“People who need the most love will often ask for it in the most unloving ways.”
Managing and mediating destructive anger is a challenge in pastoral ministry. Internalizing, reciprocating, or avoiding the destructive tendencies of others can be a common and comfortable response. The below four tools, preparation, practice, play, and perseverance, can help ministers and congregational care teams respond to destructive anger with compassion:
1. Prepare your heart and mind before interacting with a destructively angry person.
2. Practice the art of compassion for those around you.
3. Play and pretend to help understand and overcome real-life obstacles.
A member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Joseph Kim Paxton is an ICTG Advisor while pursuing doctoral degrees in Practical Theology at the Claremont School of Theology and Clinical Psychology at Pepperdine University. His current research areas include clinical-community psychology, pastoral care, social scientific approaches to biblical interpretation, group processes, spiritual struggle, coping, and attitudes.
Exploring the changing landscape of long-term community and congregational care.