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.
For instance, we delegate a responsibility to a team member and they fail to follow through on it. If the failure has minimal consequences, we might become frustrated with them. But if their lack of performance has major impact on the team or the mission, that frustration now moves up a notch and becomes anger. Blocked goals often lead to frustration and anger.
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).
Jesus was really, really mad at The Twelve for preventing the little children from coming to Him. It was one of those ‘face turns to purple’ type anger moments. Yet He became indignant without sinning! He was perfect, sinless, mature, yet He still was indignant at the actions of the disciples.
It’s not the emotions that cause us problems. It’s what we do with them that can cause us to sin. Check your anger levels. Are you frustrated, angry, or indignant? More importantly, how are you expressing these to those on your leadership team and those close to you?