When we are working through anger — it always brings up questions about forgiveness. Why? Because anger feels justified. Anger is a moral emotion.
We want remuneration. We want recognition for what we have lost or consolation for how we have been hurt. We are right and someone has wronged us. Sometimes there is nothing anyone can say that will remove the pain we feel or comfort the wounds we have endured.
When we work through anger — we move through many phases. We try to identify the wrong or what really happened to us. Then, as we recognize the wrong and the person(s) involved we want to be paid back or maybe even want revenge. We want the offender to feel the pain they inflicted on us. Sometimes, we can experience a sort of reconciliation after he/she apologizes or tries to compensate us. But, often there is no way to remove the inner turmoil we are experiencing. And often others don’t apologize or their apology doesn’t seem sincere.
What to do? Forgiveness is a process. its important to recognize that it will take time to work through the pain and the problem and sort through any misconceptions we may have as well.
Just like grief— we all need to work through what has happened, understand what can be done and what cannot be undone, think through how we can adapt and then, how we can move forward. Just like grief, we need to experience the emotional upheaval and allow the executive part of our brain time to think through the issues, options and problem-solve.
During this process —you can pray. You can read Psalms and ask God for his wisdom, hope and help. Write out your thoughts and feelings. Write out what your life is going to look like when you no longer are trapped by resentment. Write out how you can let the anger and resentment go. What does that look like? What will it mean in your relationship with that person? Feel the fresh air of forgiveness pour over you. Put your anger and resentment at the foot of the cross where Christ died for the sins of the whole world. Leave it there. Walk away. Jesus said when he was hanging on the cross, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) He knew the evil that was in men’s hearts and yet he forgave them for crucifying him. We can ask him for the power to forgive.
These articles and podcasts and resources are here to help you move through the pain of resentment and unforgiveness towards the light of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the path to recover and heal from the wounds of anger and resentment. Take heart. Forgiveness is possible! Forgiveness takes time. And it doesn’t mean you are going to let someone abuse you or walk all over you. You can set boundaries. You can decide to forgive. You can start your journey here: The Power of Forgiveness and then, read these articles and podcasts geared to help you take the path of forgiveness!
When we talk about anger, I always remember a few situations, and wonder – did I do wrong or good? In every situation, I am trying to stay calm and after that what happens with the anger? I think it is somewhere deep in side of me, and there must be some valve for all my anger. How will that impact my life?
Dear Friend, Maybe you are really asking: Has my anger and response to provoking situations been helpful? What happens to the anger when I don’t express it? How does it affect my life?
Pent-up Anger: It sounds like you try to remain calm which is helpful in containing conflict and angry outbursts – but, your anger remains hidden. Hidden anger can grow and result in bitterness and depression or eventually there may be an outburst of anger over something small because you have been holding it in.
Is it good to keep your anger unexpressed? I don’t believe so.
Anger Expressed: I think anger is meant to be expressed in healthy ways through assertive communication and problem-solving. If you can’t talk with the person directly who you are angry with – then, it is helpful to express your anger to a confidante or counselor. You can explore ways to express it directly or decide to let it go.
Ultimately, when you don’t express anger – you will be affected by it. Anger is an emotion which results from feelings of fear, frustration, hurt and loss of control. The emotional valve within will explode when these feelings are not dealt with. You need to make changes so you can deal with your emotions and the issues. Working through anger using healthy coping skills will bring a sense of peace and confidence to your life.
It seems that anger has gotten a bad rap in the Christian community. Most Christians have difficulty expressing anger and frustration without feeling guilty and preachers connote anger with sin. We know that anger was expressed in the Bible by godly men such as Nehemiah (in Neh. 5:6-7}when he felt very angry over the injustices occurring at the time to his countrymen. He takes on the problem in a very confrontive manner. Paul angrily confronts Peter in Galatians accusing him of “not keeping in line with gospel” (Gal. 2:11**read below). In John 2:12-17 Jesus reacts in anger towards those who are selling goods in His Father’s house – by throwing over the tables and using a whip to chase out animals.
So, why is it that good and righteous anger is not acceptable amongst Christians when there are numerous examples of God and his people becoming angry in the Bible? Maybe it’s because as Christians we are prone to sin and it’s hard to decifer whether anger is appropriate or inappropriate.
Paul writes in Ephesians 4:26, “Be angry, but, don’t sin… don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” There are some principles we can glean from this and other verses for “being good and angry“.
1. Be angry. This verse says that there is a place for anger in the life of a Christian. Obviously, that anger must be under God’s control in order for it to be “good” or “righteous” anger. Rom. 1:17 says, “the righteous shall walk by faith”. Therefore, we can conclude that any display of anger that emanates from our sinful nature and is not faith controlled will be expressed wrongly.
2. Don’t sin. What does sinful anger look like? Fits of rage. Yelling and outbursts. Slanderous remarks. Demeaning, disrespectful put-downs. Verbal abuse. Character assassinations. Threatening or harrassing behavior. Anytime you harm someone or destroy their property, etc., etc., etc.
Here’s what anger without sin should look like: respectful, courteous, caring, forthright, open, honest, tactful, compassionate, safe, non-threatening, empathic, etc.
3. Don’t pout and ruminate on your anger: Resentment will build and anger will escalate when we continue to give anger room to grow in our lives. The Bible says, “forgive as the Lord has forgiven you.” (Col. 3:13) There are no qualifications or “ifs” about forgiveness. We have to forgive our enemies. We are told to forgive anyone who has offended us. It’s hard. It’s not easy to forgive and it doesn’t mean we allow people to continue to abuse or manipulate us. But, we can’t hold on to anger. Anger will keep us from moving forward, ruin our lives and relationships.So, how can you feel ok about anger and not feel guilty after getting angry? Sometimes, it’s false guilt. Other times, the guilt is a good measure of anger mismanagement and over-reaction to anger. How can you determine whether your guilt is true or false?
Here is a questionnaire you could complete after any incidents in which you felt angry:
1. Describe the situation which occurred.What was the issue?
2. How did I respond?
Did I talk harshly___, loudly___, disrespectfully___, critically___, in a threatening___ or judgmental way___?Did I make character assassinations?___
3. Was my response measured,___ respectful___, tactful___, honest___? Did I keep to the issue described in question one? ___
I paraphrased what was said to me___
I demonstrated empathy (put myself in the other person’s shoes)___
I stated my feelings in a calm manner along with the facts___
4. What could I have done differently?How could I have responded in a healthier manner?
Used more tact___
Been more respectful___
Kept the tone of my voice down___
Summarized what was said to me___
Showed more empathy___
Stated my feelings firmly but calmly___
Measuring whether your guilt is true or false: In order to determine whether you did something right or wrong – score your questionnaire this way:
1. If you checked anything in question 2 or 4 – your guilt is probably right-on. You most likely should apologize.2. If you didn’t check anything in question 2 or 4 but, checked many of the items in question 3 – your guilt is most likely false. Ultimately, for the Christian – God is the real judge of whether your guilt is true or false. Pray about the situation and ask the Lord to convict you if you have offended someone and should apologize.If you haven’t done anything wrong and your conscience is clear – don’t apologize but, stay humble. Take responsibility for your actions and let the other person take responsibility for theirs. If the other person says you were harsh or loud – you can apologize that your behavior offended them and that you didn’t mean to offend them.
Learn some anger management skills to help you cope with these situations.
Listen to the podcast:
Is Anger Always Sinful? Most religious people believe anger is wrong. Many don’t act on their anger when injustice is taking place. Learn what it means to ‘be angry and not sin’. Click to listen
And anther helpful podcast: Talk-Out Your Anger! “Most people tend to hold anger in or explode. Some use manipulation. Learn some no-guilt techniques to assertively express your anger and get your needs met without squashing others.”
Question: Hi, I haven’t been mad in a long time. I got my anger in control, until last night. My spouse withheld information, I being a survivor, felt completely manipulated. Is there such a thing as blind rage. Because I remember very little after 5pm lastnight. I dont remember going to bed, nothing. I was mad when I woke up this morning, but I am scared I might of did something I should not have. I fight fair. My spouse does not. He says I am crazy, insane, my best friend lives out of state, so he tells me I have no friends, I am a loser. I have never went out of control, from anger and this scares me. Can you really black out with anger?? I guess you can? I dont do drugs or drink alcohol, so that is not in the equation. Help me please understand what happened and how I can never do that again. I am scared and alone. Blind Rage, that is all I can think. Please help me figure this out. I really need help. Anonymous Answer: “Blind Rage”… hummm… good way to describe the gut, physiological response produced by the emotional center of the brain (amygdala) when it is not kept in check by the frontal cortex of the brain. Hate to be so clinical – but, I think that’s the result when you respond to anger triggers without any intervention by the thinking/judgment part of the brain.
Yes. The response could also have to do with a “throw-back” to the past when you were abused and mistreated. All those memories and feelings return with full-force. But, since he is verbal abuser – your feelings of helplessness and shame from the put-downs came to the surface.These are just some random thoughts. More importantly, blind rage can be controlled. And you need to talk and work more with your psychologist about this so it doesn’t happen again. Listen to the Road Rage Tirade!and Road Rage Remedy podcasts to gain more insight into how to retrain your brain for better control over anger! Read the blog post on Controlling Anger and Rage for more help.
By the way – you need to protect yourself from your husband’s verbal abuse. Verbal abuse on this scale will generally escalate into physical or sexual abuse. Verbal abuse will cause you much psychological and emotional trauma.
Listen to the most recent Quick Tips for Managing Anger Podcast – Say No to Angry Clashes:
Do you have problems with relationship conflicts? Do you often find yourself clamming up or fuming because people who disagree with you are disagreeable?
Learn how to be assertively tactful yet direct about your needs and viewpoints. These skills will help you effectively work through conflict and manage your anger in relationships! Click to listen
Dear Counselor: I cannot understand why God allows tragedies such as school shootings, abuse of children, wars, and disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, earthquakes and more. If God is so good, why does/did He allow good people and Christians to suffer and be killed. These seem to be senseless tragedies and it has shaken my faith…
Answer: Dear Friend, Please consider the wisdom of this article. May it help your faith and comfort your heart.
The dilemma of evil and suffering. We are gripped with the age-old question of why there is so much suffering and evil in the world today like terrorism, wars, child abuse, murders and disasters. Many of these horrific events are caused by evil people. These examples of destructive deeds, events and senseless actions cause us to feel anger, sadness and deep pain. There are no pat answers which can sufficiently explain these evil and horrific events. In the Bible we read about many kinds of calamities and evil perpetrated by men against other men.
The Lord recognizes and hates the evil in men: Gen 6:5 “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” (NIV) Judg 3:7 “The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD; they forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs.” (NIV)
There were many evil Kings in the Bible. Manasseh was one of them: 2 Chr 33:6 “He sacrificed his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger”. (NIV)
David wrote about the evil deeds of men: Ps 38:20 “Those who repay my good with evil slander me when I pursue what is good”. (NIV) Ps 71:4 “Deliver me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of evil and cruel men.+ (NIV)
Sorting through the dilemma. In Answers to Tough Questions Skeptics Ask about the Christian Faith by Josh McDowell and Don Stewart we read an insightful answer to the dilemma of evil & suffering in the world: “Sometimes the problem of evil is put to the Christian in the form of a complex question, “If God is good, then He must not be powerful enough to deal with all the evil and injustice in the world since it is still going on. If He is powerful enough to stop wrongdoing, then He Himself must be an evil God since He’s not doing anything about it even though He has the capability. So which is it? Is He a bad God or a God that’s not all powerful?” Though many writers in the Bible complained about suffering and evil….the Scriptures make it plain that God did not create the world in the state in which it is now, but evil came as a result of the selfishness of man. The Bible says that God is a God of love and He desired to create people in his image and eventually a race that would love Him. But genuine love cannot exist unless freely given through free choice and will and thus man was given the choice to accept God’s love or to reject it. The choice made the possibility of evil become very real. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they did not choose something God created, but, by their choice, they brought evil into the world. God is neither evil nor did He create evil. Man brought evil upon himself by selfishly choosing his own way apart from God’s way.”
So blaming God for suffering and evil in the world is like saying “You shouldn’t have given us a choice Lord. You should have made us love you and forced us to obey you.” But that would not have been real love. Real love is a choice. Would you want to force someone to love you? When you walk(ed) down the aisle, and say (said) “I do”, what would it feel like if you were told you had no choice but to love the person and marry him/her or else? God has been very fair and righteous to give us a choice about loving Him. We, unfortunately, made the decision to go our own way rebelling against God. So now we have to live with the consequences of choosing our independence and sin instead of Him. Our rebellion and broken relationship with God has brought a tremendous amount of evil and suffering in the world.
Still we wonder how this type of senseless evil could occur. And why do God’s innocent children suffer? Why does He not intervene? Somehow we are struck again with the realization that life is not fair, that life is short and that at any time we could be thrust into eternity. How can we deal with the uncertainty and unfairness of life and deal with the anger we feel? How can we help others to deal with this? C.S. Lewis’ books The Problem of Pain and Mere Christianity have had a profound impact on many lives helping people understand the cause of evil and suffering and why God allows it. Lewis estimates that 4/5 of human suffering is caused by human beings being wicked to one another. In The Problem of Pain, Lewis wrote: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” “The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and pose an obstacle to our return to God… Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.” C.S. Lewis
Lewis teaches us that we must remember- this world is not our home, we are just passing through. There is another world we are going to. And Christians are not exempt from suffering in this world. But if you are unsure about your standing with God then it is of crucial importance to make certain you know where you are headed for eternity. Jesus talked about hell more than heaven. He said some very profound things about both which need to be taken seriously. Jesus said in John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” John 11:25-26 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”” (NIV)
Jesus is not just some great teacher. For him to claim to be God, the provider of eternal life, the Savior and Lord over all… he must either be who he said he is — the Lord or he must be a liar or lunatic.
In light of these traumas and evils how shall we live? Let us be certain about our destiny by trusting solely in Christ for our salvation, not in works or anything else. St. Paul writes in Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith– and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast.” (NIV)
Let us live fervently for Christ ready to be martyred for our faith and to fill up His sufferings bringing glory to God. Let us find comfort in Christ when these things occur. For Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, & you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matt 11:28-30 (NIV)
Let us trust that God has a plan and purpose for us when suffering and evil abound in the world and personally touch us. Let us abide in Christ to know His power and strength for living in everything we experience for Paul writes in Phil 4:13 “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (NIV) Let us not be afraid to grieve the losses in life or face the uncertainties in the future. Let us be motivated to process the anger we feel and let that energy help us do the right thing when we face crisis, danger and evil. Let us leave vengeance up to God. Let us grow close to our Father in heaven to experience His presence saying with the Psalmist in Ps 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (NIV) Let us be ready to forgive as Christ has forgiven us. This does not mean we should let go of consequences towards perpetrators or trust those who continue to cause harm and abuse. Let us put our hope in heaven because this world is not our home and Jesus has said in John 14:1-6 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”” (NIV)
Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? When we place our trust in Jesus Christ asking Him for forgiveness of our sins and eternal life… He promises to give these spiritual gifts to us. That is when you will truly be able to have the supernatural power to go on with your life. And when we experience God’s forgiveness in Christ, then we are able to forgive others. Rom. 6:23 says: “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” That means that everyone of us will suffer eternal death and separation from God because of the sin in our lives (which we not only do but have inherited) unless we place our trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we receive the GIFT of eternal life. We don’t have to DO anything to receive a gift…just take it! Our sins are then totally forgiven. Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for the sins of the whole world. But we have to trust in Him.
Alternative religious views have saviors who remain in the grave. No other belief system offers everlasting life as a free gift to those who put their trust in it’s leaders. None of those leaders has overcome death. No other belief system offers assurance of forgiveness, eternal life, and adoption into the family of God.
Jesus Christ offers you salvation because He died for your sins and rose from the dead. You can call on God and trust in His Son in the same way a drowning person calls for help and relies on the rescue of a lifeguard. Romans 10:9 says: “That if you confess with your mouth,
“Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”.(NIV)
The salvation Christ offers does not depend on what we have done for Him, but on our acceptance in who He is and what He has done for us. Instead of moral and religious effort, this salvation requires a helpless admission of our sins. Instead of personal accomplishments, it requires confession of failure to meet God’s standard of holiness. Unlike all other belief systems, Christ asks us to trust solely in Him and His work on the cross and to commit our lives to Him–not to merit salvation but as an expression of gratitude, love, and confidence in the One who has saved us solely by grace (the unmerited favor of God). Eph 2:8-9 says: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith– and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast”.(NIV) Rom 6:23 says: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”(NIV)
Won’t you consider asking Christ into your life today. Just pray simply:
Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner in need of forgiveness. I turn my life over to you because I believe that You died for my sins and You are the only way to heaven and to have peace with God. You are the only One who can save and forgive me. Please cleanse me of my sins, come into my life and change me today. In Jesus’ Name I ask this. Amen In Matt 28:20 Jesus says this: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV)
I John 5:20 says: “We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true– even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.”(NIV)
If you have just placed your trust in Jesus Christ, you are now a Christian on your way to heaven and nothing can separate you from the love of Christ. You are starting a brand new life. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says it this way, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he/she is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”. Your sins have been paid for. Your slate has been wiped clean. Jesus said in John 10:10, “I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” He was saying that you will discover that your present life is more meaningful and hopeful now that you have a relationship with the God of the universe.
To grow in your new relationship with Christ, attend a solid Bible teaching church to learn more and to fellowship with God’s family. Read your Bible and pray everyday. Start by reading the gospel of John in the New Testament.
If you have prayed this prayer please email Lynette Hoy and include your name and address. You will receive the free book: An Anchor for the Soul- Help for the Present, Hope for the Future by Pastor Ray Pritchard. God bless you! Some other books I recommend are:
How can you rebuild trust when you are angry with someone? Is there any hope? What needs to happen to break the cycle of anger and distrust? Here are some insights and tips for restoring broken relationships when your spouse or significant other lets you down.
“Did you ever wonder if there is a connection between “trust and anger”? Often, the reason we feel angry is because someone has let us down, disappointed or blocked our goals, betrayed us or used and manipulated us. When you feel let down, abused, humiliated by someone close to you – you realize that you can’t trust them to be responsible or be considerate of your needs and goals. That realization causes you feel hurt and angry. Though it’s normal to feel hurt and angry – the question comes to mind: is there anyway to rebuild the trust and alleviate the anger?
Trust is a necessary but, frail factor in relationships. Have you ever noticed that when people are angry with someone – they no longer trust them – they become cynical – believing the worst of that person and harbor anger towards them.
One of my clients once asked me what it means to trust another human being. She wanted to know how she should react when a spouse or significant other is dishonest, inconsiderate or having an affair. She wondered if it is possible to rebuild trust in someone who disappoints us greatly.
What does trusting someone signify? Trust, in a practical sense, means that you place confidence in someone to be honest with you, faithful to you, keep promises, vows and confidences and not abandon you. When that person fails you in these areas – the result is hurt and anger. Here are some factors to consider about trust and it’s connection to anger….” Click to listen
Have you ever wondered what causes anger to rear it’s ugly head so quickly? In our books I have talked about how expectations, self-talk and choices trigger and amplify anger.
Anger is ultimately a physiological and a cognitive response to certain triggers. It’s different for everyone. You might be able to shrug-off some triggers such as – a co-worker not listening to you but, fly into a rage when you can’t get your spouse’s attention. What you tell yourself or the expectations you hold onto for other people and life goals will impact how you respond to those triggers. You then make the choice to act on the anger you feel. How can you break out of this? How can you stop the yelling, sarcasm or hidden anger which entangles you in resentment and infects your relationships?
We teach the time-out skill as one of the best methods to stop anger from exploding or imploding.
“But, I don’t want to take a time-out when I feel angry”, you argue, “I want people to understand how they are wrong. I want to be understood. I want to get the problem solved.”
I hear these arguments from students and clients all the time. I can identify with these feelings when I’m experiencing conflict or disappointments.
The important aspect of this skill is that it stops anger from escalating. It stops the physiological fight/flight response we all have when someone or something triggers our anger.
When we take a time-out, we can implement some of the stress management or relaxation skills. During the time-out we can identify what is really happening and write out what we want or need. Maybe during the time-out we’ll discover that what we want is unrealistic or demanding. Or maybe we’ll find out that what we want is reasonable and necessary. Taking a time-out when we feel angry – can help us think through the issues and go back to the other person with one or two requests or with an apology or with some options for working through our differences or misunderstandings. So, why not take a break when you feel anger rising inside you? A time-out will help you put a check on anger and check out whether it’s valid.
Listen to these podcasts: 4 Q’s to Disarming Anger
and Talk Yourself Out of Anger!
See all of the Quick Tips for Managing Anger podcasts at: www.whatsgoodaboutanger.com/podcasts.xml