I’ve worked part-time as a minister for over ten years, and before that, I was (and still am) a pastor’s son. In my experience–limited thought it might be–I’ve met some angry Christians.
Some are angry over something that has happened. This is understandable. Anyone and everyone can become angry and being angry is not a sin. However, there are others who become angry so easily and so often that it seems as if there is never a break in their rage.
Think Hulk in his Sunday best.
These Christians are troubling because such behavior is clearly out of line with the character of Christ whom we are called and empowered to emulate. One wants to point this out to them, but then, one ends up only fueling their anger.
How do pastors deal with angry Christians? How do shepherds care for the angry sheep?
Prayer, springs to mind. For them to see themselves in light of Christ’s example. For ourselves to see them in light of Christ’s sacrifice on their behalf and to see our sin clearly, so that it can be dealt with before we make hypocrites out of ourselves.
How about also providing them with space? Sometimes, personalty conflicts and relational tension can exacerbate the situation. The best thing to do in this situation is to let them (and you) cool off.
But then what? Then, have patience and courage. Communicate concerns and expectations openly and clearly, but be patient. Just because you’re in the right, just because you’ve given them space, just because you’ve prayed, doesn’t mean that they will respond properly.
Too often we assume that character change should occur overnight, but that’s not how the Spirit works. Goats don’t become sheep instantaneously, and some sheep might still be clinging on to some of their goat-like character traits. Let’s just thank God that He took away their horns!
In the end, regardless of their behavior, we have to love the angry sheep. We have to love the ones who aren’t loving, for that’s who Jesus loved when He loved us.