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Pastor's Message - July/August 2024

~The Problem of Anger ~

“Be angry without sinning; do not let the sun set on your anger.”

~Ephesians 4:26

Dear Members and Friends,

Wrath, fury, rage, ire…there are many words for anger, each with a slightly different meaning. That’s fitting, I suppose, since there’s more than one variety of anger on the market. There’s righteous indignation and there’s vengeful outrage. Anger can come in the form of silent resentment or violent retribution. (Ever notice how negative things tend to get more words than positive ones? The verb “love” has maybe two synonyms, whereas “hate” has about a dozen: loathe, detest, despise, abhor, revile, abominate, execrate, disdain…)

It seems that everyone has something to be angry about. Some are the victims of injustice, others belong to groups that have been systematically disadvantaged. Many have been hurt, or neglected, or abused by people who should have loved them. Some are angry because they’re poor, and they know who to blame. Others are angry because they’re rich, and they think their advantages are threatened. Nothing makes us angrier than feeling powerless. Many people are angry because someone influential incites their anger for personal gain. I spoke to a guy like that recently—white guy, father of four, mid-40s. He’s a good-natured, quiet man who works the night shift at a factory. I know him well. He’s kind with a subtle sense of humor. His Pentecostal faith is a major part of his life. When our conversation turned to the so-called “culture wars,” I saw a side of him that I didn’t know existed. Anger. He was enraged. His voice trembling with fury, he explained to me why a single politician is to blame for everything from Ukraine to the poverty that’s always nipping at his heels. He feels no anger for his ungodly rich employer, who works him like an Amish draft horse through the wee hours of the night, paying a mere pittance with precious few benefits. (The CDC lists the night shift as a carcinogen.) The anger people are feeling is often misguided, but intense and so very close to the surface.

What do we do when faced with such anger? How do we handle the anger that chokes our joy? Anger finds a place in the body, and it makes us sick in more ways than one. I think the fellow I just mentioned actually felt a little better after telling me about his anger—even though I offered him no advice, and I certainly knew better than to reason with him. Here are a few tips for dealing with anger: 1) Find someone nonjudgmental to listen to you rant. 2) Consider the ways your perspective might be exaggerated or even wrong. 3) Think about the things you tell yourself; are they making you angrier than you need to be? 4) Look to music and poetry. 5) Think up an encouraging mantra to repeat to yourself. 6) Pray. There’s no better cure for anger than opening your heart to God.

A very happy summer to you!

Christ’s Peace,




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