Have you ever heard the expression don’t get angry get even? Well, there may be a better way to deal with that unexpressed anger than vengeance. Let’s look at two negative ways and one positive way of responding to anger and bitterness.
First, there is unexpressed anger; holding it inside and letting it smolder. When we do this, the bitterness becomes like a malignant cancer slowly destroying the fiber of life. Then, there is uncontrolled expression of anger. Like an explosion it destroys everything in its range. Such an outburst is like an emotional heart attack and may produce permanent damage.
There is a better way. It begins by saying to yourself, “I’m extremely angry and bitter about what my spouse has done. But I will not allow their wrong to destroy me and I will not attempt to destroy them. I will turn my spouse over to God who is just, and I will release my anger and bitterness to God.” The Biblical challenge is “get rid of anger and bitterness” (Col. 3:8).
Confess to God that you have held your anger inside and that you are bitter. Ask His forgiveness for handling your anger in a sinful way. Then confess your bitterness to your spouse and ask forgiveness. Find a counselor or trusted friend who can help you release your spouse and your anger to God, in order to live a constructive life in the future. Let me admit that a one time confession of bitterness may not eliminate all hostile feelings. If the bitterness has been there a long time, the hostile feelings may die slowly.
Paul said, “Never pay back evil for evil… Never take your own revenge, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:17,19). You may have been greatly wronged by your spouse, but it is not your responsibility to punish them for their sin. They must face God with their sin, and God is a just judge. Verbal retaliation accomplishes no constructive purpose. Seeking the good of your mate, which the Bible calls love, has much potential for good.