Rage: Understanding The Monster Within

How Can I Transform Anger Into A Tool In Spiritual Warfare?

Chip Ingram
Jul 8, 2019    47m
How can I transform anger into a tool in spiritual warfare? We all feel anger and it is important to understand that anger is neither good nor bad. In fact, our emotions are a God given gift. First though, we must learn how each us express our anger before we can learn to channel it in a way where God can use us. 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):
Great to be here. Let me pray for us before we get started. All mighty and ever living God, God, as we sung, we praise you that you've broken the power of death, the power of sin that your Kingdom has come and it's forcefully moving through our world and you've made us agents of light and grace and yet Father, you know the battles that we have. And when that old man raises his ugly head and we say things and do things and we don't want to be that way and our emotions literally at times ruin our relationships. Lord, we're asking you to speak to us, to open our minds and our hearts. I pray that you would fill me afresh with your Spirit. God give us openness, help us to hear, remove our defenses and our insecurities. Help us to grasp that you want to help us and that you love us deeply. And I pray that in Jesus' name. Amen.

Chip Ingram (01:09):
As we open in session one, you'll see that in your workbook, I just have a couple of questions to get you thinking and all of us get our mind around the power of emotions. Question number one, what has the power to transform a tender, loving mother into a beast of fury as I watched her pick up an 18 month old by one arm, slam it into a dryer and then jerk it back into a chair? I know that mom loved that little kid. But what in the world happened? What has the power to take normal, loving, good parents and turn them into neck bulging, vein popping, screaming adults who say the same thing over and over and over into the face of a kid staring back at them that's overwhelmed? What has the power to take good friends and a couple with dreams and passionate lovers and over times of bitterness and resentment turn them into cold, calculated, critical marriage co-existers who only do what's absolutely necessary to keep living under the same roof?

Chip Ingram (02:30):
When you think of extended families, what has the power to turn a festive holiday gathering into a gut twisting, name calling take sides, no holds barred, family feud where relations are broken and people don't talk to each other anymore? How does that happen? And finally, what has the power to take a calm, cool, quiet, conscientious worker and turn him into an automatic weapon toting going from office to office and floor to floor spraying bullets and no one even knew he was mad? Killing people indiscriminately because he was dismissed from his job. I want you to write in your notes, here's the answer, our emotions. Our emotions. Designed as a gift from God. Underline that. Your emotions aren't bad. Under a gift from God but there are times, places and circumstances that literally bring out emotions that destroy.

Chip Ingram (03:46):
The Apostle James is the half-brother of Jesus and he wrote the very first book in the New Testament. And after talking about considering it all joy and enduring suffering, he's writing to a group of Jewish believers and their world has fallen apart. If you believed in the Messiah, you would probably get ex-communicated from your family. Some husbands left their wives. Some wives left than their husbands. There was economic disaster. Literally, he says to those that are dispersed abroad, they're going everywhere and there's persecution. And then in verse 19, he says my brothers, take note of this. Let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, and then underline this in your notes, slow to anger, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

Chip Ingram (04:40):
Now I remember teaching through the book of James and I was teaching through the book of James and I got to this passage and probably partly because of my background growing up with a dad that had major, major anger issues and probably my background in psychology and grad work and undergrad work, I realized this anger thing was really big. And so I decided to take a little cul-de-sac and teach a little bit on anger. And as I did, we had a lady in our church named Dr. Becca Johnson. And she said, you know, Chip, this is way bigger than you think. I said really? She goes yes, I'm a counselor here in the Santa Cruz, in the Bay area and have a private practice. I've written a couple of books with InterVarsity and I counsel primarily Christian families. You have no idea what anger is doing in the homes. Well, when I got done with that series, Becca and I teamed up together and we wrote a book called Overcoming Emotions That Destroy. And I kind of took the biblical avenue and then she gave just, I mean insight and help that was above my pay grade.

Chip Ingram (05:47):
And so at times, I'm going to pause and I'm going to give you some insight from her. And here's my promise. We all have anger issues. Some of us are very aware of them. Some of you aren't. It doesn't make you bad or wrong to have anger issues. But if you don't recognize how to respond to them, if you don't come and grasp this is how I respond to anger and this is what's going on in my life, it literally can destroy the most important people and things in your life. And in fact, here's the promise. If you'll stay with me all four sessions and I'm going to literally say to you that I want you to go privately and with it's just a roommate or just a husband and wife or just the family, you don't have to start a small group or anything. But if you would just after each session, do the where it says talk it out and get these things on the table and begin to discuss them, you are going to realize that maybe some of the deep seated things that you struggled with for years and years and years, God wants to do a breakthrough in your life.

Chip Ingram (06:57):
In light of that, here's the warning. Under pressure, we are all prone to blow a fuse, those who blow up, or burn the house down. There's a short, you know, some people, the anger, it comes out and you know it and other people, it goes down. It's kind of like going out to dinner and there's a little short in the wire and you know, you don't know anything's wrong. And in that short, over time, over time, there's a little spark and doesn't seem like a big deal. And you go out to dinner and some night you come back and your house is in flames and then in ashes. And that's what anger does to people.

Chip Ingram (07:29):
Now, some of you don't think that anger is probably all that big a problem. But let me ask you, have you ever gotten angry when you were unfairly treated, when someone blamed you for something that wasn't your fault, when you felt ignored or misunderstood or someone belittled you or put you down? Did you ever get mad when someone just said, you know, walked into your office and gave you advice that you really didn't ask for and really didn't want, when they criticized you? Did you ever get angry when someone kicked you or pushed you or threatened you? Did you ever get angry when someone cut in front of you and then made a gesture with one of their fingers off their hand that seemed to dismiss you? I mean do you realize that in a moment, that normal, regular, seemingly healthy people drive to work all over America and someone cuts in front of someone or pulls out a little and they have to slow up. And someone, there's this amazing response. And we've all been on the freeway, right? And those two cars are chasing each other.

Chip Ingram (08:35):
And we've all read the stories of because someone pulls out in front of someone, someone has a gun in their car and someone ends up dead. Dr. Johnson, those were the kind of things that I thought when people get angry. Are you ready for this? Lean back. She has 50 things that tend to make people angry. And here's, before I read these, I'm going to go fast. I just want you to lean back and ask yourself, wait a second, these are the kinds of things that happen to everyone at some time in their life almost. Now she writes have you ever gotten mad because someone in line cut you off, someone misunderstood what you said, someone ignored your feelings, because of the breakup of a relationship, because someone made you feel trapped and smothered and were controlling? Do you ever get mad because you felt like a failure because someone broke your trust, because of past abuse, someone lied to you, because you had to wait in a very, very long line at the grocery store or the bank, because your children weren't obeying, because the waitress was not only slow but brought the wrong food, because you stubbed your toe in the middle of the night, because you find out way too late you're out of toilet paper, because the line at the public restroom is very, very, very, very long and you really, really, really have to go, because your spouse forgot to call and was very late, because the clothes you wanted to wear are in the hamper and they're not clean, because your spouse had an affair, because you ran out of time and you didn't get the things done today that you were absolutely committed to do?

Chip Ingram (10:22):
Do you ever get mad because you drove all the way across town and there's a sign on the door, it's Monday, it's one o'clock, we are temporarily closed? Did you ever get mad when one of your kids relentlessly demand your time or when you, oh, you forgot to do something and you know you're going to look bad at work? Do you ever just get mad because you don't have any time for yourself or because the clerk was rude or you were in a hurry and you just were like how can you hit every single red light? Do you ever get mad at your boss doesn't appreciate you or someone at work takes credit for what you did? Do you ever get mad when somebody tracks in dirt when you just clean the house or when the driver in front of you is going very, very slow? And finally, do you ever get mad when someone you love very much dies?

Chip Ingram (11:28):
You know, those are not like things that never happen to people. Those are things that happen to everyone sooner or later. And we all respond with some kind of anger when these kinds of things happen to us. But some people don't even know you're angry. Some of you have been trained from childhood as we'll learn to think that anger is bad. Some of you explode with your anger and then feel very bad about it later. And some of you just realize you just leak it out in ways and ruin relationships and have no idea why the things going on down inside of you never get resolved.

Chip Ingram (12:11):
Let's look at anger from God's perspective. Here's a definition. Anger is neither good nor bad. Why don't you underline good or bad. Because a lot of you don't believe that. It is a charged, morally neutral emotional response of protective preservation. Let me show you two things. Number one, positively, it can be a healthy emotion that motivates us to correct attitudes, behaviors or injustices that we perceive to be wrong, right? Jesus walks in the Temple. My house shall be a house of prayer. And He turns over temples. David says he's mad. Goliath, you're calling the living God, my God that? I mean we have multiple, Moses takes the tablets and throws them down and breaks them. He's really ticked off because injustice has occurred and he's going to make it right.

Chip Ingram (13:09):
That opening illustration that I gave about the lady with the dryer, that was the first time I ever understood that anger could be positive. I grew up in a very good family in general. But my dad went through a lot of damage before PTSD and all that in World War II. He killed a lot of people. He saw horrendous things and no one processed anything. And inside of him, he was like a powder keg all the time. And man, I was scared. You did not want to make my dad mad. And so I thought anger was wrong. And the few times that I expressed my anger, I found out it'd make me dangerous. Boy, I don't want to go there. And I'll never forget sitting. We were, it was the first church we ever pastored, been there a couple of years. Probably by most standards, we were pretty poor, making maybe $1,700, $1,800 a month. And we lived out in a little rural area and we couldn't afford a washer and dryer. So we went to the laundromat. Anybody remember those? And laundromats have dryers that you just feed quarters in and the clothes never get dry. And so I had, you know, we had a jar of quarters that we kept. And so I'm waiting in there and I'm trying to be a good husband. Like honey, you go on home and I'll dry all the clothes.

Chip Ingram (14:27):
And I'm sitting there and that lady comes in and she did exactly what I described. I mean she looked a little uncapped and she looked like she might be, you know, had had sort of a bad day. But it was just the cutest little about 18 months old, maybe two years old at the most. And I forget, went over and reached and touched something. And the lady just, I mean why did you do that? And picked up the kid and I thought his arm going to come out and literally smashed his face into a dryer and then chucked him down. And I was sitting over on, you know, one of those big tables where you fold stuff. And now, by the way, this is not the right response to anger. My motivation was pretty good. What went through my mind was I think I'm going to punch this lady in the mouth. And then thoughts like pastor in jail attacks woman in laundromat.

Chip Ingram (15:22):
But I remember getting up and saying ma'am and just restraining my anger. But man, she knew I was hot. Don't you touch that little child again. And I knew there was nothing I could really do about it. And I went, like you all do, I went to bed that night and I think I fell asleep for like 40 minutes. Then I woke up. And all night, all I could think of was that kid. I thought well, that's really bad. That's really strange. And it was, the town is, you know, kind of socioeconomically challenged, put it that way. And the next night I couldn't sleep. And then I had this thought, like I wonder how many kids like that are in this little community in Texas, in this rural area? And so I went down to the courthouse. I said, you know, is there like a child welfare board?

Chip Ingram (16:09):
Well, we kind of have a group of volunteers and you know, I wanted to find out. And what are the statistics? Oh, we've got a big problem and the foster care is a problem and this is a really big issue in this whole county. And so they're meeting actually today. You should go down there and find out. So I go down and kind of imagine a town of about 2,500, no stoplight. This is the only people that will really care. And I don't mean this in a pejorative way because I really became friends with them. But there was a lovely lady about 90 who was leading the group. Well, Bert, Ethel, what do you think we should talk about this week? And I just went oh my gosh. And so I told them my story and said, you know, I did some research and what are we going to do? What are you going to do about this? And I sat down with them and an hour and a half later, I walked out of the child welfare board as the new chairman.

Chip Ingram (17:03):
And then I decided well, heck if I'm the chairman, I can appoint people. And so I went in our church and I found two or three business people that I knew had a heart for this. And I met with two or three other pastors. And then pretty soon I'll tell you what, then every weekend different churches were saying okay, we need these size clothes to help these kids and who can take in this family for a week or two. And then another two or three years and then we got, and we saw that it was a systemic problem. Then we came together and we raised money and we built a child welfare building right next to the courthouse or that area where all the public. And what I realized was that county changed because someone got mad. I'm convinced Christians aren't mad enough about the right things. This church is making a significant difference in the sex trade because someone got mad and said that shouldn't happen here. Some of the greatest things that have ever happened is someone looks at injustice. Let me ask you this. What do you see in the world that is wrong and shouldn't be that makes you mad enough to get off your rear end and stop talking about it and start doing something about it?

Chip Ingram (18:14):
See, anger is a God given emotion and can be very, very positive. By contrast, it can be very, very negative. We're given the command in Ephesians 4:26, positively be angry. It's a command. But don't sin. Don't let the sun go down on your anger. And we'll hit this a little bit later because the next verse talks about lest you give the enemy, lest you give the devil a foothold. Unresolved anger, stuffed anger, exploding anger is a window in which the enemy, spiritual warfare really occurs. It's probably the most normal way that you're experiencing lies and condemnation and all kinds of struggles that you never connect with spiritual warfare and anger. But negatively, notice what the wisest man in the world says about anger. Proverbs 19:19, a hot tempered man must pay the penalty. If you rescue him, you'll have to do it again. Translation, there's consequences. When you make decisions, when I say something or you say something out of anger, there's a penalty.

Chip Ingram (19:30):
And by the way, it's habitual. If you do it, people that get into anger patterns, this is how you relate. This is what you do. This is what I do. Notice the next verse, Proverbs 22:24, do not make friends with a hot tempered man. Do not associate with one easily angered. Why? It's contagious. By the way, for some of you that are parents, guess where your kids are learning how to handle their anger? Watching you. We'll learn that some of you spew it out, some of you stuff it down and some of you leak it. And by the way, it doesn't make you bad. It's how you have learned. What I want you to know is there's a better way. There's a Godly way to deal with your anger. Anger is a lot like fire. You know, fire in a container can bring warmth and light and fuel things. Fire that's unrestricted, as we just saw recently in California, remember, I mean it just blew through a whole forest and took out a whole town. There's whole family systems, there's whole workplaces, there's whole churches, there's whole small groups that are just a mess because of anger that was unchecked.

Chip Ingram (20:43):
Finally, notice Proverbs 29:22, an angry man stirs up dissension and a hot-tempered one commits many sins. When you're angry, you do stupid ungodly things like I do. And it's just unifying. In fact, notice in your notes, I've given you some questions to ponder. I want you to think about these. Okay? This isn't for someone else. This is for us. Have you ever done something you wish you hadn't when you were angry? Yes or no. Everyone who said no is a liar. Number two, have you ever said something you wish you could take back when you were angry? I don't love you anymore. I wish you were never been born. I hate you. You can take this job and shove it at which time you go home and your mate says so how did the day go? You know, I got sick and tired of that supervisor boss telling me what to do and treating me that way. So what happened? I told him he could take this job and shove it. So how are we going to pay our bills? And do you have another job? And all of a sudden, you realize that maybe I should have rethought that one, at least on the timing. Have you ever made a bad decision when you were angry, one that you look back and makes you think without a doubt, that was the dumbest thing I've ever done? Have you ever ruined a friendship, a marriage, a family relationship, a ministry relationship, or a business situation because you were angry? And finally, have you ever seen a person hurt because of someone's anger, physically, emotionally, or psychologically?

Chip Ingram (22:39):
I have lived for now over 40 years with a woman who grew up with a father who had incredible anger issues, who marred all three of his daughters psychologically in ways that every one of them have required counseling. But by the grace of God in renewing your mind and beginning to get God's view of things, I've watched my wife not stuff everything or assume that when there's ever a problem, it must be her fault because how she was treated for years growing up. In summary, notice, without exception, we all struggle with angry feelings at times and those angry feelings have done more than their share of damage in our relationships with others.

Chip Ingram (23:32):
Now, what I want you to know is if you said yes to any of those and some of you said yes to more than others like I did, I want you to know there's hope and I want you to know that in our time together, we're going to learn to identify good anger and bad anger. We're going to learn specific tools about how to be mad but not sin. We're going to actually learn together how to take anger as sort of a light on the dashboard that will tell us oh, there's something wrong and instead of being a foe, it'll become our friend. And we'll learn how to channel righteous anger in a way where God uses us more than ever before. And we'll learn how to respond to other people's anger and address the kinds of anger that come at us. And rather than stuffing it down or spewing it out or having relationships that keep on spinning, you're actually going to learn from God some ways that will really change your life and change your relationships.

Chip Ingram (24:28):
Can I ask you to shut your eyes just a moment before we go on? Because what we want to talk about is that anger has many faces in just a moment. But what I want you to do is just shut your eyes and say Lord, all those questions that Chip said stirred up things. And for some, you want to repress them and there's feelings of oh, you feel shame. This is just reality. Father, will you help us own the reality that we all are angry and it is normal? But would you help us to grasp how we express our anger and then how do we receive it? And would you teach us to let the Holy Spirit guide us in ways that we can turn anger from one of our greatest foes to our friend, a God given emotion that your will could be done on earth the way it's done in Heaven. In Jesus' name.

Chip Ingram (25:38):
Now I want you to look with me as we open to session two. And anger has many faces. If you would have asked my wife and probably a number of you, do you have any problem with anger, there's some of you that say no, no, not really. No, I don't, I don't. I get a little frustrated now and then. But no, I don't get mad. I don't yell. I don't scream. I don't throw things. No, anger is not really big issue with me. I'm going to suggest that anger has three primary faces. We're going to talk about spewers, people that explode. We're going to talk about people that are stuffers, who push it down in. And then we're going to talk about leakers, people who get angry but they realize it's not safe to express it over here. So they take it over to here to a safe area. And sometimes they express it to people that weren't even a part of what made them angry or sometimes they figure out how to push the buttons of that person. And then they can say oh, I was only joking.

Chip Ingram (26:35):
Now I'm going to go through these. And I've never done anything quite like this. But I'm going to describe each one of those. I'm going to give you the symptoms. I'm going to show you what each one of them need to do. And then all I want you to, relax here, is I'm going to ask you to listen to about 10 quick diagnostic questions on each one and mentally go me. I mean probably don't count on your fingers especially like if you're with your mate. Actually they already know. It wouldn't matter. And I just want you to walk out of here knowing my primary way that I express anger is this. And then I got some great insight that I'll share with you in a little bit. But I think some of our anger is very situational. If you have a very powerful boss, you may not spew back at him. But if you have a very loving family, it might be a lot safer. You might be a spewer at home and a stuffer at work.

Chip Ingram (27:29):
So are you ready to roll? Let's look at the many faces of anger. What do you do with your anger? The answer is we express our anger in such a wide variety of ways that many people assume anger is not an issue in their life. And again, I'm going to ask Dr. Becca Johnson to give me a little help. This is a list of the way that people express their anger. And just ask yourself which one of these apply to me. People shut down, assert power and authority, become pushy or aggressive, yell, scream, shout, slam, belittle, demean, and slander, intimidate others, become depressed, isolate themselves, alienate other, suppress their feelings, repress, regress, become fearful, hit grab, punch, kick, bite and throw things, become defensive, become prideful and arrogant, Become withdrawn, become self-righteous, lie, cuss, withhold affection, whine, put others down, roll their eyes.

Chip Ingram (28:33):
Other people express their anger by spewing it out, threatening others, become hostile or violent, blaming others, feeling shame, manipulating others, experiencing self-hatred, covering up their feelings, pretending you don't really feel that way, rationalizing or justifying your actions or feelings, making excuses, becoming discouraged, despondent and depressed, gossiping or slandering someone that you feel righteously should get it, minimizing your anger and how it affects others, denying your feelings, feeling self-pity, becoming critical and cynical, becoming sarcastic, giving the other person the silent treatment and finally, crying. That's how we express our anger. And there's probably more but I can't take any more than that. Anger wears many masks. Notice the passage I've put in your notes.

Chip Ingram (29:26):
The heart is deceitful above all else and beyond cure. Who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind to reward man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve. And what I want you to know is that because that's true is that God understands that often we can't see what's going on. But the Scripture says God tests the heart. He tests the motives. If you would study all of the gospels and you said what's one of the primary messages of Jesus? The primary message would be God's looking about your motives and your heart and the why of what you do even more than your external morality or your religious observances.

Chip Ingram (30:11):
The Pharisees were squeaky clean and he called them whitewashed tombs. You brood of vipers. Why? Because of their heart. You can come to church, be a nice person, read the Bible and have resentment and bitterness and anger and express it in ways, in very sophisticated Christian ways that destroy people and destroy relationships. And God brought us here to say you don't have to live that way. So let's look at masks. Number one, it's called the spewer. There's two types of spewers. There's exploding time bombs. Those are people that are out of control. That was my father. Or calculated time bombs. There are people that are spewers that they use it as a weapon and they know exactly when they're doing it and why and how. Their message is anger is necessary. When you say I think you're really angry, their response is you bet I am.

Chip Ingram (31:08):
Do what I say or else. The reasons for expressing anger in this way is it gives them a false sense of power, it helps them release pent up negative emotions and they feel unable to constraint or control. They have very poor impulse control. When you talk to some of these people who say I just can't help myself, I didn't mean to do it but I just explode. I'm Irish. I have red hair or I grew up like this. And it's a family cycle. People learn to walk on eggshells. People learn to not tell the truth. Dysfunction. How they blow up, yelling, screaming, shouting, pushing, shoving, hitting, kicking, intimidation, aggression, overly opinionated, overly blunt, forceful, tactless, demanding, repetitive. Here's the results. They wound themselves, spewers and others. There's a sense of loss of control, sense of power, feelings of guilt, strained, unhealthy relationships. Sometimes you spew on someone and they spew back even physically. Retaliation, regrets.

Chip Ingram (32:19):
I remember when this book come out, they usually have you kind of do radio interviews and you know, they interview you about the book. And Beck and I were doing that and there was a call from a guy from Chicago. And he says I can't tell you my name. He goes I'm a leader in the church. I'm an elder in the church. I read my Bible every morning. I love God with all my heart and was kind of, and so I don't want people to know who I am. And he said I got to tell you, as I hear you all talk, I'm a spewer. And he goes and how do you ever stop? And he goes I feel so terrible. I literally I cry and I weep and I ask God for help. And I tell my wife and I tell my kids I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry. And I'm looking into their eyes and I'm damaging them. But how do you ever break out of it?

Chip Ingram (33:05):
Some people who spew just feel such remorse and they want to change. Good news is you're going to learn how. Okay. Let's find out if you are a spewer. I'm going to ask 10 quick questions and what I want you to do and mentally you go, yeah. Now, by the way, it's yes, no or maybe. But don't like, I'm going to go fast, say like well, maybe, sorta. Look, first response. Okay? First response. Just yeah. And if you're in doubt, say yes because the one part of our human makeup is we have denial that's just over the top. Okay.

Chip Ingram (33:42):
Here's the 10 characteristics. Which ones apply to you? You get to about five, six or seven, this might be in your wheelhouse. Number one, I can be blunt and forceful when someone does something to frustrate me. Two, as I speak my convictions, my voice becomes increasingly louder. Ask one of your kids about that one. Number three, when someone confronts me about a problem, I'm likely to offer a ready rebuttal. Number four, no one has to guess my opinion. I'm known for having unwavering viewpoints. Number five, when something goes wrong, I focus so sharply on fixing the problem but I often overlook people's feelings. Number six, I have a history of getting caught in bickering matches with family members. Number seven, during verbal disagreements with someone, I tend to repeat myself several times. I remember my dad would get upset with me and I did something wrong. Chip, why did you do that? Why did you do that? Help me understand with all my mind. Why did you do that? Why did you do that? And I wanted to just, you know, I was scared to death. I want to say I didn't lose my hearing, Dad. But spewers get fixated and they repeat it and it often gets louder.

Chip Ingram (34:52):
Number eight, I find it hard to keep my thoughts to myself when I know something else is wrong. Number nine, I have a reputation for being strong-willed. And number 10, I tend to give advice even when others have not asked for it. So are you spewer? Yes, no or maybe. Put a check mark. Got it? And by the way, you know what? For some of you, don't cover yourself with guilt. You learned how to spew from a belief system, a family of origin and some experiences. It's just what you do right now. But you don't have to stay there. The next mask that we wear is called the stuffer. Stuffer's repress. When they're angry, they just deny it. They avoid it or they suppress it. They just pretend. The message here is anger is bad. And then the reaction is, I don't know how many times especially early in our marriage, honey, you seem angry. No, no. I'm not angry. Little frustrated. I'm not mad. I'm not angry. The reaction, not me.

Chip Ingram (36:05):
Why? Listen carefully. Here's why they're afraid to be angry. They think it's bad and even sinful to be angry. Some even think God's wrath comes upon you if you get mad and they fear loss of control and making a fool of themselves. They fear rejection of others. They get mad. What might happen? They don't like to feel guilty and every time they get mad, they feel guilty. Their experience with anger has scars. So it's something to be afraid of and avoided. They fear retaliation or punishment or consequences or possible outcomes expressing anger. I stuffed mine at home as did my wife. How do they stuff it? By ignoring it, denying it, shielding it, deflecting it, minimizing it, pretending they aren't really angry. Avoiding it, bearing it. By the way, Paul, Dr. Paul Meier, the author and sort of the originator of the Meier Minirith Clinic, it was the sort of the precursor of the New Life Clinic today, 95% of all depression is anger turned inward. Now don't get me wrong. There's physiological depression and there's multiple causes for depression. But 95% of the everyday I'm down, I'm blue, I'm moody. I'm bummed out is anger turned inward. And my experience is the people who do that are not even aware that you're angry. The results are they become doormats for others. People take advantage of them.

Chip Ingram (37:33):
They redirect their anger at themselves. I must've done something wrong. They deliver physical, they get physical ailments often ulcers, tension headaches, muscle cramps right back in here. They occasionally erupt in a volcanic explosion. It's like this calm, calm, calm, calm person. The shooter recently in Virginia ,years ago in San Francisco. There's a pattern here. This volcanic explosion of someone that, you know, sorta mild-mannered Sam becomes weapon, carrying crazy person. They avoid people and places and things. They withdraw. They develop resentments. What they need is to accept anger is okay. It's normal. They need to acknowledge their fears and seek to minimize the hold it has on them. They need to communicate their anger effectively. I will give you a tool. We're going to learn to do that next time. And then you become more assertive with their needs and their wants. And finally, they to be clear about what they want and what they'll do and won't do.

Chip Ingram (38:37):
Often and I use my wife because there's so many people that are stuffers. And since I've lived with this, here's how it works is you ask them to do something and they don't want to make you mad so they say yes. Yes, I'll do it. Then as they're doing it, down deep, they didn't want to do it so they feel resentment towards you for asking. But they actually don't understand that we can't read their mind. Stuffers say yes to all kinds of things because they don't say oh, I think it's a great idea but I don't think my name's on that. I don't want to volunteer. No, I'd rather not go to that restaurant. I'd rather do this. But because they don't say what they really mean, you assume when they're going along, they're really going along and often they're not. And then there's resentment. And then resentment plays out in a lot of different ways. Okay. Ten questions to find out whether you are a stuffer. And by the way, don't feel real bad. Like if some of you are like okay, I'm glad. I know I'm a spewer. As we go through this, some of you are going to go oh my gosh, I'm a stuffer and a spewer.

Chip Ingram (39:42):
It just means you're multitalented. Are you ready? Question number one, yes or no, I am very image conscious. I don't like to let others know when I have problems. Two, even when I'm very flustered, I portray myself publicly as in general having it pretty much together. Number three, I'm rather reserved about sharing my problems and my frustrations. Number four, if a family member or friend upsets me, I can let days pass without even mentioning it. Number five, I have a tendency to be depressed and moody. Number six, resentful thinking is common for me although many people would never suspect it. Number seven, I've suffered with physical complaints, for example, headaches, stomach ailments, sleep irregularity, etc. Number eight, there are times when I wonder if my opinion or preferences are really valid. Stuffers over time feel like well, what I say doesn't matter. No one really cares about what I say. Number nine, sometimes I feel paralyzed when confronted by an unwanted situation. And number 10, I feel guilty a lot about little things especially if someone else is upset with me. So are you a stuffer? Yes, no or maybe.

Chip Ingram (40:59):
Last one and this is the one that I know the most about because since it was not safe to spew in front of my father, I learned to be a leaker. Here's what a leaker is. There's indirect leakers and direct leakers. A direct leaker is when they're mad, they'll kind of leak it at you. Indirect leakers, they're hurt and they're mad. So we go and we leak on other people. We just have to get it out. The message is showing anger is bad. You can be angry but you just can't show it. Angry? Not me. Well, maybe just a little. That's sort of how we operate. Why are they afraid to be angry? As I walked through these, notice it's the exact same reason as stuffers. Exact same reason. They just, we just express it differently. So we think it's bad to be angry. We fear God's wrath. There's a loss of control. There's a fear of rejection. We feel guilty. We had scary experiences when we got angry and said boy, I'm not going to go there. We sense there might be retaliation or punishment or consequences if people see that we're mad.

Chip Ingram (42:05):
How do leakers leak their anger? By not following through with commitments or promises, by not letting their yes be yes and their no be no, by making excuses, procrastinating, by knowingly going at a pace different and annoying to others. We've all, even here. I've been here, right? You're on the freeway and you're driving somewhere and you're going the speed limit or maybe three or four or five miles over. And there's this car that you see it coming. And I mean they don't just come up. I mean, and you know, then you look in your mirror and all you see is their grill, right? And you know, and there's a semi on the right. And you're here on the left. And I mean they're just like inches from you. Well, some people would use an expression with one of their fingers which would probably cause some retaliation. I'm not one of those kinds of people. But I have been known to look in the rear view mirror and think oh, he's really in a hurry and he's very impolite and she's up on my bumper. You know, I'm going 67. I wonder what 57 feels like. And no eye contact whatsoever. Don't look in the mirror. And then, you know, you glance up. Okay. Let's go with 50, right? What am I doing? I'm paying them back. I'm leaking my anger. They become critical and negative, become isolated.

Chip Ingram (43:33):
Here's what leakers need. They need to accept that anger is okay and normal. They need to acknowledge their fears and seek to minimize the influence. They need to communicate their anger effectively which we're all going to learn to do next week. To become more assertive with their needs and wants and to become clear about what they will do and what they won't do. It's almost the same thing. So are you ready? Here's the 10 characteristics of leakers. Number one, when I'm frustrated, I become silent knowing it bothers other people. Number two, I'm prone to sulk and pout. Number three, when I don't want to do a project, I procrastinate. I can be lazy. When someone asks me if I'm frustrated, I will lie and say no, everything's fine. Number five, there are times when I'm deliberately evasive so others won't bother me. Number six, I sometimes approach work projects half-heartedly. That's how you get back at a supervisor or a boss you don't like. Number seven, when someone talks to me about my problems, I stare straight ahead, deliberately obstinate. Has anyone had one of your kids do that? I mean you are really okay. We've got to talk about this. I mean this is a serious issue. And they're sitting.

Chip Ingram (44:45):
It's called passive aggressive. I'm not even letting you in, Mom or Dad. Number eight, I'm often sarcastic and hide my true hurts behind jokes. I withdraw affection and become sexually frigid when I'm hurt. I forget to do things for people who have wounded me. Yes, no or maybe. Here's what I want you to know. All we wanted to do is to learn anger is something we all deal with. We wanted to know that anger can be very positive. It can be very negative. We wanted to learn that basically we express it by spewing, by stuffing or leaking and I would say even situationally. We may not spew at work unless you're the boss. We may spew at home. And depending on the relationship, we may do some of all of these. But there's probably a primary way. And then what we learned is that there's a way to understand that you're angry and there's some tools to express your anger in ways where you attack issues instead of people and cause relationships to come together and get healthy instead of dysfunctional. And that's the journey that we're on. Here's your assignment. Okay? At the end of session one, there's a little section that says talk about it. I don't care if it's just unit roommate, you and your husband and wife, you and your family, just at least one meal, sit around and go through those questions.

Chip Ingram (46:20):
Get these things out in the open. If you wanted to do a quick small group, you could do that. And then do session two. And then we'll come back together and we'll being able to get on the solution side. Let me pray for you. Father, thank you. God, I thank you that anger isn't wrong. I thank you, Lord Jesus for being so angry at death and sin and the enemy that you came and you sacrificed your life upon the cross for me and for all the world. And you suffered greatly, certainly out of great love for us, but also out of anger at what had happened to the beautiful creation that you made. Will you help my brothers and sisters begin to overcome the emotions that are destroying the things in their heart, their relationships, their work, their children, and their friends? In Jesus' name. Amen.

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