Striking Rocks, pt.4: Handling Anger

“Never make a big decision when you are sad, tired or angry.”

Moses was sad.
Moses was tired.
Moses was angry.

In the face of some momentary discomfort, the people rebel against Moses. They accused him of not following God’s will; of being a poor leader; of being incapable of providing for the needs of the congregation.

Can you imagine what was going through Moses’ mind at that point? If it were me, I might be thinking:

“Really?! Are you serious? Have you forgotten everything I have done for you? Let me refresh your memories:
I risked my life (committing murder in the process) to stand up against your Egyptian oppressors.
I risked my freedom and my life, again, in going toe-to-toe with Pharaoh on your behalf.
I successfully (and prosperously) led your emancipation and exodus from Egyptian bondage.
I performed miracle upon miracle – the Egyptian plagues, crossing the Red Sea, water from rock, quail meat at night, manna in the morning).
You have never had to replace your shoes in 40 years.

And now, because you are a little thirsty, you will throw me under the camel herd! Is that the thanks I get?!”

When people hurt us, when we feel disrespected, overworked or under-appreciated, it is a natural response to become angry.

  • When those kids would not listen to me, I became angry because they did not appreciate the fact that I was sacrificing a night at home with my family to be with them.
  • When those students cursed at me, I became angry because they disrespected me and didn’t care about the level I had put into my presentation for them.
  • When that hospitalized woman criticized me, I became angry because she did not thank me for coming me to see her or acknowledge that I could have been doing something else.
  • When the member criticized my wardrobe, I became angry because I thought he was being petty and immature.

God’s word does not tell us that anger is inappropriate, but to “be angry and sin not” (Eph. 4:26). The issue is not in expressing the emotion, but in expressing it in a manner that does not produce the righteousness that God desires (James 1:20).

Some food for thought…

  • What are you angry about? Leaders fighting? Sheep biting?
  • Can you see ways in which your anger is negatively impacting your attitude in and about ministry?
  • Are you sinning in the way that you are expressing your anger and frustration?
  • What is the appropriate way to handle your anger?
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