BreakPoint: Anger Mismanagement

We Need Faith, Hope, and Love

What really makes you mad? If you’re an American, you’ve got an awful lot to choose from.

You’ve no doubt heard the term “anger management,” a popular approach in psychology to help people control their emotions and the accompanying physiological reactions. Despite the good that this type of counseling sometimes achieves, it’s clear that we’re not managing our anger very well. In a country with unrivaled material goods and freedom, Americans are an increasingly angry lot.

According to a CNN/ORC poll just before the election last fall, an amazing 69 percent of Americans said they were either very or somewhat angry at the state of the nation. Politics and the divisions it creates, with a big assist from the media, are huge reasons why.

“The way the Internet and cable news work, outrage over any event can be mustered easily,” David Pizarro, a professor of psychology at Cornell University, told TIME magazine. “We feel those emotions strongly in ways we didn’t used to.” TIME says that we are in the “Age of Anger,” and it’s hard to disagree.

Everywhere you look, you can see signs of this anger mismanagement. As Lee Grady at Charisma magazine notes, “Depending on which side of an issue Americans stand, we are offended by Starbucks coffee, Chick-fil-A sandwiches, Target restrooms, CNN, Fox, Nike shoes, the real cause of hurricanes or whatever the actress Jennifer Lawrence said yesterday.” It’s no secret that both the Left and the Right gin up a lot of this ready-made outrage because it’s good for their business. But it’s bad for our souls.

And the sad fact is, too often we Christians are rolling around in the muck with the rest of the nation. There’s no doubt that there are important issues and challenges in America, and it’s fine—oftentimes required—for us Christians to take a stand. But Lee reminds us that how we do so before a watching world is critically important. We can fight—William Wilberforce did, after all—but let’s not fight dirty.

We’ll link you to the article at BreakPoint.org to flesh them out, but here are Lee’s main points. One: Dial down your anger toward your political enemies. Two: Check your heart for racial prejudice. Three: Wash your mouth out. Four: Speak words of kindness to others. Five: Reach out to loners. And six: Turn up your love for your Christian brothers and sisters. Just imagine what might happen if we Christians started applying that last one more consistently.

So why is it so hard for us to respond differently than the world does to the various outrages going on all around us? Well, you probably won’t be surprised if I say that our worldview has something to do with it. As Christians, we sin with anger because we lack faith in God’s ability to provide for or protect us.

We also sin with anger because we lack hope. Is it possible that we’re expecting too much from this world and too little from the next? As Paul said to the Romans, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Amen! We need a little more joy and peace, and a little less anger. And biblical hope will get us there!

Finally, we sin in the realm of anger because we lack love. As Paul said in his great chapter on love, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.”

So, friends, I’m speaking as a sinner to sinners. We all can do our part to address America’s anger mismanagement crisis. And for us Christians, it starts with a little more faith, hope, and love.

 

Anger Mismanagement: We Need Faith, Hope, and Love

A great reminder from Eric for what the attitude and demeanor of a believer should demonstrate–faith, hope and love, along with joy and peace. These might be lacking in the culture around us, but we’re encouraged to do what we can to “dial down” the anger and ramp up the patience and kindness.

 

Resources

Turn Up Your Love, Tone Down Your Anger
  • Lee Grady | Charisma | October 4, 2017
Is America About to Explode?
  • Lee Grady | Charisma | September 27, 2017

Comment Policy: Commenters are welcome to argue all points of view, but they are asked to do it civilly and respectfully. Comments that call names, insult other people or groups, use profanity or obscenity, repeat the same points over and over, or make personal remarks about other commenters will be deleted. After multiple infractions, commenters may be banned.

  • The one change I would make in this article is in the 5th paragraph where you say, “Turn up your love for your Christian brothers and sisters.” That one is relatively easy. Christ commanded that we love all men. The difficult task is to love those with whom we vehemently disagree.
    An old poem says,
    “Heaven above with those we love, oh that will be glory;
    but life below with those we know, now that’s another story.”
    It’s in the clash of disagreement and differences where our obedience to our Lord and Savior is really tested.

    • Stan Guthrie

      Loving fellow Christians was No. 6 on the list, but your point is well taken.

  • Paul McCosby

    Frankly, I’m not altogether certain that people don’t have ample reason to be more angry than they are. I note that this article seems to deliberately list a number of apparently stupid things about which people get angry. It seems to me, however, that the anger involved is, generally, merely an expression in a particular case of the single general anger which is a necessary effect of the general clash of worldview. I would say to Mr. Metaxas that, it seems to me, he is merely trivializing the issue in his effort to administer rebuke. To take the matter from the Christian perspective, is it reasonable, is it even psychologically possible, for a person to seriously believe that various institutions in the current state of things are actively seeking to promote a false worldview, and thereby assisting in the destruction of souls, and not to respond with anger, outrage, fury? I have difficulty conceiving what other response could be rational under these circumstances. At any rate, I think that, this is at least the issue which must be dealt with and would therefore ask the people at Breakpoint if they could see their way to addressing this matter with more consideration for real issues involved.

    • Stan Guthrie

      “There’s no doubt that there are important issues and challenges in America, and it’s fine—oftentimes required—for us Christians to take a stand. But Lee reminds us that how we do so before a watching world is critically important. We can fight—William Wilberforce did, after all—but let’s not fight dirty.”

    • gladys1071

      I usually try to think when i want to get angry is that God will sort everything out in the end. God will have the final say on everything, that gives me comfort. At the same time we have to remember that no one is innocent, all are guilty of sin, none of us are truly good.

      • Scott

        Sorry gladys 1071, I tried to reply to your questions in the #Me Too thread today but found it was locked… if you really are interested in hearing a reply let me know. : – )

        I assume our conversation was friendly.

        • Gina Dalfonzo

          In case you missed it, I left a comment saying that because all the comment threads on that post were going around in circles and getting nowhere, I was closing that comment section.

          • Scott

            Is it okay if I answer gladys1071’s questions from our conversation on the #Me Too forum?

            If our discussion was going in circles, it is likely because I was not doing a very good job of articulating my thoughts. I am not a writer so I don’t always do the best job of explaining concepts, thoughts, etc. By continuing our conversation (that might be stuck in a loop) it helps me/us to improve (hone) my/our comprehensive communication skills. Gladys1071 may not need it, but I certainly do at times. Also I don’t believe there was any animosity in our discussion… the questions gladys1071 was asking were good and they were helping me to dig deeper into my convictions. That is always a good thing! : – )

          • Gina Dalfonzo

            Sorry, Scott, but no. That conversation is now closed. As I said, it wasn’t going anywhere, and I don’t see any reason to believe that it would go somewhere if it were brought over here — where it would be off-topic anyway.

          • Scott

            Okay, thank you Gina.

          • Scott

            “Is it okay if I answer gladys1071’s questions from our conversation on the #Me Too forum?”

            Am I to assume your silence means no? : – )

        • gladys1071

          Sure that is fine

      • Zarm

        Very well said. That is something I sometimes struggle to remember, especially not as often as I should.

  • Jim Lee Jr.

    Get rid of anger and hate against abstinent singles, childless married couples, and those disinterested in marriage and sex. Adult children do not owe their folks grandchildren.

    • Gina Dalfonzo

      Jim, that comment has a little too much of the flavor of “twisting the subject to suit my own agenda” about it. If you’re going to comment, please try to avoid doing that.

    • Stan Guthrie

      That sure wasn’t the focus of this piece, Jim. May the Lord give you peace.

      • The first question is “What really makes you mad?”

    • gladys1071

      I agree 100 percent.

  • Stephen Campbell

    This was a very good commentary and I believe we should speak the truth in love. However, I have one issue with the end of the article. Eric said we are sinners (including himself) which is not true. According to the Bible there are sinners or saints. If you are a new creation in Christ Jesus you are a Saint. We still have the capability to sin but are nowhere called sinners after salvation. I am a Saint who can still sin.

    • Would you mind enlightening BreakPoints readers with the Bible Verse?

      • Stephen Campbell

        1 Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 2:19 There is a book called -“Victory Over Darkness” by Neil Anderson which has some very helpful insights about our identity as true followers of Jesus.
        Thank you.

    • Stan Guthrie
    • charlie

      I would be more inclined to call myself a sinner who has been saved by God’s incredible grace through faith in the one (Jesus Christ) who shed his life’s blood a cross, died for me, was then resurrected , ascended into heaven, and is now seated at the right hand of God. I think the word saint is defined as that description in order to save ink.

      • Stephen Campbell

        Thank you for your kind words.

  • gretchen horton

    Right on, Eric! We need to spread this message everywhere lest the wedge between factions becomes too wide to ever heal, and we fall. Remember the old saying, United we Stand, divided we fall…