Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Indignation — Now I’m REALLY Ticked Off!

Emotions – they’re morally neutral–not good bad, or purple.  All of us have them and some of us are better at recognizing and expressing them in a healthy way.  When it comes to what we would perceive as those emotions that are considered “negative” emotions, it’s what we do with them that matters.

Anger is one such emotion that is often seen as a negative emotion.  We mistakenly believe that if I am more mature or more spiritual that I’ll somehow be freed from this feeling of anger.  Just becoming a little “ticked off” as someone or something raises the blood pressure and we can feel “frustrated.”  It’s anger but at a somewhat lesser degree.

But if the person has broken a trust, betrayed a confidence placed in them, or their failure leads to major negative impact, we can move beyond frustration or anger and move to indignation.  The root English word is the same we use for the color indigo – a purple, reddish color.  Have you ever been so angry that you turn purple-red and feel like you are ready to explode?  That’s indignation!

In Mark 10:13-14 (NIV) we read the following about Jesus’ emotions:  “People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them.  When Jesus saw this, he was indignant (emphasis added).  We explored this in last week’s blog.

But if we continue to read in the same chapter we find this said about the disciples in Mark 10:41 (NIV):  “When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John.”  The Zebedee boys had tried a pre-emptive strike to move ahead of the other 10 in the coming Kingdom.  We note that this was at the very end of their 3+ year training period with Jesus as future leaders.  And here we see that 2 of them wanted to jump ahead of the other 10.  Not a good way to win friends or influence people!  Well, they could claim it wasn’t really them.  Matthew’s account tells us that it was their mother who did the asking on their behalf (see Matthew 20:20 ff).

There were great emotions being expressed on Jesus’ leadership team.  He showed His indignation to The Twelve and they expressed their indignation with one other.  Yet with all of this the leadership team held together.  There was no fracture or lasting division.

Good teams can share strong feelings with each other and still work together well.  This comes from a foundation of trust and confidence that we are all working together towards the same ends.  Our team goals are not preempted by our personal goals.

So, is it safe to share how your really feel on your team?  Are strong emotions being expressed in appropriate ways without sin?  Can we be “gut-level honest” or are there areas that are just too sensitive to share how I really feel?

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