Why We All Struggle With Anger

How Can You Find Perspective When Struggling With Anger?

Chip Ingram
Jul 15, 2019    50m
We all struggle to find perspective when struggling with anger. Today we will learn the key to transforming your relationships with others and with Christ. That key is that anger is a secondary emotion. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

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):
Guys, we're going to jump right into session number three. You can go ahead and open your study guides. And I have to tell you, I'm probably as excited or more excited about this particular session than any of them because I think why we all struggle with anger is very, very simple but I didn't know. It's because anger is a secondary emotion. What I want you to know is that when you're angry, it may be the outward thing that you feel or for some of you, you're angry and you don't know it which we learned last time. But there's a first emotion. And what I'm going to tell you is that if you can begin to grasp oh, I'm angry and backtrack to what's really going on inside, I will tell you that anger instead of being like this thing that you're a prisoner of, that you explode or you stuff it or you leak it, it can actually become something that'll help you grow in relationships and in Christ like never before. And by the way, this isn't something you learn once. This last Monday, you know, I jumped back into this material and was excited to teach it. I taught it three times last weekend.

Chip Ingram (01:16):
Monday, I was as angry as I've been in 10 years. No joke. And are you ready for this? I didn't realize it was anger until about two in the afternoon. This and there's that and there's that. And, you know, there was a few little things that could sort of why it may be happened. And then I realized I think all in one day, I stuffed it, leaked it and was ready to explode it. You know, when you're just trying to be nice to people but inside it's like oh, would you, you know? Right? And it was like oh, wow. It was like God was whispering, Chip, you never outgrow this.

Chip Ingram (02:01):
The first aha for me, the number of number of years ago when I studied this for the first time. So I was pastoring. It was one of those really, really long days. We had a habit when my children were growing up, we ate dinner together around 5:30 and rarely made an exception unless there's some really important meetings. And this was one of those days and it started really early and it went real long. And just imagine one of those days where you get beat up, you get beat up. It's a conversation here, an email here, a disappointment there. And I mean it was just one of those days, it was like I just could not wait to get home. And you know, it felt like, you know, it started like super, super early. So I put in 14 or 15 hours and it was a little after nine. And I just had one of those days where I can't wait to talk to Theresa. I just wanted to walk in and say hey honey, honestly down deep, I want to hear oh, Chip, how are you doing? Is everything okay? You know? And I just was looking for some lift.

Chip Ingram (03:01):
And many, many years ago, my youngest son was a senior in high school and on the volleyball team. And I'd come home, we do all kinds of fun stuff together. I was missing everyone. So I walk in and it's like dark. It's like five after nine or 9:30. I mean it's dark. And so I thought wow, I guess everybody had a really rough day. And I mean, Annie was a little girl. She's asleep. But Ryan? I mean he's 17, 18 years old. How in the world can you be asleep a little after nine? He must had a really hard practice. And then I'm thinking, but when I go in the bedroom, I'm sure Theresa's waiting up for me, probably sitting up in bed after hours of prayer. Oh, Chip, how are you doing? Is everything okay? This is going on in my mind. So I open the door and it's dark. And then I'm thinking well, she's laying in the dark. And then I hear what we all, right? And this is illogical but you need to understand your anger isn't always logical. So I don't even know I'm angry but just something inside emotionally is kind of like wow.

Chip Ingram (04:13):
Down deep, I felt lonely, disappointed and let down. And so I do what I think a lot of good pastors do when you feel like that way. You get some orange juice out and you make one of those bags of popcorn and you watch 45 minutes of ESPN and you stew. And I didn't know it but I was bummed out. And if you're angry, when you go to bed, the Bible talks about this, you don't usually wake up in a great mood. So I woke up in a terrible mood. And so I got up and I didn't make the connection that I was really angry. It was just a weird feeling. And I just walked down the hall and Ryan was walking out of his door and I said Ryan, did you make your bed yet? He said Dad, I haven't even brushed my teeth. I hear Theresa going honey, he just got up. Hey, I'm the father around here. I can take care of this. So I walk by and then, you know, Annie's walking out and she's just getting up. Annie, have you and I, Dad, I'm sorry. And then, so I walked in and Theresa looks at me. She goes wow, did you have a really rough night? I mean what's with you? I said what do you mean, what's with me? If I'm going to get this kind of criticism, you know what? I'm just going to work. I go out and you know, I'm a Christian so I didn't slam the door. We weren't yellers and screamers but I made sure she knew. You know?

Chip Ingram (05:32):
So then I go out and I get my car and I get in my car and I turn it on. You know what? I'm just go get some coffee and get out of here. And you know, they weren't around last night. They're not around here. And I'm teaching this for the very first time. I'm studying anger and I'm sitting in my car, get ready to. And then literally the Spirit of God said Chip, what are you going to do with this? What do you mean? You're mad. Yeah, I am. You're going to teach people later this week that anger is a secondary emotion. Is this, how do you want them to respond? Like you are? No. So what's really going on? I literally sat in my car for 10 minutes, of course, with it running. And I processed and I got to where honestly, Lord, I'm disappointed and I'm sad and it was a rough day. And I just wanted some strokes and understanding from my wife and some conversation with my son.

Chip Ingram (06:37):
But as a man, and maybe this is for women as well and I won't say every man, but to say when I got up hey, honey, I really felt sad and disappointed and I felt like I needed some emotional support and you weren't there for me. And I'm a little out of sorts. Well, that sounds like a weenie. So and it's vulnerable. I mean like what guy's going to say that to their wife? And so I bolt to anger. And then by the way, you can be angry over here on this field. Poor Ryan, you know what his problem was? He got out of bed and he just happened to be in the hall. Now your laughter tells me that I'm not the only one that has experiences like this. After 10 minutes, it was like, okay, moment of truth. Either I'm personally going to learn that anger's a secondary emotion and I'm going to deal with this or man, I can't teach next week.

Chip Ingram (07:38):
And so I remember I went back inside and I manned up and I said honey, first of all, I'm sorry. I discovered out in the car that I was angry. She looked at me like oh, really? He's a rocket scientist now. And then I told her, I said I felt hurt and disappointed and I missed you . And she looked at me like so that's how you express it? And I said oh, it's hard for me to say those things. And of course, when I was honest, she puts her arms out. Oh, honey, we can talk. I thought boy, it would have been better to start like this. And then hey, Ryan. Yeah, Dad. I said it's me. You didn't do anything wrong. I just, I was mad inside and I leaked it out on you and your dad just messed up. Will you forgive me? Yeah, Dad. Annie. Yeah, Dad, I'm good. Okay. See you later. Here's what I want you to know. Look in your notes. Anger is a secondary emotion. It is easier to be angry than face the deeper issues.

Chip Ingram (08:43):
It's easier to be angry than to face the deeper issues. In the book, Becca Johnson writes anger isn't the first feeling coming through. Generally, it's just the first one to show outwardly. Whenever it surfaces, there's always something going on underneath. And then she writes when I was late one day to pick up my son for school, I got mad at the clock, the school, the traffic lights, my watch, the school schedule before I finally admitted the real issue. I was embarrassed that the school secretary had to call me to come get my son. When a client of mine got mad at his boss, he realized that the strong underlying emotions were insecurity and fear, not anger. When I got mad at the driver who made a gesture at me, I later realized that I was angry because I felt guilty for pulling out in front of him and put us both in danger.

Chip Ingram (09:41):
He said I got angry at a colleague for not including me on a decision. And then I discovered it really wasn't anger but my pride was hurt underneath. If you and I are honest with ourselves and brave enough to peel back the anger, we can discover its true motivating force. And here's what I want you to get. This takes incredible courage. But if you can begin to identify when you're angry and look under the hood and see what's going on, I am telling you some relationships that just make you nuts, some problems that you've had, God will actually use this to change your life. I'm not sure there's anything I've learned and then learned to practice that's changed me more than understanding this. In fact, notice, anger is not the problem. It's the warning light. It's the warning light. Okay. The picture I have in my mind is someone driving in a car and you're driving in the car. And you know the red lights on the dashboard that tell you something's wrong? You know? So it's flashing, it's flashing. So you pull over, stop the car. You get out, open the trunk, get a hammer out, sit back down and smash the light on the car. I'm glad I fixed that. That's what we do. The light's not the problem. Anger is like the light on the dashboard of your soul. And what it says is something's wrong under the hood. Notice, anger artificially helps us feel in control when we're feeling out of control. That's what happened that morning. By the way, that's what happened Monday.

Chip Ingram (11:25):
And I just got angry about, it took me a while to peel it back. But I was really angry and it artificially made me feel like I was in control instead of admitting that I was hurt, that I was disappointed. I've put a picture here. It says anger is the tip of the iceberg. I want you to see this picture. You can see it in your notes but also on the screen. There's a number of reasons why we get angry. Let me give you a quick list from the psychologist and counselor and then I'll give you three things that I boil it down to. When you're angry, warning light on the dashboard, here's what's going on under the hood for some of us. We're hurt. We feel guilty, shame, powerless, betrayed. It's our insecurity. We've been rejected. Our hopes were dashed. We feel trapped.

Chip Ingram (12:12):
Hopelessness, helplessness. We have unmet expectations. We have resentment, envy, jealousy, pride, low self-esteem. It's because we failed. We have a sense of worthlessness. It's because we feel lonely, depressed. It's because we're anxious. It's because we're stressed out or under pressure. It's because we have remorse or we're exhausted, fatigued or it's just downright grief. And when you lose something or you lose someone, it hurts so bad, you can just get mad. That's a long list but I would suggest that three things anger reveals. Number one is hurt which is just unmet needs. Number two is frustration which is unmet expectations. And number three is insecurity. We just feel attacked. And what I want to do in our time in both session three and session four is I want to peel those back and help you learn to look under the hood and realize I'm angry but the reason is hurt. And then I'm going to give you a tool that when you feel hurt, here's how I can learn to deal with my anger in a righteous way or God can use it. Let me dig into a passage here. Hurt is from real or perceived unmet needs. Jot that down if you will. Real or, notice, perceived unmet needs. Proverbs 19:3 says a man's own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the Lord. Ever seen this happen?

Chip Ingram (13:48):
Someone makes a very sinful or bad decision and they got two or three marriages that don't work and a business fails and they didn't tell the truth and they do this and they do that. And then what do they say? Why did God let that happen? You see, it's too painful to take responsibility, to repent, to realize you did something wrong. And so this is what people do. I'm always interested that the people that have no regard for God when some really bad things happen, all of a sudden, He gets a lot of credit. Emotions that are scary cause us to bolt to anger.

Chip Ingram (14:33):
Proverbs 27:4 says anger is cruel and fury is overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy? Jealousy is rooted in hurt or the fear of losing something or someone. It's when you feel rejected that the affection that you should have got or the job that you should've got or the attention that you should've got or the credit that you should have got goes to someone else and you feel jealous. And instead of saying oh, I feel really jealous and I'm envious of that person, you bolt to anger. When's the last time in a small group, you don't have to raise your hand, someone said you know what? I'm really struggling with jealousy.

Chip Ingram (15:17):
I'm not sure I can name on three or four fingers the times I've ever heard that. But don't all of us have struggles with that? Let me take you to a very interesting passage here. Proverbs 27:4 and Genesis 37. Let me give you a biblical example. We'll start with the Genesis one. You know the story about Genesis Joseph and his brothers. Dad shows partiality. He treats Joseph like, you know, he's the most wonderful person. He's got the multicolored coat. And let me read in Genesis 37:4. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his other brothers, they hated him and could not speak to him peaceably. See, they were jealous. And so the object of have their anger instead of at their father, that wasn't a safe place, they hated their brother. Did you recognize that of all the Psalms, 25% of all the Psalms and Scripture are called lament Psalms?

Chip Ingram (16:36):
And in other words, what David does, unlike us as we pray these sort of sanctified little prayers, David prays prayers. At least 25% of them go like this. Hey, God, what's the deal! This isn't fair! I'm ticked off! Where are you? After all I've done for you, this is what happens? You know, I'm serving you over here and they raided and my wife and my kids are gone. How about you? Haven't you ever said Lord, I got my finances in order, I made this general gift and then I lose my job? I've been faithful to you, I've kept myself sexually pure and the boyfriend or the girlfriend or the person that I want, they go off with someone else? How many times do we feel like, and yet we stuff it. God says I can take it. What they really had was the unmet need of a dad who really cared about them.

Chip Ingram (17:27):
David tells God how he feels. And then there's a pattern to these lament Psalms. Man, he gets it out and he shares it and it's raw. My God, why have you forsaken me? Where are you? What's the deal? And then he usually pauses somewhere in middle and says something like yet nevertheless and he always goes back and looks in the rear view mirror, you have been faithful to Israel. You were faithful in my past. You did this and you did that. And he processes that after he lets his anger out and he gets real with it. And then he says okay, I'm going to follow you and he ends up praising God. See, what I want to tell you is that you have to get your anger out and you got to get out in an appropriate way and God can handle it. One of the reasons that I write in my journals, there's times I don't know what I feel but I'm just going to be raw and honest. And when I get it out on the paper, I realize well, that's ugly or that's how I really feel.

Chip Ingram (18:32):
But something happens that's very Holy and therapeutic when we deal with those things. So let me give you a tool to deal this with people. The tool is called an I feel message. It's how to communicate your needs when you feel angry. I got this out of counseling that Theresa and I had many, many years ago and you will get it for free. We had on the refrigerator, Theresa could not resolve anger. She thought anger was bad and wrong and so she stuffed it. I thought anger was bad and wrong and I leaked it until now and then we both spewed it just a bit. So we couldn't resolve things. So we had a pattern that I'm sure is common with many of you is we'd be mad and we would struggle. And then, you know, when we're really mad, like you lay in bed and she faces that way and I face that way and I always had the bump and roll method that never worked. But I was sort of bump and then sigh. And that meant there's still time for you to apologize.

Chip Ingram (19:40):
And either she's as stubborn as me but it was a highly ineffective method. And then she would be really, really quiet. She would withdraw. I would attack. She would withdraw. I would be sarcastic. And then it's like you can't live that way forever. So we would never resolve it. And then by about two or three, four days, we would just pretend it didn't happen and go on. But what I learned over time was when you never resolve it, you're putting thin little layers of resentment, thin little layers of resentment, thin little layers of resentment. And it comes out in your communication or it comes out in the bedroom or it comes out in your words. And so this pastor who was our counselor, he had us on a three by five card write I feel blank when you blank.

Chip Ingram (20:32):
Because every time we had an argument, we attacked each other. We couldn't figure out how to get things out on the surface without sort of knocking the other person. And so let me give you a couple examples. I feel hurt when you pay more attention to the kids than me. I feel hurt when you give more of your energy to work than me. I feel disappointed when you forgot our anniversary. I feel rejected when I want to draw close to you physically and you give me the cold shoulder. I feel angry when you shout and raise your voice and make me feel afraid. And so on our refrigerator was I feel blank when you. And so words like hurt, disappointed. I feel sad when we're not getting along.

Chip Ingram (21:27):
And then if you really want to take it to the next level, it's I feel blank when you and then you can add I wish. Not you ought, not you should but I wish we could talk calmly about our schedules so work and kids don't interfere with our relationship. I wish we could. And what I can tell you is, you know what happens is, first of all, you can't argue with someone's feelings. They don't have to be right or wrong. But I feel is a heart message and when you is just, it's getting something on the table and then I wish is saying, you know what? Wouldn't it be great? I'm not blaming. Wouldn't it be great if this worked out a little bit different in our relationship? You'll notice in your study guide, we have some questions for you to walk through and think about. But here's what I want to do before we move on. Lean back, put your number two pencils down which no one has, of course. But I want you to close your eyes just for a moment.

Chip Ingram (22:36):
And if there was one person, a mate, a child, a parent, a boss, a supervisor, a friend that you would say there's some either anger or resentment that you need to give an I feel message to, I want to give you a moment right now to kind of in your mind's eye to just frame it in a safe place right now just before the Lord. I feel sad. I feel mad. I feel hurt. I feel lonely. I feel disappointed. I wish we could. Who's the person that needs to hear a calm I feel message from you followed by an appeal that's kind and gentle and I wish we could?

Chip Ingram (23:37):
Have you got it? Yes, it would take a lot of courage but you know, there's a lot of energy going into resentment, unresolved issues and it doesn't have to be a big deal. I feel left out when you call a meeting with the other supervisors that I'm not included in. I feel hurt when you don't share with me what you shared with the other people. I feel disappointed that you didn't trust me with that information. I wish you could. And Father, I would pray now that you will help my brothers and sisters before you commit to share an I feel message this week with someone that anger or resentment or bitterness seems to be something that just keeps coming back, sometimes just over small things. Lord, would you teach us as your children to share our anger in a way that can bring unity, that's constructive? In Jesus' name.

Chip Ingram (24:51):
I said there's three things that happen that are underneath the external anger. The first one is unmet, unmet needs, hurt. The second is frustration. Yes, anger is a secondary emotion. Yes, it takes courage to look below the surface. Yes, we're all anger and have lots of emotions under there. But the second one is frustration. And here's what I mean by frustration. Frustration is real or perceived unmet expectations. Notice what it says in 2 Kings 5:11 through 12. The story's about Naaman. And the context if you're like some of us that didn't grow up reading the Bible, it's the story of this king from another land who has leprosy and someone says hey, there's a prophet in Israel. Miracles are happening there. You should go talk to him.

Chip Ingram (25:47):
And so he goes and talks to this great prophet, Elijah, and he has some expectations about how he thinks the prophet is going to heal him. And so we pick up the story 2 Kings 5:11. But Naaman became furious and went away and said indeed, I said to myself, he will surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord, his God, and wave his hand over the place and heal the leprosy. Because what the prophet did was he didn't even come out. He sends his servant out to this very important person and says go wash in the Jordan and dip seven times. Your leprosy is gone. The guy goes what? I don't even get a hearing? I mean, there's better rivers where I came from than the Jordan. Are you kidding me? So his expectations are he's going to wave this hand, have this big moment and it doesn't happen. And so notice what happens here. He talks about there's better rivers where I came from. And then he goes could I not wash in them and be healed? So he turned and went away in rage.

Chip Ingram (26:53):
Fortunately, he had a servant that said hey, boss, might be worth a try. I mean if he would've told you to do something really hard, you would've done it. Why don't you just go ahead and do what he said? Of course, he does and he's healed. But notice when we expect something and our experience is here, if it's a small distance, we call it frustration. If it's a big distance, we call it anger. And it's true of all of us. Notice the second passage in a personal relationship here, 1 Chronicles 15. David is coming back and he's bringing the ark into the city. And David is a wild open worshipper. He's an extrovert. And he's so excited and he's coming in and there's the ark and there's music and he's twirling and he's dancing and he's giving glory to God. And his wife is up in the window and she's seeing the king, her husband walking in, dancing like that. The text in 1 Chronicles 15 says and it happened as the ark of the covenant of the Lord came to the City of David that Michal, Saul's daughter looked through a window and saw King David whirling and playing music and she despised him in her heart.

Chip Ingram (28:10):
Why? She had an expectation of this is how kings especially my husband should act. I'm embarrassed. And not only I'm embarrassed but he sort of violated my unspoken expectations that here's decorum and here's how you need to act and this is how it makes me look. And the result is she despises him. Let me give you a tool when you're frustrated. This is called the I desire versus the I demand tool if you will. Okay? What I want you to know is this, when it comes to unmet expectations, if words like ought, should, always, never are a part of your vocabulary, you've slipped from I desire things to happen to you're demanding them. I ought to have a great marriage. My kids ought to turn out right. You should act like that. You ought to work harder. You never say anything nice to me. You're always late. You never encourage me. You're always more into work. You ought to be kinder to our children. You should come home earlier. Ought, should, always, never. Ought, should, always, never. Those are demand statements.

Chip Ingram (29:31):
Two things are true. Number one is that does not work with people. Anytime you say ought, should, never, always to another human being, first of all, it's not true. No one never does anything or always does something. And when you're speaking ought or should, that's what authority figures, moms and dads say to kids. And when you say it to your kids, maybe you need to make a demand here and there. But when we do that in our relationships with one another or with God. I meet people all the time who are completely disillusioned with God. I prayed, I came to church regularly, I gave my money, I even went on a missions trip and my kid got cancer. In other words, there's this expectation that if you do certain things, God is obligated and you demand. You know what? We went to premarital counseling. We did the whole marriage thing the way we were supposed to. We didn't even have sex before we got married. Two years later, she walks out on me. In other words, listen to the difference.

Chip Ingram (30:47):
I desire to have kids that really turn out well. I wish that the economy would get better and things will go better in my job. I desire to have a great marriage. I long to and wish to be married someday. See, a desire or a wish is a request. And when you have a desire that you don't get, you get disappointed. When you have a demand, you get angry. Naaman was ticked off and almost missed God's will and God's blessing because he had preconceived in his mind this is how God has to show up. And if he doesn't show up like that, well. Now, are you ready for this? You grew up in a family and I grew up in a family. And you grew up in a part of the country and I grew up in a part of the country. And especially around here, you come from a culture and there's people in this room and in this church, of course, where we live from multi-cultures. Do you realize that all, and we have different expectations, very different expectations about what ought to be? When I married my wife, she had a father who was very handy, repaired the car, filled it up with gas. She married me. She had expectations. She was very angry at times because this is what a man is supposed to do. I had a mother. Though she worked full-time as a teacher and a guidance counselor, that she got up every day at five o'clock. We had bacon and eggs and pancakes and the whole deal every single morning. I thought that's just how it always worked. The bowl with the cereal and the milk out on the table. When I got married, it was a little bit different.

Chip Ingram (32:42):
She didn't grow up with, they didn't even eat breakfast together. Those are funny little illustrations. But I want to ask you to think about what kind of expectations do you have of important relationships in your home, important relationships at work, cultural relationships? What are things that unconsciously even you demand, demand, demand and you're mad at God? Or how about this? Some of you, your expectations that you'll never mess up. You'll turn the report in on time every time, that you are someone that always comes through for everyone all the time. You'll always be neat. You'll always be clean. Your kids have to get into a great school and you're a perfectionist and you beat yourself up and beat yourself up and you're down on yourself or you're a crazy workaholic because you have warped expectations.

Chip Ingram (33:34):
I'm going to go out on a limb and think everyone here is probably human. Just a thought. I mean intellectually, do humans ever make a mistake? Yes or no? Okay? Are you human? Do humans ever like really blow it and say something they wish you hadn't? Do humans even Christians that love God ever lie? Sort of steal? I mean we'd never call it that but. Ever watch things that we wish we hadn't? Ever do things that make us feel sad? I have a list of cards. I'm a very goal oriented person. And when I was 28, I started writing out goals for my marriage, goals for ministry, goals for my kids. And my goal was to, and I would write all these things down and it was about a year and a half. And I remember making a shift. I read a verse that changed my life. Psalm 37:4 says delight yourself in the Lord and he'll give you the desires of your heart. And I went through all my goals and I put an X through them. I desire to have a marriage that would honor God. I desire, I long to model righteousness and holiness and love before my children in a way that they would catch it from their Heavenly Father. I desire, if you would allow, to put something in print someday that would bless and encourage other believers. I long. I desire. I changed all of them because I realized a goal is something I can accomplish. And a goal put me under this, I was already a workaholic. Man, this was like gasoline on the flames.

Chip Ingram (35:18):
So let me ask you then, what about your expectations? Notice, a gentle answer turns away wrath. But a harsh word stirs up anger. The third underneath the iceberg surface is insecurity, real or perceived attack on my personal worth. When I'm angry, sometimes it's an unmet need. I feel hurt. When I'm angry, sometimes it's an unmet expectation of myself, of God or of others. And I need to do a personal inventory and ask myself, instead of making demands, I need to begin to communicate desires even for myself with God and with others. The third reason that we bolt to anger is insecurity. That's when there's an attack on our worth. Anger is often the evidence of inner insecurity in my life. I read the verse Proverbs 15:1, a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Have you ever had someone either loudly or criticize you or read a Tweet about you or someone post on social media or someone come in and say boy, that was a lousy job and they poke you or someone cut in front of you and then give you that famous gesture.

Chip Ingram (36:50):
And immediately you're ready to hit the gas or post back on social media or email them this blistering email, right? What happened? See, a harsh word stirs up anger. Why? Because we feel threatened. Because we feel attacked. A gentle, a gentle answer turns away wrath. Notice, Proverbs 18:19, an offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city and disputes are like the barred gates of the citadel. You know, when out of anger, when you attack someone or they feel like you're attacking them, I mean the walls go up, don't they? I mean some of you have some relatives or have some former friends or some people who they used to go to church with or maybe even some family members that someone got offended, someone got attacked and out of their insecurities, they just put up walls. Don't we all have some of those friends that we used to hang out with and we felt close to and life went kind of pretty good?

Chip Ingram (37:49):
And, you know, maybe some distance or maybe a little change in job or maybe a mild geography and, you know, sort of the sign of people that are pretty close is that if you call them or text them, you usually hear back in the same day or the next day, right? Sort of the unwritten rule of really close friends. And now you text them or you email them and it's like four days or five days. And you're thinking well, don't they like me anymore? Well, I know they're really busy or this or that. And then if you're passive aggressive, then when they email you back, you think I think I'll wait about four or five days and little resentment. But how many of us would ever sit down with someone and say hey, you know, let's grab coffee.

Chip Ingram (38:36):
We haven't seen each other for a while. Or you catch up on the phone and how's everything going. And you know, this may sound silly. What's that? You know, we used to hang out so much and I know we have different jobs. Our worlds are going a little bit different but I actually feel kind of rejected when I text or call you. Man, I don't get anything back for three or four days. Because you know, as crazy as that sounds, even as I'm talking, people are coming to your mind that you realize there's some resentment that grows. And if you're a stuffer, it goes down inside your heart. And if you're a leaker, you'll joke hey, did you get that email or oh, I know, your life's really busy now. You probably don't answer people for a month or two. And really what you don't want to do. I want to get it out here but if they say something, I was just joking. You know? But you hope they get the message. And if you're a spewer, you'll sit on it for quite a while and then you'll say something really stupid that might separate you as good friends when there's maybe a lot of good reasons of why that is happening.

Chip Ingram (39:48):
Let me give you a couple of biblical examples of what happens when our insecurity is sort of poked. 1 Samuel 18. It's the story of Saul and David. And David has killed Goliath. And now David's getting famous and Saul is the king and he's appointed him over his troops. And so David went out wherever Saul sent him and he behaved wisely. And Saul sent him out over the men of war and he was accepted in the sight of all the people and in the sight of Saul's servants. Now it happened as they were coming home when David was returning from slaughtering the Philistines that the women had come out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing to meet King Saul with tambourines, with joy and with musical instruments. And so the women sang as they danced. Saul has slain his thousands and David his tens of thousands. Then Saul was very angry and the saying displeased him. And he said they've ascribed to David tens of thousands and to me, only a thousand. Now what more can he have except the kingdom.

Chip Ingram (40:50):
He's just threatened. I mean instead of going, you know what? I must be a really good delegator. You know what? I got an eye for talent. I found that guy and wow, look at how the blessing of God is here in Israel because I was able to support that guy and launch him. But no, no, no, no. We're all desperately insecure. That was one of the probably biggest lessons I ever learned in the very first pastorate. It was out in a little rural community but it was a group of people that wanted to have a church where they lived because they wanted their kids out of all the hustle and bustle of Dallas. But once I got to be the pastor, there was only 35 people. But this guy owned an insurance and this guy, dealerships and this guy owned that and this guy owned that. And they were all very wealthy and very powerful people.

Chip Ingram (41:40):
It was really, really intimidating. You know, we're going to be gone because everyone's going skiing in Vail or we're going to be doing this or we're going to be doing that. And I remember feeling really, really intimidated. And I read a book by a Swiss Christian psychologist, it was translated from French to English, called The Strong and The Weak. Paul Tournier. And the book is very simple. He takes all of his patients and he said everyone is desperately insecure, rooted right from the fall. You know, from the day that the garden with sin entered, God said where are you and Adam for the first time became self-conscious and realized there were adequacies. And so he hid because of his shame. And we have all been hiding because of our shame. Down deep in your heart, down deep in my heart, we honestly feel that if someone really saw psychologically, emotionally saw who we really are, they would reject us.

Chip Ingram (42:36):
And so we pose. And some people pose to keep a distance by strong reactions. They the power up. They have this many people reporting to you. This is where I go. This is what I do. Here's where we vacation. And you just think, you know, I don't want to be around that person. But some people in their insecurity have weak reactions and they withdraw. And they're not just shy, they're super shy and they avoid risk. And sometimes, they look at their feet a lot or if they begin to open up, they tell you about all their problems and they've been a victim and you listen the first time and then the second time and then the eighth time. And then you see them in the hallway of church and they're coming this way and you think I'm going to take the other hallway.

Chip Ingram (43:13):
Because I've heard this. You know, it's like a record. You push the button because every one of us. But you know how freeing it is? There's not a person in this room, there's not a person watching this, there's not a person on this planet that isn't desperately insecure, that doesn't have fears that we're going to be revealed. And when you're attacked, when your worth, your value. It can be physical, it can be emotional, it can be psychological. When you're attacked, you respond in anger. Notice, in Acts 5, these are the religious leaders. The resurrection has happened. The church is flourishing and notice, Acts 5:12, and through the hands of the apostles, many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch. And none dared joined them because the people were highly esteemed and the believers were increasing and the Lord added multitudes to the men and women so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches. At least the shadow of Peter would pass by and fall on some of them.

Chip Ingram (44:20):
Also the multitudes gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing the sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits. And they were all healed. God is launching this movement and I mean miracles are happening. So if you're a Jew and you know, you've seen the Messiah and you're a Sadducee, you're a Pharisee, you're thinking you've been praying for a movement of God. So how would you respond when God does this? What's the text, look at it. Then the high priest rose up and all who were with him which is the sect of the Sadducees. And they were filled with indignation and they laid their hands on the apostles and they put them in the common prison. What's the deal? They're threatened. I was having coffee with a buddy this morning. We were talking about some of this and I don't know. It was a year or two ago. We were playing golf and we're in the cart. And for those golfers, you know, someone, they're supposed to wait till you get out of the way. And someone hit into us. It bounced once and bounced off of our cart.

Chip Ingram (45:22):
And he's a big guy. And he had that look like, excuse me, I think I'm going to take these guys out. You know, you just don't do that. And we sat there for just a second and yeah, it's that anger, personal attack. It's like when someone gives you the finger. It's like when someone posts on Facebook. Well, here's what you do. And we talked about this because as we've both been learning to do this, it's been great. You pause and you say now, who did that? Do I really care what they think? Is it worth getting mad and getting in an argument or pushing or shoving or running after that person who cut me off? You know, in other words, wait a second. In fact, look at the questions I gave you. Here's the tool. Ask yourself why am I feeling threatened? You're boiling to anger. What's being attacked?

Chip Ingram (46:19):
I mean a guy made a mistake. He hit into us. The ball didn't hit us. Who's attacking me? Some guy I don't know. Do I really want to have an argument with some guy I don't know? Do I really want to zoom through freeway? When you catch up with him, what are you going to do? Especially if he has a gun. Is the threat menial or meaningful? In other words, is this just a little thing or is this a big threat? Yes, God made me fight or flight. Man, I think my family is in danger. You better be angry. You better be ready. Hey, personal attack, sometimes. And then finally, whose approval in my seeking anyway? I had an experience here recently. There's a church in the Chicago area that the pastor and I were friends many years ago and he's gone through some really, really painful things, made some really apparently bad decisions.

Chip Ingram (47:14):
And we haven't talked in many, many years. And just everything was on the news and just horrendous. And he was excused from his church and there's just all kinds of social media stuff surrounding it. But it was Easter. And my son when he was in Chicago went that church. My daughter when she was in Chicago, she went to that church. I've got friends at that church. My other son helped them with their worship. And they said hey, is there any way, we're in a jam. You know, a few thousand people left, finances are a mess. But the church is hurting. Could you come and preach for Easter? And I thought well, that congregation, well, of course. It's the first Easter I was free in about 35 years, you know? Sure. And then all of a sudden, all I'm getting all this stuff on Twitter. I thought Ingram was an honorable person but he must be. And all these people saying stuff that don't know me. And everything in me wanted to go wait a second, you know, how in limited characters can I straighten everybody out? Man, I just, you know, and I just, I felt all this anger inside. Has this happened to anybody else?

Chip Ingram (48:30):
And then you just realize, wait a second. Has anything ever been resolved like that? Will entering this fray honor God? If I say something, am I expecting to get no response? Am I expecting to go oh, thanks. Those few little words you said on Twitter explains it all. You know, what was being attacked? My character, my reputation and I'm insecure. And I wanted to straighten everybody out. But whose approval do you need? You've got Christ.

Chip Ingram (49:09):
Let's stand together. Lord, thank you for the secondary emotion called anger that really is the gateway to see what's happening in our hearts and souls. And Lord, of all the things that you said to your disciples, it was the issues of the heart that you wanted to change. You said it's not the outside of the cup. It's the inside of the cup. It's that which fills the heart. That's where murder and anger and adultery and abusing and using people, it all starts in our heart. And you have given us a tool, a light on the dashboard of our soul. And so Father, I pray that there would be great discussions from session three and session four. I pray in Jesus' name that there will be hundreds of I feel messages and some journals that would talk about I desire instead of I demand. And then Lord, you know how vulnerable we are when we're attacked. Would you ask the Holy Spirit, Father, would you help us to really examine where our security is and to kind of smile at people who act like crazy people and refuse to return evil for evil? In Christ's name.

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