7 Things to Do When You’re Mad at A Church Member

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It happens. Church members get angry with each other. When we do, though, here are some steps to address the situation:

  1. Pray before you act. Prayer has a way of softening our heart, and it requires us to focus our attention toward God and away from our issues. Further, just taking the time to pray grants us time to think before we act.
  2. Ask God to show you if you’ve been wrong anywhere in the situation. You may not have been, but it’s always good to ask the Lord. Most of us have a hard time reading our own hearts or admitting our own wrongs, but none of us is without fault.
  3. Check your facts. Sometimes we get mad at people because of what we’ve heard and think we know, but we react before we know the whole situation. I can certainly (and regretfully) remember times when I’ve spoken without sufficient knowledge.
  4. Consider the reality that the person may be dealing with stuff you don’t know about. It could be that he or she is facing unspoken trouble that’s deep and carrying burdens that are weighty. His or her negative encounter with you may be the overflow of some other heavy pain.
  5. Beware of the idolatry of bitterness. When we hold on to our anger and refuse to give it up, we make that anger an idol. We give that emotion power over us and then find ourselves caught in sin’s net, too. Don’t give the devil that foothold.
  6. Confront the person as needed, but do it in love. A primary goal of Christian confrontation ought to be repentance and reconciliation. That process often takes a while, and it might require others to get involved—but it shows the power of the gospel when it’s successful.
  7. Pray with the other person. If the other person’s open to this step, God often just does something when two people bow their heads and seek His face.

What other steps have helped you?

Editor’s note: This post was originally published at

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MDiv Preaching and Pastoral Ministry

The Preaching and Pastoral Ministry track prepares students for pastoral ministry in the local church with a special emphasis on expository preaching.

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Chuck Lawless

Director of the Center for Preaching and Pastoral Leadership

Dr. Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions, Dean of Doctoral Studies, and Vice-President for Spiritual Formation and Ministry Centers at Southeastern Seminary, in addition to serving as Team Leader for Theological Education Strategists for the International Mission Board. He previously served as a Vice-President for Global Theological Advance for the IMB. Prior to that, he was dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism at Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY, where he also served as Vice President for Academic Programming and the Director of Professional Doctoral Studies. He received a B.S. degree from Cumberland College and M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees from Southern Seminary. He is the author of eight works, including “Membership Matters,” and “Spiritual Warfare,” and has contributed numerous articles to denominational periodicals. He and his wife Pam have been married for over 25 years and reside here in Wake Forest, NC.

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