CHAPTER 9 ANGER
THE DECEITFULNESS OF SIN
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All rights Reserved
CHAPTER 9 ANGER
He tied his running shoes tightly and walked to the door. The
sun was just coming up as he exited the back of the house and
providing just enough light to see clearly. He jogged down the alley
until he came to the gravel road leading away from town. It was three
miles to the salidin's farm and over the years, the gravel had been
packed down well enough, that it made for a perfect running track.
Glancing at his watch, the pastor began to run his daily six mile
He hadn't run a hundred yards before his mundane thoughts began
to drift away and his mind focused on his running. Soon, he knew, his
mind would no longer be focused on his running. It was a daily time
that allowed him to let his mind run free. Many problems and issues
seemed to be settled on his daily runs. It was probably the most
therapeutic thing he did every day. He had learned that he actually
was praying during these runs and besides the physical exertion and
the generating of the endorphins, he felt closer to God than at any
A mile passed and he began thinking about the board of elders
meeting scheduled for that night. Such a thought wasn't all that
uncommon and usually the running allowed him to work out any problems
that were associated. The church had six men on the board and they
were all fine men, he knew, but there was one who always gave him
trouble. This elder had pastored a church before and this made him
feel somehow uncomfortable. At least he thought such was the case.
This was his first church but he'd been here twelve years now and the
150 people they had coming made life fairly easy for him. His wife no
longer had to work and on the days she came in, the church paid her to
be his part time secretary.
His mind immediately, for some reason, fixed again upon the man
who always caused him trouble. He tried analyzing the unease he felt
about the man. His Christian testimony was impeccable. He couldn't
fault him for not living the Word. Over the years, he had asked him
to preach several times, too, and his preaching and teaching was as
good as anybody's; including his own. That bothered him a little bit
but not as much as he first thought it might. Of course, he hadn't
asked him to preach for over a year now and he wasn't ever going to
ask him to preach again; not in his church anyway. The man was
faithful, too, he realized. He never missed any services and he was
faithful in his giving. In fact, his giving was better than anyone
else in the church and that included himself. So what bothered him
about the man? He had never been able to figure it out. The man did
seem to disagree with him often but it never seemed to be on any
theological or doctrinal issue. As he ran, he tried to isolate just
one area in which they disagreed but nothing came to mind. This
caused him to be frustrated and he ran faster. The man had a fervor
for the Lord that he could not put his finger on. Yet, when it came
to board decisions, he always had something different he would point
out. The man never quite seemed to go along with the rest of the
As the second mile passed, he felt his muscles responding and he
increased his pace a little more. As he thought about it, the man was
sincere, he knew, and he had even watched him lead people to Christ.
The pastor had never even done that himself, come to think of it, and
he felt the anger rise within him without understanding. The man
loved the Lord, loved the lost, and loved the church. He knew
instinctively, too, that the man loved him and that they had once been
friends; close friends. So what was wrong? Still he could not put
his finger on it.
Reaching the end of the third mile marked by the lane leading
down to old Tom's farm house, he turned and reversed his direction.
It irritated him that this man would fill his thoughts on his morning
run. He had to admit, for some reason, he did not like the man. He
couldn't actually say he wished he wasn't in his church but there
always seemed to be some sort of friction between them. They'd had
plenty of disagreements but nothing major except for that one sermon
he had preached a year ago. He focused on that as he ran; the gravel
crunching with each planting of his foot. That was the sorriest
sermon he had ever heard preached. He remembered it well. He'd
gotten so mad at one point, he knew his face had turned red; at least
his wife said it did. The man had preached on the topic of boring
Christianity and how we were burning spiritual energy without
accomplishing anything. He did everything but call the pastor's own
name. As he recalled, however, the man had put himself at the center
of all he said. He blamed himself for having that kind of an
attitude. No, he decided, he was preaching against me; the pastor.
He really didn't like me, he decided. He didn't think I was good
enough. Just like my parents when they gave me away at the age of
twelve. They didn't want me either. This man had pastored before and
he wanted my church. That's what is really going on.
He thought about the meeting of the board of elders again and
realized this man would be there again tonight. He wouldn't disagree
exactly but he wasn't in agreement either. Mile four passed as he
ran. Maybe tonight he bring this issue up before the board. The
other five members were solidly behind him. They'd vote the way he
thought best. Maybe it was time to bring this proud man down a notch
or two. Maybe a good dose of humility would teach him a thing or two.
That was it, he finally decided. The man was proud. What else would
explain his attitude. Even as he thought this, he knew the man was
everything but proud. Regardless, that had to be the root of the
man's problem. He was the pastor; not this man. He did the
preaching, he was led by the Holy Spirit, and he ran the church. This
man was in his way and in the way of the ministry.
Mile five went by and he pushed himself that last mile to the
limit; trying to force the thoughts of this man from his mind. He had
decided. He would ask the board to remove the man from leadership.
He would take his Sunday school class away from him. He wouldn't kick
him out or ask him to leave but he bet, once he took these positions
away from him, the man would leave. He'd leave and be mad when he
left, too. That would prove he was right about him. Besides, the man
deserved to be humbled and he was just the man to do it. If he didn't
like it, he could leave and maybe the church would be better for it,
too. He'd keep his wife on the worship team but the man wouldn't be
seated on the platform with him any longer and he wondered, as he ran,
how the man would like that.
As he approached the final bend in the road, he felt himself
growing faint and wished he brought along his water bottle. He pushed
on but he felt winded and that was unusual for him. He pushed harder,
rounded the bend, and headed for the back of his home.
He dropped in his backyard as the pain in his chest overtook him.
A UPS truck slid to a stop and the driver jumped out. Turning the man
over, he began doing CPR. When he looked up and saw a woman standing
in the doorway of the house, he yelled for her to call for the
paramedics and she instantly disappeared.
The pastor felt as if he were floating. He knew someone was
there but he couldn't really feel anything. He heard himself asking
the very man, with whom he had disagreement, to please pray for him.
In his workshop, the man froze. He dropped his tools on the
bench and sank to his knees. He felt the strong urge to pray for his
pastor. He began speaking words of life into the spiritual realm in
COMMENTS ON ANGER
Anger is so prevalent in today's local New Testament church, you
would think we would recognize it for what it is. Instead, we use it
to our advantage, both in our personal life to cover up our
woundedness, and in church to block, and otherwise disguise, the truth
from coming out where others might see whom we really are.
The man in this chapter is someone I personally know. He isn't a
runner, I made that up, but he is a great man and loves the Lord. He
knows how to preach and he preaches well. He knows the Word of God
like few men I have personally met. I believe he loves people, too.
Yet, every person who comes to his church, eventually leaves. Why?
Because he is afraid someone is going to discover who he really is.
No, he isn't hiding any secret sins that I am aware of and he is one
of the most solid Christians I personally know. Then what's the
problem? It begins with pride but he isn't a proud man. His pride is
a protective shield use to keep people from getting too close to him.
His strongest shield, however, is his anger. Both these work well
together to mask the pain he has carried within himself all his life.
No, he was never sexually abused or beaten to a pulp. In fact, to
hear him tell about his life, it sounds as if he lived a normal
Midwestern boy's life in a small town. The truth comes out when you
make the mistake of probing a little deeper and not everybody is
allowed to do that.
When he was about 12 years of age, his parents said they were too
poor to take care of him so they gave him to his relatives to raise.
At least this is the story he tells about himself. He has let it slip
how he was a loner as a child and that he never really had any
friends. Even though he joined the military as he grew older,
friendships were never really established.
I have learned there is a real good way to wreck a friendship
with some people and that is by becoming their friend and getting
close to them. The minute they realize you have moved in a little too
close for their comfort, a trap door opens and they are gone. Often
it is anger that responds the quickest because they have learned, over
the years, anger will chase away people quicker than anything. If you
are a pastor, there are likewise no stupid followup questions to
answer because you are the pastor.
This man, by the way, in 13 years of pastoral ministry, lost
every single church member he had. The church he took over started
with about 100 people but so many came and went over the 13 years, the
church probably had closer to 300 people there collectively at one
time or another. He is no longer pastoring and that is sad to me.
I personally have learned this lesson the hard way with at least
four different people. In each case, anger was used to pull up a wall
of protection. Anger assists in burying the woundedness that is
really not all that far below the surface. Often, fear is beneath the
anger and beneath the fear is where the pain hides. We, as
Christians, consider fear a spiritual weakness. Anger, however, is
almost admired because it shows character. I know there is a flaw in
that reasoning but if you have ever been involved in church work and
had to deal with people within ministry framework, you know this is
A man called me one day and was very angry. His wife was a drug
addict and although he knew it to some degree, he tried to keep it
under control. Besides, his wife was the worship leader of the
musical group in the church. Furthermore, his wife was living
immorally. Although he likely was aware of some of her behavior, he
did not want to believe it was true. It Was eventually confirmed by
computer logs, which she didn't know were being kept, as she used the
internet to chat with others.
My personal knowledge was in regard to the illicit drug use.
When it was proved to me by another church member, I prayed and felt I
had no other choice but to deliver the evidence to the pastor.
Unfortunately, the pastor was her husband's brother. What is it the
British call that type of a situation? A sticky wicket? It was also
discovered some of the other members of the worship team were living
immoral with each other. That's right; they were committing adultery.
When the mud hit the fan, sort of speak, I found it impossible to
remain in this church. Sin was one thing but theologically, the
Scriptures were even being violated in other ways that I could not
support as a fundamentalist. We left the church.
As I said, this man called me one day and you could hear the
anger in his voice the moment he spoke the first word. I listened and
answered him occasionally but the purpose of his call was to report on
the lack of my Christian character. In short, his call was to tell me
how lousy of a Christian I was. If you are thinking that he was
protecting himself through the use of his anger, you would be right.
The Holy Spirit spoke to me as he talked and said, "this man is angry
and he is hurt. I do not want you to compound his pain. Be gentle."
When the man finally hesitated to take a breath, I said, using his
name, "Why are you so angry?" It was the correct thing to say because
out came the pain and the hurt and his woundedness and that was what
God wanted me to hear. I was then able to assure the man that what he
had heard was not only untrue but it was a lie. As I explained, his
anger softened and soon he realized I was talking to him because I
loved him as a brother in the Lord; not because I hated him nor his
wife in spite of what I knew.
It is far from easy trying to talk around someone who has
released their anger. If you are careful and let the Holy Spirit be
your Guide, you may discover that establishing a friendship is worth
the trouble. At the same time I say that, since the church has lost
its focus in many such areas of this nature, your experience with
anger is likely going to be one of opposite effect, that is, one of
extreme negativity. You, however, can still gain insight to others by
understanding why their anger is so often displayed by loving them in
I am sorry to say that pastors are notorious for using anger to
hide behind their deep pain. Few will ever allow anybody to get close
enough to them in order to minister to that pain. My advice, in such
cases, is the only thing we can do and that's pray for them. I still
pray for my pastor even though he is no longer in the ministry. It is
easy to think, "If he only knew how much I loved him, he wouldn't feel
that way." Unfortunately, they do know, in most cases, how much you
love them; that's why the anger, the pride, and the arrogance comes
out so freely when you are around. Just remember that they are
wounded people, too, and their pride keeps them from allowing
closeness. You may discover, as my fictional story depicts, they will
even consider ways to distance themselves from you personally if you
get too close.
I feel led to also mention something about music teams. My wife
sings, plays the piano, and drums. So she has been on a number of
worship teams. Christian musicians are worse than pastors in these
regards. Why? Because the worship music taps into their emotions and
every musician I have known is a spiritually sensitive person. This
means their true emotional feelings come out from hiding a lot
quicker, and with a lot more force, than most pastors. At the same
time, they, too, do not want to be seen as unspiritual, spiritually
weak, or a poor Christian so they, too, react to protect their pain.
Worship teams are used by the Holy Spirit in very powerful ways
because God uses music to bring out the worst and the best in us as
His people. If you are on a worship team, you know what I am talking
about. Get healing for yourself and then minister to others on the
music team. They won't like your ministry any more than the pastor
does but if you are an intercessor, and many Christians blessed with
music talents are, your ministry as an intercessor is even more
important than your gift in music. It is time to take a stand. "But
what if I am rejected?" Then you need healing in that area of your
life. Don't let others suffer any longer just because you feel better
End Of Chapter 9
Go To: Chapter 10 - Grief
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