This week I counseled a woman who is struggling with some serious anger issues (I’ll call her Jill). Jill is mad at God, but the offense she is upset over came by way of her parents. Have you ever been offended by a family member? That was a rhetorical question :).
As a child, Jill was betrayed and abandoned by her parents in the worst way. Now, in her late thirties, married and with children of her own, she is feeling the full weight of their betrayal and wrestling with some very powerful emotions, including anger.
Anger is a tricky tactic of our enemy, Satan – that old snake who can’t come up with any new material.
He’s a record keeper. He keeps track of wrongs and reminds us to do the same – stirring up our emotions at every opportunity. Whispering to our soul that we deserve apologies, restitution, and even revenge – inciting us to bitterness and resentment.
His purpose is to keep us in our problems – bound and chained by the pain we feel. That pain can lead to bitterness, and bitterness leads to resentment. Unresolved feelings of resentment lead to anger, and anger (while in itself is not a sin) can ultimately lead to sin.
Sin separates us from God.
Prolonged and unresolved anger can lead to physical and mental problems, too: issues of depression, confusion, loss of memory, high blood pressure, risk of stroke and heart attack, social problems, thoughts of suicide, and even death.
Do you see the trick in all that?
But we don’t have to fall prey to Satan’s schemes. I have learned that forgiveness is the best line of defense we have. It is the right response that Jesus calls us to, and the healing balm to our deepest wounds.
Maybe you’re like my new friend, Jill, and you’re wrestling right now with unresolved feelings of anger. I’d like to share some truth that may help you to put things in a new perspective…
There are three main reasons to choose forgiveness:
- We are called to forgive – “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Eph. 4:32 NIV)
- We won’t be forgiven by God if we are unwilling to forgive others– “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:15 NIV)
- We have been forgiven so that we may walk in freedom – “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Gal. 5:1 NIV)
This is a BIG topic to wrestle with, and not one that can fully be addressed in a single blog post. I hope you’ll join me next week, as I continue the conversation with author and speaker, Tracey Casciano – author of Out of the Darkroom, Into the Light. She’ll be sharing her testimony of forgiveness and how God helped her to resolve some painful emotions she wrestled with after years sexual abuse.