Turning Anger From A Foe To A Friend

How Can You Manage Your Anger And Live A Godly Life?

Chip Ingram
Jul 22, 2019    48m
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Now that we've learned to understand our anger and the causes for it, how can we learn to control it so it becomes a potential for positive? In today's message, we'll learn about the ABCs of anger and what the Bible says about how we manage anger and live a Godly life. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

Transcription
messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Chip Ingram (00:00):
As we continue this study on overcoming emotions that destroy, I want to tell you two really quick stories. And when I get done, you'll really know why I told them to you. This'll come as a complete shock to those who really know me. I was a very ornery little kid, hyperactive and all the rest. And I'll never forget, I was 10 or 11 years old and myself and my sisters, we went to visit grandma. She lives in West Virginia in sort of a rural area. And there was a nice house and then there was some fences. And then about 600 yards of a 45 degree, really steep hill that went up. And we got to grandma's. And she said now, Chip, you know, in the back where it's all fenced in, a friend has brought his horse. It's very dangerous. It has not been ridden for years and stay away from that horse.

Chip Ingram (00:49):
It's very big. Some people have gotten hurt and no one rides it. Well, I knew right then what I was going to do. And so I got my sisters hooked in on this. And so my one sister started, you know, we got to eat a little bit and then I found a saddle. I could hardly hold it and I've never seen one. But I was into the cowboys when I was growing up. So I just, you know, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum. Some of you know that song. Others are thinking what's that got to do? So I get the saddle on and I've never, I don't know, but I just, you know, you figure, you just keep pulling on stuff and buckling stuff and it looked pretty close. I was afraid to put the bit in. So I just put a rope around his neck. And then they keep feeding him and I got him next to the fence. And then I got on him. It was a huge horse. And I got on him and he went like this. And then I mean he just sprinted up that, I mean dead run. And I'm holding onto the rope and onto the horn like this is awesome. This is like oh my gosh, this is just like on TV. You know, this is great. This is great. He gets all the way to the top.

Chip Ingram (01:53):
And then he turned around. You got it. He comes down as fast and he starts tripping. And I'm thinking, I see the fence. I'm about halfway down. If I jump off, I'm going to get hurt. If we hit that fence, I'm going to die. So ah! So I jump off, you know, and roll a few times and it kind of hurts. And then that horse turns around and starts chasing me. And so I run and I dive under the fence. My sister tries to help me and she gets a little nip in the rear end. That horse was dangerous.

Chip Ingram (02:29):
Looking back, it sure was fun and pretty stupid. Fast forward many years, it was when I lived in Texas, pastored a church there. And a friend named Alan. And Alan said do you like horses? Well, yeah, I think. I don't know much about them. He goes well, you know, these are these quarter horses. They're super well-trained. I think you'd really enjoy it. So I go out to this ranch and you know, it's Texas. And these are these huge horses that, you know, kind of on their own can tell little calves where to go. And so I get on the horse and he goes now, let me give you some instructions. If you make this sound, the horse will back up. I said get out. No, he said try it. So I make the sound. He backs up. If you make this sound, he'll do that. If you just lean in with this knee, he'll do this.

Chip Ingram (03:19):
If you lean in with this knee. If you put the rein on his neck, he does this. If you just barely do this. It was like driving a car. I looked like a genius. It was like whoa, whoa, whoa. You know, right? Now here's the point. Two huge, powerful wild stallions. One out of control, deadly. The other after time, a bit in its mouth, under control and training was unbelievable. Here's what you need to get. That's the word picture. That's your anger. That's my anger. It is a wild stallion. It's an emotion that has huge potential for negative and huge potential for positive. But you got to get a bridle in it and you got to control it. And if you don't, it can ruin relationships. It can ruin your soul. Terrible things happen when emotions are out of control. So what I want to do now, we've been talking about this.

Chip Ingram (04:20):
We know that it's a secondary emotion, right? We know it's just the red light on the dashboard of your soul. Anger is never the problem. Anger says there's something wrong under the hood. We know that some of us spew, some of us leak, some of us stuff it. And in our last times together, I said I'm going to give you a journey and a process and a way to turn anger from a foe into a friend, that horse instead of this one. So with that, you'll notice in your notes, I think we're in session number five. There's the ABCs of anger. This is a process about how do you actually go about taming the wild stallion of anger? A is for acknowledge, admit and accept the anger. You know, it's amazing. Some of us believe anger is wrong especially if you're a stuffer. But it can't be like well, I'm a little upset or I'm a little frustrated.

Chip Ingram (05:15):
How's this? I'm mad. I'm really ticked off. That was totally inexcusable. I should have been promoted. That other person was promoted. I can't believe it. He dumped me with a text. Are you kidding me? That person who cut in front of this, this is ridiculous. They owed us this money and they didn't say anything. And they moved out of town, right? Those kids are being trafficked in the Philippines. That's wrong. You just got to admit first that you're angry. That's A. B, backtrack. Backtrack to the first emotion. What really is behind it? Is it I felt betrayed, I'm disappointed, I'm lonely, it was unfair, I was let down, I was forgotten, I was attacked, I was persecuted, I was humiliated in front of everyone? And so what do you want to do is you got to backtrack to what's really going on. And that's a journey and a process and you learn it. And then C, you consider the cause.

Chip Ingram (06:18):
And we learned that it could be your hurt. There's unmet needs. You have a rightful need to be respected, to be loved, to be cared about. And when you're not, an unmet need, you get angry. Sometimes it's an unmet expectation. Plans changed. You've worked all this time. The wedding was supposed to be here. It's pouring down rain. You're mad. It's an outdoor wedding. Someone was supposed to meet you. They said they'd show up. They didn't show up. Or maybe it's just personal attack. Just our insecurities when sometimes it's a word or sometimes it's physical and we feel threatened. So you go back and say okay, I'm angry. I think this is the real emotion. I think this is the cause. And then the D is determine how to best deal with it. So before I go on, let's not, this isn't hypothetical. I want you to lean back, shut your eyes.

Chip Ingram (07:10):
Nothing weird is going to happen. And I want you to actually just in your mind, so I think when this week was I angry? And if you're thinking I wasn't angry all week, then you know, you need to go listen to the other two services. When this week did I get angry even a little bit? Okay? Then what was behind it? Just try and think. What was behind it? What did I really feel? And then maybe what was the cause? Was I hurt? Was I threatened? Was it just my expectations and their expectations? And then what did you do? Just want you to process. Are you ready? It's really interesting. After the services, I get to talk with people and it's just like oh, my. One guy said, you know, I'm sort of in charge and a bunch of us are moving from out-of-state and they're my roommates.

Chip Ingram (08:02):
And I said there's a lot of opportunities for anger, isn't there? Everything from hey, you ate my food in the refrigerator to. I said wait till you get married. Lot more possibilities. Anyone that goes to work, anyone that drives in this traffic, there's chances to get angry all the time. The question is are you going to use it and manage it for good? Or is it going to do negative things to you? I have learned whatever I'm teaching on, God has this, I think it's part sense of humor and part just reality, is I get tested or I get to keep learning. So last Sunday, you know, did the three services. I was a little bit tired. I get a call from my oldest son. He's very kind. He calls almost every Sunday. We connect every week. And we're talking a little bit, we're having this great conversation. He goes hey dad, you know, we're going out of town, the whole family next Thursday. And it's Mom's birthday on Wednesday. And you know my day, I start early and go till late on Monday. So the only night is Tuesday. We would like to drive over and take you and Mom out to eat for her birthday. My immediate response is anger.

Chip Ingram (09:11):
You're looking at me like why? Because for months, we have planned we're going to Carmel for her birthday, just her and me, romantic weekend. Okay? We're leaving Tuesday about noon. And my reaction is okay, wait a second, he's trying to express his love for his mom and I didn't even know. I don't feel good about this. But I feel between the rock and hard place. And so I said oh, well, son, you know what? Thanks so much. That's so thoughtful. But I'm taking your mom to Carmel. Oh, that's okay, Dad. You know, instead of driving to over here, we'll just drive to Carmel and we'll have dinner with you that night.

Chip Ingram (09:57):
I'm thinking what part of this are you not getting, son? You know? And so I said well, okay, you ready? I'm aware. There's emotions. I'm backtracking and feeling like you know, gosh, there's some grief and some loss and some doesn't make sense. How do you get mad at your son? This is the hardest part of anger. When you're angry with someone and you realize it, it doesn't make sense. And so wisely after years of practice, hey, let me get back with you tomorrow. Get 24 hours, thought about it, prayed about it, thought okay, what's the goal here? I want to express my love to my wife. We want to have a really special time. And I kind of thought about just our whole family life the last two or three months. And I thought my son is being extraordinarily sensitive to really affirm his mom. And as I prayed about it, I thought you know what? Okay, odd thought, I wonder what would be most meaningful to Theresa? Just a thought.

Chip Ingram (10:59):
And as I prayed about it, I said hey, honey Eric, you know, said this and said that and I know the time was for us but I think it would mean a lot to you. And she just kind of smiled and they drove down. We had dinner, we had a great time and the rest of was great. I'm telling you, 10 years ago, I probably would've not known that I'm angry. I probably would have had a tone of voice and said oh, Eric, sorry, man, you know. And he would've felt, even though I don't think I'm intense, people tell me when I'm intense, I don't even know it. And things would have not gone well. A, acknowledge; B, backtrack; C, consider the cause; D, determine.

Chip Ingram (11:40):
Now let me ask you, how did you handle your anger this last week? What do you do when you get ticked off? Let's walk through then the who, The that, he, how and the when. I'm going to literally walk you through not just some things in general. You say how do you do that? Are you ready? You acknowledge your anger. Here's step number one. It's in your notes. You need to ask yourself who am I angry at? Myself? Another person? God? Or the situation? In my case, I was mad at the situation. I mean you can't be mad at your son for loving their mom, my wife. But the situation, it was unmet expectation. I have this expectation and they're getting shifted. I did not want to give up that time. Okay? Dr. Becca Johnson and I had a chance to write this book together and she shares an illustration.

Chip Ingram (12:44):
I thought it was so powerful. She said I was doing counseling with a young woman who had been date raped. And we were not making any progress. I mean we were going on for weeks and no progress. I mean still problems and nightmares and depression. And we had a breakthrough. And the breakthrough was when this girl recognized she wasn't mad at the perpetrator. She was mad at herself. She had reconstituted everything to say well, you know, maybe I should have seen this or there was a little red flag here or why did I ever let him into my apartment, whatever it was. And the breakthrough came when she could actually own I'm angry but I'm angry at me. You can't resolve what happened to you unless you see what's really going on. And that was the breakthrough.

Chip Ingram (13:34):
And then she could get the kind of help to say wait a second, that's totally illogical. You're not the one at fault. And then she processed that. I had a friend a number of years ago who was in mid-40s at the time. Attractive, great job, great personality and single and mid-40s and a woman. And I watched, you know, that about every 9 to 12 months, she would have like a complete major meltdown. First, I would notice impatience and then anger under the surface and then she'd get depressed. And so I said hey, honey, do you think you could, you know, meet with this person? I think they're really struggling. And breakthrough came when she realized she wasn't mad at all these Christian guys that won't make a commitment. She wasn't mad that, you know, circumstances and dates weren't going maybe the way she wanted. What she realized is she was mad at God. She was livid at God.

Chip Ingram (14:28):
I've followed you. I've walked with you. I've best I know done what. And you haven't brought the right person. And when I am obedient to you, I demand that you come through the way I think is best. Well, you know what? No one gets to do that with God. But are you ready? Ask yourself who are you really mad at? Second then is the what. What should you do? Should you express it directly? Like confront someone? Use an I feel message? Should you release it indirectly? In other words, boy, this isn't the time or the place and this could go really negative. So, you know, I need to own it and express it but indirectly. And then here's a question. Right after the last service, there was a family situation and the person that was talking to me, he said I mean wow, when I do this, they explode and they do this and they do that and we're a family and we're related.

Chip Ingram (15:24):
And what do you do? And I mean I can't even talk. They reject them. And so she said you know, maybe I'll write a letter and send it to them. I said well, how do you think that will go? Oh, he'll explode. Here's a question to ask. Will your response make things better or worse? Dr. Johnson, sometimes, you know, I'm a man of many words but often not have clarity. In two or three paragraphs, she writes I think the best counsel on what to do. Should you address it directly or indirectly? When we find ourselves in unwanted situations with angry feelings, we basically have two choices. Do I express my feelings directly to the person? Or do I release them indirectly through various activities? Does a situation require concerns to be communicated directly to the person involved? Or is it better to redirect anger elsewhere, finding an alternative that's healthy, non-destructive, non-confrontational way to express it?

Chip Ingram (16:22):
Dealing with it directly means you choose to confront the situation. You're committed to bring about change. We act rather than acquiesce. We take action appropriately to the person involved. We let them know why we're angry, our root emotion and what contributed to that situation. It's best to express ourselves clearly, listen carefully, without blaming or attacking in a I feel angry when you, I wish in the future we could. She goes on to say dealing with our anger indirectly gives us a few more options. Sometimes it's best to accept things the way they are, to literally conform and not share with the person who made you angry that you're angry. Now get this. Listen very, very carefully. But it's important to make sure our motivation isn't from an uncomfortable situation. We choose this option not by default or by hopelessness but out of a calculated conclusion that it would not be best to stir the waters or rock the boat at this particular time in this particular situation.

Chip Ingram (17:25):
Wisdom, I believe given by the Holy Spirit, sometimes demands that we choose not to reprove someone when history, how they've always responded, or circumstances, might lose your job, dictate it's an exercise in futility. Sometimes it's best to walk away. Then notice this. We may have to find a new job, do business was a different company or discontinue in a healthy relationship. We choose not to confront but to quit. We should consider this only after we have weighed all other options carefully and determine letting go is the best course of action. And I would say, you know, there's certain things where you've been down this road, you share something with this person, it's a family member, maybe a supervisor, maybe it's a harassment that is emotional or sexual at work, you've gone through all the things and nothing's going to change. You're going to throw gasoline on the fire and you say you know what? I'm willing to confront this. And I just talked to someone who this week will be confronting something at their work. And that's one option.

Chip Ingram (18:31):
Or you know what? Right now in this situation, wisdom says step away. I'm going to deal with my anger. I'm going to recognize I have it. But I'm not going to confront this person. It's not always right to confront someone. Proverbs 9, Solomon says do not reprove a mocker lest he hate you. Reprove a wise man and he'll love you. Give instruction to a wise man or woman and they'll increase their learning. There's some people, as Jesus would say, don't throw your pearls before swine. So it requires discernment. Question. Who are you angry at that you need to ask and answer the question is this a person that I need to confront? Or is this a person that I need to get my anger out and deal with it in a healthy way? But confronting them will do nothing but make it worse.

Chip Ingram (19:25):
The next one then is how? So who am I angry at? What should I do? How do I deal with the situation? Should I do it in person? Do it by the phone, through a letter, or, I love these, Rebecca's words, or engage in a discharge activity? You know, sometimes you're really hacked off and you know what? If we wanted to quote confront people every time, a little conversation here, I got an email here and something happened here, someone in the hallway said this and you have like one, two, three, four, or five of these. Well, you're not going to sit down every time someone quote offends you a bit. But you realize the combination of them, you're just mad inside. For me, that means the elliptical. There's other times where you know what? You can't confront the person because of maybe some situations that might be dangerous or abusive or seeing them. And there's times where I literally have God, this is Chip! I am so ticked off! I can't believe! And you know what? I just, there's a lot of psalms like that.

Chip Ingram (20:28):
God can handle our anger. But you need to express it other times, you need to write it down. A number of years ago, it was our very first church and I had left and they were in some sort of a process of searching this and that. And someone that I assumed was my friend gave me a call. And I learned later that he secretly recorded our conversation and he wanted to record this conversation and say I said certain things. And it got back around to me. Livid would be too mild for how I responded. It was just like are you kidding me? Right? Betrayal. I mean I was so mad and then he didn't share it with anyone. He just said I've said all these things. And if you want to hear it, listen to this message and all this. And I told people, listen to the message. Anything I said. I was so mad.

Chip Ingram (21:22):
Some of you know what this is like, right? You've been so hurt, so betrayed, something was so unfair and you got mad. Literally, you can't sleep at night, right? It's 1:12. You wake up. You're at a stoplight and you're just gazing at a red light and you have anger fantasies of bad things happening to them and you smiling. Or you have these fantasies where you two are talking and everyone finds out what's going on. You go hahaha, here's the tape. See what happened? It's the truth. Right, right? Don't you look at me like I'm the only one that's this dysfunctional. We've all done this. But I couldn't get rid of it. This is the, I couldn't get rid of it. And then I was getting knots in my stomach and indigestion and I'm like man, I've got to go to the doctor.

Chip Ingram (22:01):
And I realized my anger was not hurting this person. It was killing me. And I sat down. I was living in Santa Cruz at the time. And there was a fellow pastor that was really wise. And you know, one of the things you got to do is you got to get this out and vet it with someone safe. And I laid it out and the person said you know what? Why don't you write a letter to this person? Because it keeps going over and over and over. So write a letter. This is why I'm really angry. This is exactly what you did. This is how it made me feel. And then ask God for the grace to get to the end and say I want you to know before God, I've forgiven you. Said we'll meet for lunch in two or three days. So we did and I gave him the letter. And like I did. I got it out. I was sleeping again. And he reads these two or three pages of handwritten letter. And he said so the goal of this letter is like reconciliation and speaking the truth in love, right?

Chip Ingram (22:53):
Well, yeah. He goes there's a lot of inflammatory words and blaming and attacking. I mean you've done it sort of left-handed. And he says why don't you try, you know, writing this letter again with no insinuations or blaming and why don't you just own this is how you felt and why you were angry? And then don't write anything until you feel like the goal is honestly, he's a brother in Christ, right? Yeah. It would really be that you would love him and that you would want to see reconciliation happen. I was like man, I'm not having lunch with this guy anymore. He's no help at all. And so I wouldn't do it. Took me three or four days. And then finally, okay. So I write another letter. I give it back to him and I'm thinking. And you know what? What's happening? God's changing me. But it's out there.

Chip Ingram (23:46):
You realize there's people in this room or people watching that you have unresolved anger that you've buried for 5 or 10 or 15 or 20 or 30 years and it's poisoned your soul? And some physical issues you have and some depression issues you have and relationship issues you have that remind you of that unconsciously, you're still a prisoner of it. And it will be God's will for some of you to write a letter like this. So he read the letter, looked at me and said you know what? I got an idea. I'm thinking I can't take any more of his ideas. Why don't you put this in an envelope and put it in your briefcase for 30 days before you send it.

Chip Ingram (24:25):
Said you know, just give God time to work. So I did. And over 30 days, God began to do a number of things. I realized I was really mad and what he did was wrong and I chose to forgive him. And then I went through that process we'll talk about in our next sessions about how to forgive. But what I realized was what made me angry was my reputation. It wasn't I was just so mad at him. It's that he is projecting that I'm like this and I've got to protect my record. I don't want anyone to think that about me. And the Holy Spirit whispered, he goes don't you think I could protect your reputation? Would you be willing to entrust that to me? Hey, Ingram, you're a pastor. This is not going to be the first time that people say things, some of course which will be true, but things that aren't.

Chip Ingram (25:17):
And you know something? After 30 days, I didn't need to send it. I kept it in my brief case for two or three years just as a reminder. Lord, I don't have to explain myself and make sure everyone knows quote the real story. And it released me. How about you? Who are you mad at? What are you going to do? Is it direct or indirect? And then how? Do you need to write a letter? Is it a phone call this week? You know, maybe the best way especially is face to face if it's not a, you know, a threatening situation where you look in someone's eyes and you say, you know, this may sound kind of petty but it's bothered me for two or three weeks. But I feel hurt. I feel disappointed. I feel angry when you publish something to the whole company that really involves me and you just didn't ask me to come into the office and you tell me first. I wish you would have done that. And I just want us to have a good relationship. I feel hurt when you make a decision and talk with our children and come up with what we're going to do. And I find out about it through one of our kids that this is what we're going to do. I feel angry. I wish we could talk about. You getting it? Have I hit on enough? Are we there?

Chip Ingram (26:39):
So, here's the deal. This isn't like an exercise of oh, this is very interesting. This is like what are you going to do with your anger? Who you mad at? What's the best way to do it? How will you do it? And then find when should you deal with it. Should you deal with it now, later, or in my case, one situation, never? Now there's two dangers here. You ready? Danger number one is those of us that are justice champions and spewers, let's deal with this right now. And you may say things and do things that you wish you would have never said. The other extreme is procrastinators, you stuffers. I think I need a few more years to pray about this. You ready? This will be the last time I do this. Lean back. If you're comfortable, close your eyes. And I want you to ask God, the Holy Spirit at this moment right now, Lord, is there any anger issue with any person right now that I need to deal with?

Chip Ingram (27:51):
Maybe a family member, maybe at work, neighbor, roommate. It's still nagging me. And then I want you in your mind to backtrack to so what's the raw emotion? What is the cause? Are you just hurt or frustrated or feel attacked? And then is there someone that maybe you need to apologize to because of what you've done or how you've expressed your anger? That this week is over, you would say in your private sanctuary of your heart right now, Lord just reveal that to me. And even though I'm a little fearful, I will do whatever you say. Let me give you just a moment to ponder that. Father, I ask that you would be very specific. I ask there would be a decision of the will that says I will do that by your grace. And Lord, I pray you bring healing to people's hearts and reconciliation in relationships. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Chip Ingram (29:17):
Now anger is an issue we all struggle with and I'm glad these are very great principles. They're rooted in Scripture. But before we walk out of this process, I want to show you exactly what God's Word says about how to tame the wild stallion. And we actually have from Scripture, a very specific passage that we'll walk through together that will help you in a practical everyday way take those principles and get them in a package because that's how they're given to us in Scripture where you can start the journey of managing your anger. As we do that, let me give you some overview facts. We're in the next session. And the fact is is that the average man gets mad six times a week. The average woman gets mad three times a week. Men tend to get angry about things, circumstances, situations. They want to fix it. It's wrong.

Chip Ingram (30:18):
Women tend to get angry more about relationships. Single people tend to get angry about twice as often as married people. I'm not sure the reason other than I think if you're married, you're kind of processing it more so it doesn't stay inside quite as long. Men are more likely to be physical with their anger. And all of us, are you ready for this? Every single one of us will express our anger twice as often at home than we will either at work or at school. You all do understand that the people who are the safest that love us the most, we treat the worst?

Chip Ingram (30:58):
Because we somehow think well, you know, either they're stuck with us or we feel the freedom. So here's what God said to the very first group of Christians. Imagine this. You've just come to know Christ. The very first book written in the New Testament is the book of James. He's the half-brother of Jesus. Persecution is happening. If you believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the rest of the Jewish community may exit you. That means the way it worked back then, you're out of the family business. So now it says they're dispersed abroad. They're persecuted. They're running for their lives. There's broken relationships, broken finances. And God says consider it all joy. God's in control. If you need wisdom, He's going to give it to you. But then He's so astute and the Holy Spirit says to James, help them deal with their anger because anger is a powerful, powerful emotion.

Chip Ingram (31:48):
And we pick it up at verse 19 of James 1. My dear brothers take note of this. Everyone should one, be quick to listen; two, be slow to speak; and three, be slow to become angry. Then why? This huge. Purpose clause. For man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. I mean we've got a lot of testimonies on that one, right? Anger has incredible potential positively and negatively. But that wild horse that I could have really been hurt by was far different than the one that did exactly what you said. Both are very powerful but the bit has to go in the mouth. There has to be harness. There's got to be practice. That's what God wants to teach us from this one passage. So are you ready? God's three-step training method to bridle the wild stallion of anger. Number one, be quick to hear.

Chip Ingram (32:43):
Be quick to hear. The word quick to hear means an eagerness to listen, to be open, to be ready, to be available, to desire to know what God wants. In fact, it's more than just being a good listener but it's listening with a view that whatever God would show me, I would put it into practice. That's what he's saying. Notice, our immediate response to God, others, circumstances and our anger is to be receptive listeners, not reactionary responders. We've got to develop this attitude that I'm going to hear and reflect before I respond. The moment my son said Tuesday night, we want to do this, I can just tell you this happened. I got Tuesday night planned, dude. Right? Probably 10 years ago or more, I would have reacted. Now I would have done it in a very Christian way but with probably a tone of voice that would have made him feel like he's rejected and boy, dad is over the top.

Chip Ingram (33:50):
So you have to start by listening. The question is what is this anger telling me? If you're a spewer, this is really hard for you. You want to fix it. You want to blow up. You want to take it right now. But it's the light on the dashboard. What you want to ask is okay, be slow to speak but be quick to hear. And so you say all right, Lord, why am I angry? In fact, the question I ask myself often, just I mean every day because I get angry every day about something. Because I live in a fallen world. I often will be walking, asking myself what's going on here? God just help me. What's going on? Why am I responding this way?

Chip Ingram (34:42):
The second step is to be slow to speak. The word literally is slow to begin speaking. It doesn't mean that that you speak very slowly. No, this is a warning against rash, hasty, unrestrained words that inflict wounds into the lives of others. Our interim response, first response is listen. Our interim response to God, others and circumstances and our anger is to think before you speak. Notice what the writer of Proverbs says, the wisest man in the world. When words are many sin is not absent. One translation says when words are many, sin is unavoidable. But he who holds his tongue is wise.

Chip Ingram (35:40):
When you just begin to start talking when you're angry, I can almost guarantee stuff will come out of your mouth that you so wish you could take back. Some of us have been on the end of you're lazy, you're a bum, you'll never make it, you'll never amount to anything, you're ugly, you're overweight, you're too short, you're too tall, why can't you be like your sister, why can't you be like your brother? And even as I say those things, I mean I still remember what a second grade teacher told me. Words, there's life and death in the power of words that can either give life or they give death. And when you're angry.

Chip Ingram (36:21):
Just because it's in your head doesn't mean it should come out your mouth. Notice what he says in Proverbs 13:3. He who guards his lips guards his life. Don't you want to guard your life? But he who speaks rashly will come to ruin. If we can be super vulnerable, we could tell stories probably from now till midnight of things that we've said or other said that have ruined relationships, ruined marriages, ruined small groups, ruined a workplace Proverbs 29:20 says do you see a man who speaks in haste? There's more hope for a fool than for him. So the key question is what must I do to prevent a verbal reflex response? In other words, you're feeling angry and especially for us spewers. You stuffers, you have a little advantage here. You don't want to say anything. We do.

Chip Ingram (37:16):
What I need to do, in other words, how do you buy some time so that you just don't react? Thomas Jefferson was well aware of this and his plan was when he felt this way, he said I count to 10 inside my mind slowly before I say anything. I'm a verbal processor. You know, some people, information, some people process internally, others externally. So when I have a thought, I say it out loud. Oh, now I know what I think. Well, the first, probably eight or 10 years of our marriage, I would have a thought and I would say it out loud. About killed our marriage. Just because I thought it, it didn't have to come out of my mouth. And Theresa made that very clear. And she really helped me.

Chip Ingram (38:03):
But I had to go into training, like almost bite my tongue. And especially if you're sure you're right. For some of you, by the way, you have to be careful you have given yourself permission to be angry and to let it out. Why? Because you're bigger and better and stronger and no one's ever taken you down. Or I'm a CEO. This isn't right. Change it now. Or I'm the older brother. Hey, this is the way it's got to be. Or in my culture, that's just the way we are. We express it this way. I mean there's certain cultures, I've gotten out of an elevator in certain countries and man alive. What's wrong? Guy turned, oh, nothing. He just was asking you to get out of the way. I've been to other countries and some of you in our multicultural church will get this, that boy, you don't show your anger. If you're from an Asian culture, you stuff it. And so things don't get out on the table.

Chip Ingram (39:04):
Slow to speak. Third step is be slow to anger. Notice Ecclesiastics 7:9 says do not quickly provoked in your spirit for anger resides in the lap of fools. Circle if you will the word anger. There's a couple of different words for anger in the New Testament. And of course, this is an Old Testament passage. So it's in Hebrew. But when they translated the Old Testament, it's called the LXX. The whole, it's in Greek. And so by the time of the New Testament, this was available. And so when they translate this, obviously this Hebrew word means this. We want the Greek word to really match up with it. And there's a couple of different words for anger. One in Greek is called thymos. You can kind of, it means explosive, spewing anger. Like thermal heat. You get it? The other word is a word for gradual, nagging, bitter resentment that grows.

Chip Ingram (40:05):
Notice it says it's in the lap of fools. It's something that you mull over and you come back to and you nurse. I didn't really like them. And not only bad and they've done that and this, that. And when you have that kind of anger, you actually have a new lens so that whatever that person does, you read it through this lens and you come up with negative, very negative conclusions to sometimes very innocent behavior. And this is that word. And he says our life-changing response to anger begins when we replace reaction with reflection. And so here, okay, you ready? Let's go back. You're feeling angry this week or possibly later today.

Chip Ingram (40:51):
Okay, I'm going to acknowledge them angry. Yes, I'm going to backtrack. I'm going to consider the root cause. And I'm going to determine what to do. In this process, I'm angry. This person has done something or said something that I want to respond. I'm going to be what? Quick to hear. God, what's going on here? I'm going to not react. I'm going to reflect. And then I'm going to be slow to speak. Until I've got a clear word that I can share when I'm under control and not emotional, I'm not going to say anything. And by the way, this works out in different ways at different times. I've, you know, my wife, you know, the marriage series, I talk about having a conference and we've had conferences. And so we're sitting down and we're talking about something. I can feel the anger coming on. And I'm feeling as the anger coming on whether it was with her or, you know, in a relationship with someone else.

Chip Ingram (41:50):
And as I feel the anger coming on, I realize I'm not going to respond very well. And this whole conversation and this whole meeting is going in a direction that I'm thinking the bad person in this room very shortly is going to be me. Have you ever just, I literally, hey, can we take a quick break here? You know, you've said some things that really have caused me to think. So let's take about 15 minutes or, you know, you're bringing up some things that I haven't had enough time to think about. Could we continue this meeting tomorrow? And I walk out very calm. Man, you got to be kidding me. You know? Right? Because I'm ticked off in this. But at work, in relationships, anger is a choice. You don't have to be angry. But you can be under control and you can begin to deal with it and bridle it in ways that it brings about good.

Chip Ingram (42:47):
Asking them the key question, is it injustice, is it hurt, is it frustration? When I literally, you know, maybe these notes will be very helpful. One of the most powerful ways for me to not let stuff come out of my mouth and to go into training because, you know, I appreciate all the principals and I'm glad for all the truth God gives us through psychology and everywhere else. But what I've learned that's the most powerful, the Scripture says do not be conformed to this world. In this world, people get angry, they spew, they leak, they stuff. I want to do it righteously. Be transformed not just by trying hard. Be transformed how? By the renewing of your mind.

Chip Ingram (43:31):
That's Romans 12:2. That you could actually experience what God's will is. The good, acceptable, perfect will of God. So in these early years and continued to today, but I went into training. And so I wrote on a card, a little three by five card. I'd probably do it on a computer or phone or however you want to do it. And I wrote Chip, when you begin to feel angry feelings or have thoughts, stop, reflect, do not react. Then I turned over the card and I wrote in longhand James 1:19. But my dear brothers, let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger for the anger of man doesn't achieve the righteous life God desires.

Chip Ingram (44:18):
And I would read it in the morning, put it in my pocket, red light, read it over, read it my lunch hour, read it before I go to bed, over and over and over and over and over. And I would be in a situation and I could feel the anger. And I'd start the Holy Spirit, James 1:19. Wow. See, what really needs to change is how you think about things. And you know what anger has helped me probably the most in? It's helped me realize how arrogant I am, how entitled I often am, how the grandiosity in my life, how I think my perspective is the perspective, how my expectations for other people and even myself, this is the way it ought to be or it should be or people should never do that. And what I've learned is I'm angry about things. And when I really get under the hood, I realize wow-wee, I thought there was only one God. Who do you think you are, Chip? I can't think of anything that has helped the journey of becoming more like Jesus from the heart more than going through the process of identifying my anger and saying hey, it's just a red light on the dashboard.

Chip Ingram (45:30):
And by the way, you don't have to feel bad about your anger. Everyone has it. And, you know, some of you, it's this I'm a spewer. I feel so bad about it. I'm a stuffer. I shouldn't be stuffing. I'm a leaker. I'm a leaker. That's like saying oh, I got blue eyes instead of brown eyes. You got eyes. Everybody has eyes. You've just learned different ways to respond, part personality, part family of origin, part all kind of stuff. God's not down on you because you're a spewer, a stuffer or a leaker. He brought us together to say you know what? I want to help you do the ABCD. I want you to go into training. And here's what we're going to do. You're going to put the bit of the Holy Spirit's restraining and you're going to learn over time to be quick to hear, be slow to speak and slow to anger.

Chip Ingram (46:20):
The only other thing that has helped me drastically, because a lot of stuff came out of my mouth, is I made a covenant with God, a very powerful covenant. And the covenant was this. Whenever I talk to a person in a way that the Spirit later or in the moment shows me that I'm wrong or I talk about someone else and they're not in my presence and I say something that is derogatory or slanderous in any way that's negative, I made a covenant with God that I would go apologize to that person. Oh man, that'll cure you. You do that five or six times, you know, it's in the afternoon, there was a heated meeting at work where you had something that, you know, before you left the house, got into an argument with one of your kids or one of said something. And here's the deal. Maybe what they did was really wrong and that's not the issue. You know, when we talked early this morning and I slammed the door and left, I want to ask you to forgive me for the way I responded. That anger was inappropriate. Will you forgive me? And then you look in the eye and you don't let them go oh. No, No. Will you forgive me? Yes.

Chip Ingram (47:36):
I've done that at work. I'm telling you, you do that five or six times, you'll learn to keep your mouth shut. Would you stand with me? Let's pray and ask God for His direction. Oh God, you are such a good and kind and loving God. Over and over this week for reasons I'm not sure why you've brought this one passage in Psalm 86:5. Oh Lord, you are so good. So ready to forgive. So abounding and unfailing love to everyone who calls upon you. Lord, you have spoken very directly to people. Will you give them the courage to not be a hearer of your Word but to be a doer? To muster up by your grace the courage to write the letter, to go apologize, to share an I feel message, to say I need to go into training? God, we thank you that the moment we step, you will give us the grace to do what your will says. In Jesus' name. Amen.


Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032
408.997.4600