G4 Emotions

Resources from Brad Hambrick


Overcoming Anger - Step 4

This material is not another trip around the “try harder” merry-go-round!It is at Step 4 that you begin to experience the difference. Hopefully, you have a more complete understanding of your struggle with anger than you’ve ever had before. You probably have more ongoing Christian support than you’ve had in previous attempts to control your anger. But understanding, the absence of blame-shifting, community, and direction are not the source of change. God is.Change doesn’t involve white knuckles; it requires the empty hands and bent knees of humble repentance.In order to see the relevance of repentance you must see your sinful anger the way that Bible does – as an offense primarily against God. We don’t view most sins this way. We see that we hurt other people with our sin and assume that God is disappointed in us for failing to love our neighbor (i.e., wife, kids, co-workers, etc…). But we do not think we have sinned against God.Until we see this reality we will not realize that we have voluntarily unplugged from our source of love, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). Further, we will try to produce these qualities in our own strength and character not realizing how futile and silly those efforts really are (John 15:4-17). We become like the person flipping switches in their breaker box during a power outage. The solution makes sense but there is still no power even when we have taken all the right steps.

Overcoming Anger - Step 3

It is unfortunate that this step will likely not be as satisfying as we would like. We often fall into the trap of thinking that if we understand the “why” better, then the “what” will be easy, or at least easier. There are at least two realities that disrupt this seemingly sound logic.First, sin is not rational, so it refuses to play by our rules of logic. Sin is not a simple behavior that plays by single-variable motivations. Rather sin is a condition and a predator. Sin has its roots in our fallen human nature. Sin is aided and abetted by an enemy who desires our destruction (I Peter 5:8). This means that sin both has the home field advantage and is willing to cheat to win. This is why simple, temporary measures will never be sufficient.Second, our goal must be effectiveness-at-change rather than ease-of-change or our best intentions will lead us back into destructive anger. Satan is always willing to wait for a more opportune time (Luke 4:13) if its interests are not best served in a given moment. The moments when we let our guard down are the times when our intelligent adversary will strike. Anything that undermines our vigilance is an asset to our adversary.But these realities do not make an examination of the history and motives of our anger fruitless. It just means that what we intuitively want from this examination is overly optimistic. What we can gain is a better understanding of (a) what motives drive our anger, (b) the context in which those desires became excessively dominant, and (c) how those desires began to take on a god-like function in our lives.The more honestly and accurately we are able to make these assessments in real time, the more effectively we will be at relying on God and reaching out to our support network for help. The more “foreign” or “crazy” our motives feel to us, the less likely we are to tell others what is going on. The more these things make sense to us, even if we disagree with the values behind the motives, the more willing we will be to ask for help.