My wife and I have been studying a series from Paul Tripp entitled ‘How to be Good and Angry.’ It’s really good. Of course, we have attended a marriage seminar from Paul Tripp which we think is the best marriage event we’ve been to and we like his preaching, so we’re bias (check out www.paultripp.com) and join our bias.
Part of the discussion stems from quotes like these:
“Worship is first an identity before it’s an activity”
“Our needs and expectations are directly related”
So, let’s take this last quote and expand it a bit. Tripp speaks of the progression from a good desire to a punishing idol and the whole process practically makes sense. The spiral looks like this:
“I want _____. At this point, it’s a desire
I must have ___. At this point, it’s escalated in to a demand.
When our demands go unmet….
I will have ____. We begin to think that unmet demands are needs. I desire time to rest turns to I demand people leave me alone to I NEED quiet in this house.
You should _____. And when no one seems to care about our needs or does exactly what we tell them, we begin to place unrealistic expectations that will manipulate the situation to meet our needs. In marriage it may go like this: I need to feel happy, you should be the one that makes me happy, therefore I expect you to meet all my needs and make me happy. When, in reality, happiness comes from the inside out.
And if our expectations are unmet, then we are disappointed with people and we go down this path.
“You did not do ______________”
Therefore, I will ______________ to you as punishment or retribution for not meeting my expectations or jumping up to my beckon call for my needs.”
Does any of this resonate with you? Do you have any desires that start out good (I desire to be in a healthy work environment or secure job), but your anger or impatience turns this good desire in to dashed expectations and the punishment of those around you?
OR try answering this question: Where do you tend to get irritated or frustrated? Do you see any patterns? And how do you punish people when you don’t get your way? Do you blow up, withdraw, gossip, write people off?
I also found this to be important for leadership. How we become angry is no small thing. Think about it. Good anger fights injustice, bad anger violates people and promotes injustice. This is worth reflection.
A Few More Great Quotes and Notes About the Study
One of the Best ‘Anger’ Songs Ever–Bob Dylan’s ‘ “Positively 4th Street”–an interesting reflection on the subject