Welcome back! We are in Week 3 of Break Free Recovery; a free online Bible study for survivors of sexual abuse. I am honored to come along side you and offer some guidance and wisdom in your journey to heal.
Let me start by opening us up in prayer:
Sweet Lord, we need your healing touch today. I ask for your presence in this cyber community here, and pray that your words and your truth will be revealed in a powerful and very personal way in the lives of every survivor who takes part. In Jesus name, Amen!
Last week I talked about the importance of sharing your story with someone you trust. When you share your story you give yourself a chance to unpack the painful memories and emotions tied to the abuse you suffered. It can be a powerfully healing exercise in and of itself, and I hope you will take that important step in the recovery process.
This week my topic is about dealing with those painful memories and emotions, and working towards resolving them.
As you unearth the buried truths of the past, you will feel different emotions towards those that were directly and indirectly involved. A common emotion among survivors is resentment, or anger. You may think, “Why do I want to dredge up the past at all, then?”
I look at it this way; when I get a bad cut and don’t take the time to tend to it, the cut doesn’t heal. It takes cleaning and dressing my wound in order for it to get better. The same is true when dealing with any unresolved emotions surrounding the abuse or assault.
Choosing to repress anger or resentment towards your abuser(s) is like ignoring a bad cut on the sole of your foot. It makes everything else in life just plain difficult!
Joyce Meyer shares her painful past, and the road she took to recovery in her book called Beauty for Ashes. She addresses this issue in her book and shares the importance of dealing with our anger. She says, “When we have internal problems, we have external problems”
Isn’t that the truth?!
Friend, anger in itself is not a sin. It is a natural emotion. Even God gets angry! There are many times in the Bible where God is described as burning with anger; usually because of injustices and the disobedient acts of his chosen people.
It’s not the emotion of anger that gets us in trouble, but rather how we express those strong emotions.
It is what we do with our anger that makes it either constructive or destructive. Jesus taught in Ephesians 4:26 that,“’In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,” Basically, don’t let your anger build to a point where you hurt yourself or others.
Depression, overeating, addictions, self abuse, illness, and disease are just some of the effects of repressing anger. When we choose to release resentment in a positive way we allow healing to take place.
So, what should we do if we’re struggling with anger or resentment?
Ephesians 4:31 tells us to,
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”
The longer we hang on to resentment the more it festers in our souls and wreaks havoc on our lives. The anger we may feel because of the abuse or assault is justified, but it doesn’t have to last forever. In fact, as we express it in constructive ways it will eventually dissipate over time.
How do we “get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger…?” We start by giving these emotions to God in prayer. Ask him to help you overcome any resentment you feel inside. Consider documenting your any anger or resentments you still have, and who is the source involved, in your journal. I also recommend writing what I call an “Anger Letter” to your abuser (s). This letter doesn’t have to be sent, or shared. It’s simply a means to voice what you would say if you had the chance to share your feelings openly, without consequence.
Are you struggling with anger or resentment towards someone?
1) Write those emotions down
2) Surrender them to God in prayer
3) Consider expressing those feelings in a letter to those involved
It’s through this process that God will prepare your heart to truly forgive. Keep in mind it is a walk we are taking, not a run. There are small steps involved that will lead you to taking the giant step of forgiving your abuser(s). This is one of them.
I am praying for you this week. I know how painful this can be, and how difficult it can be to deal with these kinds of emotions. Remember this; you are not alone, dear friend. God sees you and he loves you, and he grieves with you.
I look forward to meeting back here next Monday as we hear from my friend Meagan, who overcame years of resentment with a stamp and a prayer. I can’t wait to share her story with you!
 Joyce Meyer, Beauty for Ashes: Receiving Emotional Healing (Missouri: Life In The Word, Inc.), 198