Category: Anger

Q&A: Living With Someone Who Has Wronged You

Q: Gary, I just read your blog about releasing anger and giving it to God.  I totally get that, but how do you continue to live with that person?

Gary Chapman: Don’t overlook the steps that need to be taken before you release the person to God. The Bible says if you’ve been hurt or offended—which is usually what stimulates anger—you should go to the person who has wronged you and confront them. The hope is that they will acknowledge their failure and it’s at this point that you can forgive them. However, if you do this and they still are not willing to apologize or admit their wrong, then release your anger and that person to God. Consequently, the relationship will not be a close one because you can’t be close to someone you feel has wronged you but unwilling to deal with it, but at least you’re not perpetually living with the anger.

Hope for Those Who Live with Anger

Many people have no idea why they are cranky, critical, and condemning. They make life hard on others and hard on themselves. Almost always, these people are filled with anger. Everything they encounter seems wrong. They read into the present what has happened to them in the past. They were hurt by parents, siblings, and others. The hurt turned to anger and the anger to a critical attitude. There is hope for those who live with anger. It begins with taking a look at your history. Write down the names of the people who have hurt you. If they are still alive, then it’s not too late to seek reconciliation. If they are dead, then turn them over to God and pour your anger out at the foot of the cross. Jesus knows all about being mistreated. You can trust Him with your anger.

A Long Standing Offense

Do you have a long standing offense with someone? They mistreated you and you have never gotten over it. Let me urge you to take positive action. Don’t sit around the rest of your life letting anger control your life. Make one more effort in seeking reconciliation. Go to the person and tell them that you would like to ‘make things right’. If they are open, they will confess their wrong and you can forgive. If they are not, then ask God if there is anything else you need to do. Such as ‘return good for evil’. Whatever He brings to mind, do it. Then give that person and your hurt and anger to God. Pray for them, but don’t allow their behavior to control your life. God wants you to be free to follow Him.

Eaten up with Anger

One of the common problems I encounter in the counseling office is people who are eaten up with anger. They have been deeply hurt by others. In an effort to be good Christians, they have held their anger inside. They didn’t want to explode or be unkind, so they said nothing. Anger held inside leads to bitterness, hatred, and often depression. If you have internalized your anger for a long time, it’s time to release it to God. Tell God how much you have been hurt. Then, release the person and your anger to God. He is a just and loving God. If the person repents, God will forgive. If they do not, God will punish them. When you release people to God, you put them in good hands.

Releasing Anger

Do you have memories of being mistreated as a child? Have your siblings treated you unfairly? When is the last time someone deeply hurt you? How did you respond? Jesus gave clear instructions: When we are mistreated we are to lovingly confront the person who hurt us and seek reconciliation. When we fail to do this the hurt and anger live inside and eventually make us bitter. A bitter man or woman will never reach his or her potential for God and good in the world. The first step in getting rid of anger is to make a list of all the people who have hurt you through the years and then release these people and your anger to God.

Little Irritations

Do you find yourself over-reacting to little irritations? Your spouse forgot the milk. Your child tracked mud on the new carpet, and you explode. There is a good chance that you are suffering from stored anger. Anger that has been living inside of you for years. Your parents hurt you with harsh words or severe punishment. Your peers made fun of you as a teenager. Your boss treated you unfairly. You’ve held all of these hurts inside and now your stored anger is showing up in your behavior. The Bible says, “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” In my book entitled: Anger, I talk about getting rid of stored anger. It all begins by releasing your anger to God.

Q&A: Fighting Fair

Q: Fighting in my marriage has really affected me. How can I be more patient and tolerant?

Gary: Fighting in a marriage is never healthy, unless we fight fairly. And most of us have never learned how to fight fairly. So we lash out at each other, we say harsh and mean things to each other, and consequently it creates a barrier between the two of us. I think we should always be willing to confess our failures and reach out and ask for forgiveness. Then, we have to learn new patterns of relating to each other. One of those patterns is to call a time-out. When you realize you’re about to get into a fight, simply call time-out and say, “I’ve got to take a walk, we’ll talk about this later.” If you do that, you’re more likely when you come back to have a civil conversation rather than a fight.

Internalized Anger in Young Adults

One of the most common problems for adolescents and young adults is passive- aggressive anger. This person has a subconscious motivation to do exactly the opposite of what one is supposed to do. Typically this behavior is designed to get back at a parent or other authority figure, at whom the individual is angry. The tragedy is that their behavior hurts them more than the other person. It is an immature way of handling anger. If your child’s behavior is illogical, rebellious, and self-destructive it may well be coming from internalized anger. The answer lies not in condemning their behavior, but in dealing with their anger. Someone must hear the pain and help the child find a better way to deal with anger.

Release the Person to God

If you have a tendency to hold anger inside and to withdraw from the person at whom you are angry, please listen. The apostle Paul instructed us to “get rid of anger.” Jesus said, “don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” Anger was meant to be a visitor, not a resident. It is not wrong to feel anger, but it is wrong to hold anger inside. There are two biblical ways to handle anger. First, you may lovingly confront the person at whom you are angry and hope that they will apologize and the relationship can be restored. Secondly, if they persist in hurting you and not apologizing, you can release the person to God. The scriptures say, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay says the Lord.” Trust Him, and don’t live another day with anger.

Implosive Anger

There are two negative ways to respond to anger: explosion and implosion. Some Christians who would deplore explosive expressions of anger fail to understand that implosive anger is fully as destructive in the long run. Jesus warned about holding anger inside. Whereas explosive anger begins with rage and may quickly turn to violence, implosive anger begins with silence and withdrawal but in time leads to resentment, bitterness and eventually hatred. Jesus said that we are not to “let the sun go down on our anger.” That is, we are to process anger quickly. Have you ever seen a building imploded? The explosives are strategically placed so that the building will be destroyed by falling inward. That is what happens when you hold anger inside.

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