Anger series: Part 1 – Introduction to Anger
The Anger Stop Sign
- Anger is like a stop sign that causes the ministry session to come to a crashing halt.
- Not all anger is apparent and can be elusive and concealed.
- As logical as it may seem to remain angry, it holds us in bondage, provides no real control, and keeps us in pain.
- Dealing with anger does not mean trying to stop being angry or confessing it as sin.
- The belief supporting the anger must be identified and replaced with the truth. When this occurs, anger will be released without any effort.
- In the same way that it requires no effort to remain angry and hold it in place, it requires no effort to allow it to go once you know the truth.
Imagine that you are in your car, driving down the road, when you suddenly notice a stop sign a short distance ahead of you. What would you do? (or rather, what SHOULD you do?) You should slowly bring your vehicle to a stop.
But why would you do this? The stop sign is not directly in your way. It is not physically blocking you from moving forward. You COULD choose to drive past it without ever touching the brake pedal. The reason you choose to stop is because of what that sign represents: a belief that driving too quickly through the intersection could be dangerous, or the potential threat of a traffic violation and a fine. You believe that maintaining your speed and ignoring the sign is dangerous and potentially expensive. So, in light of what you believe, you choose to stop at the sign.
This same dynamic is at play in a Transformation Prayer Ministry session when anger shows up. Anger is like a stop sign that causes the ministry session to come to a crashing halt. When anger shows up, forward motion ceases.Here are several examples of beliefs that act as “stop signs” on our way to freedom. However, these are not rooted in the truth; they are lies. Beliefs such as “My anger keeps me safe;” “My anger empowers me to do the right thing;” “My anger protects me from being hurt again;” or “My anger holds the person accountable for what they did to me”, all hinder the ministry process. Although these untruthful “stop signs” do not physically stop us or get in our way, they give us reason to pause and heavily dictate our decisions. Until we know the truth, we will likely keep our foot on the brake and feel stuck when in fact there is nothing hindering us from moving forward other than our own belief and choice.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the Belief and Choice Principle
Anger Serves Us
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The Elusive Presence of Anger
The anger “stop sign” can cause our ministry session to stall out by keeping us from receiving God’s truth and moving forward. It is also often elusive and concealed. Sometimes we deny being angry because we have been wrongly taught that it is always bad or sinful; especially anger that we might feel toward God. The Bible tells us that we can be angry and not sin when it says, “Be angry but do not sin…” (Eph. 4:26). Whether anger is being realized or not, it is still doing what it is doing. Just because a person does not acknowledged it —or is even aware of it— does not have any impact on its consequences.
Thus, if you (the one being prayed with) feel angry during a ministry session, it is imperative that you be honest about it and be willing to identify its source and what you believe that holds it in place. Let your mentoring facilitator know if anger is present. This is your journey and it is important that you work at uncovering the untruthful “stop signs” that you may have erected. If you are angry at God, He already knows, since nothing is hidden from Him. If you are angry at others, your anger is not accomplishing what you may believe that it is. The Bible is clear about this when it says, “the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness [the justice] of God.” (Jam. 1:20) We become angry for specific reasons; and we hold on to anger because of what we believe. As logical as it may seem to remain angry, it holds us in bondage, provides no real control, and keeps us in pain.
When you are feeling anger at anyone other than God —yourself or your situation, this anger is always a “solution” for something. This anger is serving you in some manner. When you let your mentoring facilitator know when you are feeling angry toward someone, yourself or your situation, he or she will ask you the “De-solution” questions in the SOLUTION Box. These questions will help you to identify the belief that is holding the anger in place. Once this belief is exposed it can be offered to the Lord to get His perspective. Anger toward God is dealt with differently. We will discover this difference soon.
Dealing with your anger does not mean that you try to stop being angry. Confessing it as sin has a very poor success rate when it comes to resolving it. The reason that you are angry (the belief) must be identified and replaced with the truth. When this occurs, you will let your anger go without any effort. In the same way that it requires no effort to remain angry and hold it in place, it requires no effort to allow it to go once you know the truth. It is only there because of what you believe, and when your belief is changed, the anger will go away.
Anger Makes It Hard to Hear
- It is illogical to let anger go. If my anger is solving my problem and I let it go, then I am stuck with my problem with no remedy.
- The goal is not to try to let go of the anger, but rather to receive the Lord’s truth so that there is no problem to solve and therefore, we do not “need” to remain angry.
- Struggle in letting anger go is an indication that we still believe something that is producing the anger we feel. When this belief is changed to the Lord’s perspective, we will stop feeling angry.
- Anger comes in all shapes and sizes. There are many different members found in the anger “family.”
- The direction the emotion is flowing is an indication of whether it falls into the “anger family” or not and not so much what we are feeling. We feel anger toward someone or some thing, whereas, not so with other emotions.
- Anger felt toward God it is always based in a misunderstanding about God and His purposes and never because God has wronged us.
Holding on to anger is like putting our fingers in our ears while God speaks truth to us. Our lie-based belief about anger (a solution belief) may make it difficult –or more likely, impossible– to ever let it go. The logic here is, if my anger is solving my problem and I let it go, then I am stuck with my problem with no remedy. Yet, the goal is not to try to let go of the anger, but rather to receive the Lord’s truth so that there is no problem to solve and therefore, we do not “need” to remain angry. When we know the truth concerning our anger, our anger will dissipate without any effort and without struggle.
If we find ourselves trying to let the anger go, this is an indication that we still believe something that is producing the anger we feel. We are angry because of what we currently believe and when this belief is changed to the Lord’s perspective, we will stop feeling angry. It is really that simple. The difficulty in releasing it is directly related to why we believe that we need it.
There are many different forms of anger that fall into the anger “family.” It comes in all shapes and sizes. It may appear as revenge, hate, wrath, malice, rage, impatience, frustration, or feeling “ticked”, “miffed”, exasperated, flustered, aggravated or irritated.
The truth is, anger may feel like any negative emotion. However, anger is felt toward someone or some thing, whereas, this is not so for other emotions. When determining if what we feel is anger, it is not what we feel, but rather do we feel something toward someone or thing. The direction the emotion is flowing is an indication of whether it falls into the “anger family” or not. Other negative emotions (that are not anger) are not flowing toward someone or thing, but more inward or within. We don’t feel worried, anxious, fearful, alone “toward” someone or thing. We feel this inwardly.
This is why one of the questions that we sometimes ask, “Is any portion of what you are feeling, being felt toward any person or thing?” when trying to help the person to identify illusive anger. We will learn proper protocol soon in a forthcoming article.
Nevertheless, anger is still anger, and it is a hindrance to freedom. Again, anger will no longer be needed and thus released once the belief holding it in place is replaced with God’s truth.
When anger shows up in a session it will be focused either toward God or someone or something else. If your anger is being felt toward anyone or anything other than God you will use the “De-Solution Tool” to resolve it. However, if your anger is toward God you will need to take a slightly different approach.
Anger Toward God
We find release from anger we feel toward God differently than anger we may feel toward others and things. Anger towards others often originates in truth of what happened and may have been justified at the time it was initially embraced. This is why we can “be angry and yet not sin…” However, by choosing to hold on to it – “letting the sun go down” – we give the “devil opportunity” to deceive us into holding on to it (Eph. 4:26). This is where the lies such as, “My anger keeps me safe,” “My anger holds him accountable,” My anger gives me control,” etc. can originate.
Whereas, when we harbor anger at God it is always based in a misunderstanding about God and His purposes and never because God has wronged us. Thus the goal is to determine why we are angry with God and then understand that whatever the real reason may be, it is not based upon the truth. Once the lie is identified, we can take our complaint to him (as Job contended with God). God encourages us to do this because he wants us to know the truth that will set us free (John 8:32).
There are times when we think we are angry at God because of what He did or did not do. For example, we might say, “I am angry at God because He did not stop that person from hurting me.” Or, “I am mad at God because He gave me terrible parents.” Or, “I am angry at God because He did not protect me from all the bad things that happened to me.”
It may in fact be the truth that all this and more occurred and God did not prevent it from happening. It is very possible that God allowed injustice to touch our lives and bring us great harm. It is not what God did or did not do that makes us angry, but rather how we understand God in light of these things. What do we believe that it says about God if He let us down, did not protect us, did not do what we believe He should have or not done. Our anger is held in place by how we interpreted what we believe about it all and not because of it. Once we see what happened from His perspective everything will change.
The way we help the person to uncover the lie behind what he believes did or did not happen, is to ask the “Looping Question” borrowed from the MEMORY Box — that asks, “Why does believing ______ make you feel angry toward God?” This will help us identify the belief behind our anger.
FOR EXAMPLE, “WHY DOES BELIEVING THAT GOD COULD HAVE MADE IT STOP, BUT CHOSE NOT TO, MAKE YOU FEEL ANGRY TOWARDS HIM?”
The response to this question might be something like, “He abandoned me,” or “He must not care about me,” etc. Once you identify the lie believed and receive God’s perspective, the anger will dissipate and you will be able to move forward in the session. As you proceed through the TPM session, be aware of the possibility that you may have other reasons for being angry, resentful toward others, yourself, your situation, or even God. If this is the case, there will be a reason – a lie-based belief − that keeps it there. If you come to a place where you feel stuck, emotionally shut down, or cannot hear from God, check for the presence of any anger. If you are working with a prayer facilitator, then and let him or her know what you have discovered. If at some point in a TPM session, your emotions go away, no memory comes to mind, or you do not hear anything from God, know that all of this is common and can be a symptom of hidden anger.
The controls are in your hands. Anger is a major untruthful “stop sign” that can hinder your moving forward, but you can proceed once your lie-based belief is transformed by truth. You merely need to choose to identify it and receive God’s perspective.