices of all of us who have the capacity to comprehend the language of scripture.” My initial reaction was to ask where is the Spirit of God that leads us to repentance? Paul is telling us to make choices here to “put off” and “put on” as he does in a similar way in Eph and ? I don’t want to diminish the power of our choices to bring about change but at the same time, I don’t want to depend upon my power to make those choices and to live the life of the Spirit. I suppose this is where “divine-human cooperation” comes in which Gary Thomas wrote about so well in his book, The Beautful Fight–very attractive to me what he writes–perhaps that is why I made so many posts about his book.

I so like what IMonk says next in his post on anger.

These choices are made in the context of seeing ourselves in Christ. Paul addresses anger as one of those things that should be renounced in the old life, and replaced with the virtues of the Spirit. These are choices made in the community of Christian disciples, seeking to help one another along the path of life in Christ. These are changes saturated in worship, prayer and honest relationships. We are pursuing all the implications of belonging to Jesus Christ in a new world on the other side of his resurrection. This is a community project, a spiritual project, a Biblical project.”

He then makes six comments about anger that are well worth your time to read in full.

1) Anger is often one of the “icebergs” of the human personality. We have to find what is under the surface, and not just deal with the last blow-up.

2) Every Christian man needs to be in an accountability relationship/group where his life story can become part of how other men help him see his own behavior.

3) Truthful, responsible restitution is important.

4) Anger often dwells in patterns; often in trigger behaviors that cause us to react far beyond the rational.

5) Many of us are quite aware of why we are angry, but we can’t be honest about it.

6) As I said, consultation with a doctor or counselor is a wise choice.

7) Read Andrew Lester’s books on Anger and the Christian. Very helpful. C.J. Mahaney on humility won’t hurt you either.

There are a lot of guys out there with anger issues–from my observation, we are often reluctant to share what our anger looks like inside our family with other men and if we do, the other guys mumble something about relating to the “anger” thing but how often are we willing to walk together with one another.  In my own case, it took me a loooooong time to see that I was angry and then once I realized my anger, it has been a longer journey addressing the underlying causes.  I could not have done that without others and am now able to see more easily my own anger.  However, at the moment, I find myself quite isolated and wonder if there is anyone in my life right now that knows me well enough to see when I get angry (besides my wife), much less who will speak to me about it.  How sad and how wrong.

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