Holy Frustration

Holy Frustration
March 25, 2011 Neil Kennedy

The following article by Neil Kennedy appears in the next issue of Men’s Ministry: The Mag.

You could almost hear the ticking, the countdown before the eruption of uncontrollable outrage. John attempted to suppress it but it just kept building and growing until the sweat on his forehead, the clenched jaw, and his narrowing eyes foretold the upcoming explosion.

John’s anger had caused damage to personal possessions, started fights with strangers, and broken relationships with loved ones. Society, with all of its checks and balances, began to resist his reputation of rage. Family members began to isolate themselves from his temper tantrums. His sudden outbursts had caused so much pain they simply didn’t want to have anything to do with him.

John’s coworkers no longer made excuses for his outbursts. His tenure on jobs became more and more short term. Once he was considered a high producer, but now his increasingly volatile temper was causing his productivity to plummet. He even began to blame potential customers for his inability to make the sale on their “ignorance.”

John’s face began to reflect his anger. His eyes had yellowed. His mouth turned in a constant frown. His brow wrinkled with forceful intensity. He was no longer a young man fighting for a better future; he was an embittered, old man frustrated with his life.

Anger is usually caused by unmet expectations. You see it commonly displayed in the checkout line of the local grocery store. Children burst out in childish rage, hoping to get the attention of their distracted parents. They want something, and they want it now.

Unfortunately, a lot of men never grow out of the tactic of clenched fists and stomping feet. As adults, their intimidation no longer works, and their anger boils.

“In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:26-27 NIV

Do not allow the day to pass without ridding yourself of anger.

Going to sleep while angry can cause delusions. Our nemesis will use anger to get a foothold on us through unchecked emotion. Anger digs deep into the soul of a man. It can draw out buried emotion from years past in an instant. It is very important that we distinguish the different types of anger, and extinguish the harmful emotions it brings.


  • RAGE is an anger that causes us to flurry about with over-expressed gestures, clenched jaws, and boisterous words, even calling down curses. This kind of anger typically comes from frustrated expectations. Expressing rage causes people around us to stare in disbelief, confusion or embarrassment.
  • FURY is a stronger type of rage. This destructive form of rage often leads to a depraved mind and delusional violence. Fury is motivated by evil. Fury often results in physical harm to others, sometimes even in murder.
  • INDIGNATION is a righteous anger caused by witnessing or experiencing injustice, shame, or evil done to innocence. It is the correct use of the emotion of anger. Indignation motivates us to protect and risk our lives for the cause of others.
  • WRATH is the godliest form of anger. It is an anger that responds to evil with pure judgment. Wrath is what causes men to correct a wrong and to rid the earth of evil.

Some men have been taught to sequester their anger, to be stoic in their emotions; yet anger does have a role to play in our lives, if our motivations are pure and our response is disciplined.

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. James 1:19-20 NIV

Many of our problems with anger arise from a lack of communication. We fail to listen and then fail to express what is causing this pent up frustration. Our inability to communicate becomes a weakness to express our emotions.

Paul explains this “frustration” in Romans 8 when he talks about the frustration of birth pains that the earth is suffering. Out of its inability to communicate the earth quakes, trembles and suffers violence. It is awaiting its redemption from decay, longing for the “sons of God” to be revealed.

In the same way, we ourselves groan inwardly when we see the world with its “unmet expectations.” Frustration builds, and our weakness is revealed. We do not know what to say or how to respond.

Paul says, “The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” This is a holy frustration. It is a frustration that causes us to pray for God’s purpose to be revealed upon the earth.

As men, we must realize that the help of the Holy Spirit can correct our lack of communication. It is only then that we can actually see the will of God work “all things for the good.”

Getting involved in the process of establishing God’s will on the earth, especially into our own lives, our families, and careers will allow us to properly direct those things that frustrate us.   We will properly manage those frustrations, actually understanding that it may just be a holy frustration, prompting us to pray.

So, the next time that you find yourself building up anger, ask the Holy Spirit to help you in your weakness to pray to the perfect will of God so that His purpose can be fulfilled upon the earth.



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