Anger. Grrr. It's an ugly, natural, human response. But it is also a life-sucking parasite.
That's what I am struggling with right now.
I am a talker, just ask Stu. I like to talk things out. I like to chat a subject to death and beyond. It's my process. Writing is another form of talking for me. When you read my posts, you are hearing me. No posing here. No fancy-schmancy flowery words to make you think I am anything that I am not. This is essentially an extension of my diary.
Enough about my process. More about my problem.
I have held onto a lot of anger, and I need to let it go. For a long time now, I have been suffering from stubborn anger. I understand that vengeance belongs to the Lord. And honestly, I am cool with that. I am not interested in retaliation.
I think there are different kinds of anger. Not all anger is created equal. Let's say there are four basic types of anger:
Flash Flood Anger is the kind that comes on instantly. Someone wronged you and immediately you want to rip his/her head off. There may be some yelling, reddening of the face, possibly a flying fist or two. This would be like your husband telling you that you do look fat in those jeans. The upside is that this kind can pass almost as quickly as it comes on - ok, probably not that quickly if your hubby is that stupid. But, you get my point. Maybe a better example would be your husband's anger at his sucky football team. Seriously, I don't understand how, after all these years, Stu can still get so mad at a Dolphin loss. It wasn't that big of a surprise, was it?
Leaky Faucet Anger has a slow onset. It might take a long time of the same, annoying, repetitive behavior to bug you. I'd say this happens more in families and marriages than with friends or strangers. Think of your husband's most annoying habit - let's say it's the fact that he does not put a new roll of toilet paper on.* At first, when you're newly married, you're thinking, "Ok, this is annoying. Why didn't his mother teach him to change this?" But 6,324 rolls later, you explode at his complete incompetence and ineptitude... Can he really not see it!?!?!
Stubborn Anger is the outcome of an unresolved Leaky Faucet Anger. This is where you've been mad for so long about a behavior that you are hardening over from it. By this point, the person and the wrong-doing are darn near inseparable in your mind. Once you've reached this point, it is very difficult to come back.
Tombstone Anger is similar to Stubborn Anger, but it's worse. This is where things get deadly. Not necessarily literally, but I suppose it could. Tombstone Anger lashes out at the wrongdoer. It is characterized by malicious acts. You will go out of your way to be cruel back.
What does anger look like?
If I am being totally honest, I have been in all of the stages at one point or another, with one situation or another. I've never killed anyone, but I have been mad enough to use that expression. I have been mad enough to go out of my way to be cruel. I have been so mad I have actively wished bad things on that person.
I have been wrestling with my stubborn anger. I have it directed at a few people. For the sake of clarity, I am going to mesh all the people, situations, and grievances into one.
The Bible shows us that anger is natural, even Jesus was angry. But it becomes a sin when the reaction of the anger is sinful. At least that's how I have always understood it. There was a sermon this past weekend on Anger.
Our preacher began a series of lessons on Emojis this past Sunday night. Click here for the ANGER sermon, or visit the church website for more lessons and goodies.
It's rough to sit in church sometimes, listen to a sermon and think, "Yikes, he's talking directly to me." Or, "Great, my messed up life inspired this sermon." My face flushes as my heart rate goes up. My heart is beating so loud I am positive everyone knows this is about me. But honestly, in the same breath, I like this uncomfortable feeling. It puts me in my place.
For a while now (like a decade), I have been wrestling with the idea of forgiveness. I know I need to give it. But I don't know how. I don't know what it looks like. I don't know how to forgive someone who hasn't asked for it. I don't know how to forgive someone who doesn't deserve it. I don't know how to forgive someone who is actively continuing the behavior I am mad about. I don't know how to forgive someone who is continually making me angry. I don't know how to forgive someone who hurts me over and over and over.
How do I do that?
*I feel it only right to let you know that Stu does change the toilet paper roll. He may have left the seat up quite a bit when we were first married, but that it no longer an issue. This was just an example.
Family & Life
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