Anger And Forgiveness

No. 29 - 26th February 2017

When we got married, my wife and I were two very different people and we had a lot of stuff to work through. It wasn’t easy. Our backgrounds were different and our expectations of each other put a lot of pressure on the relationship. I sometimes felt as though the problems were like a wall that had built up between us. We would try to fix the problem by throwing bricks at the wall but mostly they flew over the top and hit the other person. What I mean is, we both knew we had a problem, but instead of attacking the problem, we attacked each other. I remember thinking that if only we could get onto the same side of the wall, and direct our anger towards the problem rather than each other, we’d be a lot more successful. We once did a marriage guidance course where we were expected to hold hands while we discussed the things about each other that hurt the most. That sounds like a good principal.

Anger can be so destructive, and I’m sure we’ve all experienced it one way or another. I’m not just talking about being on the receiving end, though that’s bad enough, but the person who is full of anger is going to damage themselves more than anything else. Mark Twain once said that, “anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.

When I was in my early forties, something happened in my business that really hurt me. A colleague of mine did something that lost us a lot of money and a project that I had really set my heart on. I have to say it made me very angry. If fact I got so angry that I had a bit of a breakdown and had to stop work for a few months. The relationship with that colleague is fine now, but I had to do a lot of forgiving before I could deal with my anger. It’s particularly hard to forgive someone when they’re not ready to say sorry or to admit their guilt, and yet that’s exactly what we have to do for the sake of our own mental health. Now here’s the scary bit. This is what Jesus taught. “If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, then your Father in heaven will also forgive your wrongs. 15 But if you don’t forgive others, then your heavenly Father will not forgive the wrongs you do”. That’s quite a hard pill to swallow, isn’t it? I’m not sure I could do it without the Father’s help.

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