Has someone’s remarks ever caused you to see red? If so, did you control your anger or did your anger control you?
Maggie had a lot to get off her chest. Angered by her remarks, I took a few steps forward, locked my eyes on her eyes and said … “I’ve not had any sleep in the past twenty-four hours and I’m warning you that things can get ugly, real quick.” As a Christian, I’m ashamed of myself for saying such a thing. Nevertheless, I did say it.
Here is this week’s story …
Maggie’s remarks did much more than anger me, they also wounded by heart. You see it’s like this; I’ve loved Maggie for years. Still do. Thinking back on that evening, I now realize that before Maggie ever entered my home she was already cocked and loaded … ready to fire off rounds of heart-piercing remarks. Shocked by her words, I also felt shell-shocked afterwards.
As soon as Maggie left my home, I began trying to figure out what had caused her to say the things she’d said. Up until our ‘heated’ dialogue, I would have trusted Maggie with my life. That’s how much I thought of her and how much I thought I ‘knew’ her. But now my eyes had been opened to another side of Maggie.
Running her words over and over in my mind was of no avail in trying to understand the cause of Maggie’s anger. Unfortunately, the more I thought about her words, the more they pierced my heart and the angrier I became. While I couldn’t fathom what had triggered Maggie’s anger, I did figure out that the anger and heartache afflicting my spirit, mind, and body had to be resolved.
However there was a dilemma. Pride arrogantly said I had a ‘right’ to be angry and demanded that I ‘hold on’ to the anger. The Holy Spirit gently urged me to ‘release’ the anger and to forgive Maggie. Heartache was silent, too wounded to speak.
I chose to listen to Pride. After all, I had been wronged. For a couple of hours I brooded in anger and during this time my mind entertained all sorts of thoughts … of which my most recurring was a sinister “payback is coming”. It was only after I felt ‘walls’ going up around my heart and recognized that I was on the verge of entering a mode of ‘emotional shut down’ that I cried out to God for help.
For the rest of the night I talked to God, sharing my heartaches and thoughts with Him, including my evil thoughts. Every so often, God would comfort me by speaking a word of love or encouragement to my heart. It was about sunrise when God told me I had a choice to make. Choice No. 1: Hold on to my anger and refuse to forgive Maggie. Choice No. 2: Release my anger and forgive Maggie. I told God I wanted to do the right thing. That I wanted to release my anger and to forgive Maggie but that I didn’t know if I could ‘sincerely’ do it. God reminded me that I had to make the choice. That He couldn’t make the choice for me.
Turning to God’s Word, I opened my laptop and did an Internet search for scriptures on “Letting Go of Hurt and Anger”. While I read the scriptures, God continued to minister to my heart. By the time I’d finished reading the scriptures, I was enabled to ‘sincerely’ release my anger and to forgive Maggie. And as soon as I did … my heart felt as if a ton of weight had been lifted. The ‘anger walls’ that had tried to shut down my heart were suddenly gone … and so too, were my heartaches.
Reader, are you’re harboring anger and heartache in your heart? If so, do yourself a huge favor and release it to God. Trust me, you’ll be doing the right thing and afterwards you’ll feel so much better.
(This) you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak [and] slow to anger for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.—James 1:19-20
— Debra Joy Wallace is an inspirational columnist and speaker. She can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or though her website at www.debrajoywallace.com.