Angry Man

A Common Trap To Avoid

Being a leader is an honor. Being a leader in the ministry is a double honor!

It’s also a massive challenge. On one hand, we get to serve Jesus and represent Him to others. On the other hand, the burden of people is a real weight and it can impact us negatively.

This responsibility is unique because it touches every aspect of our lives: spirit, soul, and body. This involves the healing of our past and the hope of our future. It gives the chance to see people go from darkness to light and from despair to deliverance. Oh yes, serving Jesus gives us the chance to be whole; furthermore, as a leader, we get to help others have this too.

When leaders lead well, people are safe and God is revealed in great ways. When leaders don’t lead well, people are unsafe, and hurt, and a scattering takes place.

This is what the enemy wants and he has traps to trip us up and get us off course. Out of all of these traps, there’s a BIG common one to avoid, anger.

If you’re like me, YES!!

When we’re emotionally worked up, the chances of making a mistake are high. This is where we react versus respond.

The Bible gives us an insight into this trap by saying it this way,

“26. And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27. for anger gives a foothold to the devil.”

Ephesians‬ ‭4‬:‭26‬-‭27‬

Notice that anger can give a foothold to the devil. It also says we can be angry and sin not. I’m still working on this!

So we see that the enemy is looking for footholds into our lives and anger is one way he can do this.

When I think of being a leader in the ministry, this is huge to navigate.

The truth is, that hurt people hurt people. Things happen and over time, we get hurt by people in the church and by people outside of it. But the sting from the people we do life with can do great damage if we’re not careful.

This is what happened to Moses and it’s a cautionary tale for us to learn from.

Psalms 106:32-33 say this,

“32. At Meribah, too, they angered the Lord, causing Moses serious trouble. 33. They made Moses angry, and he spoke foolishly.”

Psalms 106:32-33

This is the account of when Moses was so angry that he did not obey God in speaking to the rock for water to come but instead used his staff to hit the rock.

God in His grace still provided a miracle for His people at Meribah, but Moses would pay the price and not be able to enter the promised land.

But this didn’t happen in a single moment, this was building up over time with the burden Moses was carrying. On multiple occasions he was tested by their arguing, complaining, blaming, wrong acts, and more. He was getting worn down. We know this because his father-in-law Jethro, warned him and then gave him a plan in Exodus 18.

Unfortunately, anger got the best of him in this moment and because of it, he was not able to enter the promise of God.

This is why I believe God moves despite us, not because of us. This whole thing is by Grace.

The good news is that, we don’t have to repeat the same mistake that Moses made. We can overcome it.

Here are three steps we can take to be guarded from this trap.

1st – Talk it out.

We cannot underestimate the power of talking out our anger. Of course, we do this with a trusted confidant, but we must talk it out.

It’s healthy to talk out our anger and to be in touch with the things we’re feeling on the inside of us. When we keep it inside and don’t acknowledge it or get it out, it’s just a matter of time before it comes out in a wrong way.

Even worse, to the wrong person.

I believe that venting is needed for us as leaders because it helps us get out our raw emotions and what we’re feeling in our humanity. Leaders must have the space and when they don’t, it’s dangerous.

These moments of talking out our anger are often not repeated or used in the actual conversation of resolution. But this is to unload the pain and the hurt that we feel when we’re navigating these instances.

Talking it out is real, raw, and needed.

It helps and it keeps us clean in our hearts. Please talk to someone and let it out!!

2nd – Resolve it.

One of the best things we can do is get a plan to resolve these issues. One of the worst things we can do is choose to not resolve it.

When we can resolve it, the doors close and we move on. I’ve learned over time that this is the best way to have it because when we don’t, the wound lingers in our hearts. This is a huge part of how we overcome the trap of anger and move on in our lives.

So here is what I mean by resolving it.

After we talk it out with a trusted confidant, we take proactive steps in dealing with the individual and the situation. This can be done by talking to the person, which is the best way. Whether they stay in our lives or leave, talking can bring the finality we need to move on.

If they refuse to talk, I believe writing a letter is good too. This is done with love, honesty, and care.

If the person has passed away, we’ve encouraged leaders to write letters to them, which has helped them release it, and move on with resolution.

The bottom line is this, we must be proactive to resolve it.

3rd – Pray for them.

I know this sounds like a cliché, but it’s true. When we pray for those that have hurt us we are inviting God to heal us and them.

This is not based on if they change, apologize, and make it right. But rather it’s based on the reality that the only person we can control is ourselves. Praying helps us keep our hearts in check, and that the anger we’re navigating is under the control of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It’s not about what they do, but rather it’s what we choose to do as a leader.

This makes a massive difference in handling the situation around us, and more importantly, handling the situation with us.

I personally pray over a list of people every day who have done wrong things to me and my family. I bless them and want the best for them. This is not to have them make it right with me, it’s for me to stay right with God.

Over time I’ve learned that prayer changes me – equally or more than it changes others. My job is to pray for them and stay clean in my heart.

This is how we can avoid the common trap of anger. In ministry, we’re going to come face to face with it, so having a plan prepares us to be ready and to overcome it.

God has great things for you and the best is yet to come! Keep going and refuse to be trapped by anger.

God is with you and the best is yet to come,

PD

Pastor David Norris

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