NOTE: In the new book I’m writing for pastors, I’m going to include an “alphabetized reference section” with “one page” summaries on about 75 subjects that every man needs to know. Two purposes: First, to show pastors what men uniquely need to know. Second, to give pastors a “masculine perspective” as they prepare sermons or lessons on different subjects. Here is one of those “one pagers.” Would you do me a favor? Let me know if you think it’s a good or bad idea, and any subjects you want to make sure I include! Thanks.
Teach your men about anger. Anger is a gender issue. As many as 3,000,000 women a year are physically abused by their husbands or boyfriends (2% per year). Of all the people incarcerated, 93% are male. Men commit suicide 300% more often than women. Depression has been described as “frozen rage.”1
Some anger is righteous and needed, but most is not. Challenge your men to figure out if they “get angry” or have “an angry spirit.” Anger is “a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a real or perceived wrong.” An angry spirit, on the other hand, is “the state of always feeling displeasure and belligerence aroused by real or perceived wrongs.”
To have an angry spirit is to be easily provoked to anger. Ecclesiastes 7:9 says, “Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.” Most men with an angry spirit have not been fathered (or mothered) well.
Personally, when teaching on anger in 2007, I felt compelled to write a letter to my adult children. In that letter I confessed that I had “an angry spirit” when they were growing up and asked their forgiveness. By God’s grace, he has healed me of an angry spirit, and my children readily extended forgiveness. Tell your men that their pride may make it hard to humble themselves and ask forgiveness. But the joy of reconciliation and wholeness is well worth it.
Help men to overcome denial of an angry spirit, to repent, to grieve what could have been (e.g., with their fathers), and to not succumb to a victim mentality. God is big enough to work it out. Help them be doers of the Word.
Yours for changed lives,
Patrick Morley, Ph.D.