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!
© copyright 2023 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC, CAMS-V