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Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Value of Anger

From 1984 through 1987 I had the privilege to be exposed to Larry Crabb and Dan Allender in a number of Institutes in Biblical Counseling and a week at Grace Seminary for a Supervision Seminar.  Subsequent to that I spent a number of months in counseling with one of Larry and Dan’s first interns.  While we were at Dallas Seminary my wife spent a year in counseling with a graduate of their institute.  I have read a lot of Crabb and Allender’s books as well.
What does frustration and anger tell us about ourselves?  Thoughts at DTTB.
One of the main takeaways from that exposure is the “value” of anger.  They suggested that anger is a result of continual frustration.  Working back from that, the suggestion was that we get frustrated when we have a goal that is blocked.  The simple illustration is when someone is in front of you in the coffee line at church and is taking their own sweet time to get and fix their coffee while blocking all other access to that which you need to keep your blood flowing during the Sunday school session.  It is frustrating.  When a goal is continually blocked the suggestion is that frustration becomes anger.

I have tested this in my life.  It rings true.

Then they drop the other shoe.

Larry states unequivocally that a goal that is Godly, Christ like, and, or Biblical cannot be blocked.  So, if that is true, then frustration and anger are – well, he calls them idiot lights.  They indicate that we are pursuing a goal that is not Godly, Christ like, or Biblical.  It was precisely at that point in the seminar that Larry moved from really good instruction to insufferable meddling.

Problem is I have tested that as well.  Unfortunately it seems to ring true.  I am still hoping I can find an exception.

It is in my most important relationships that this plays out.  Do I want someone to respond to me in a certain way or is my goal to engage with them in a way that would honor Christ.  Getting my way in their response is definitely a blockable goal.  My responding to them, engaging with them in a manner that honors Christ regardless of their response is not blockable.

It just requires death.  It requires a ruthless application of Philippians 2:3 – 9.

So my assignment when I am frustrated and, or angry, is to ask what is it that I am trying to do that is being blocked.  Then to ask the Lord what I can do to change my goal to one that is unblockable.  Lastly, I have to actually change the goal.

I do not always succeed.

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