Jesus, Heal the Hurt Beneath My Anger

When my husband left, I was devastated. I felt hurt and worthless. I know you know that feeling.  
I never thought of my husband as defining my worth, but that is how I felt at the moment he left the marriage. During the first two years after he left, I often felt outraged. Our CK friend and pastor, Craig Hill, often talks about our anger as the "warning light" for our underlying hurt. He says, "you would not bash out the warning light of anger, hoping that it will solve the pain under the offense." (paraphrased)

I do not know about you, but I do not want just to manage my anger; I believe God can heal it and free me from the underlying hurt. So when I feel angry, I try to remember to take the matter to Jesus and ask Him to show me where the root of the anger is. As Psalm 30:3 says, "I cried to You for help, and You healed me." How good is that? One of the Lord's many promises for us.

When I wrote this article on anger, God must have decided to use this opportunity for another nudge in my growth. Recently a staff member at work unknowingly cooperated with God's desire for me to grow by doing some things that triggered my anger. Over the time of my stand for covenant, God has healed many of my wounds during healing prayer sessions, especially some wounds dealing with my self-worth. However, there is still more to heal.

I got disproportionally angry at the second incident in two days, in which this person offended me at work with her actions. I felt hurt and disrespected, ignored, and as if my opinion had no value. Those are feelings I have had most of my life, wounds I brought to our marriage that my husband also frequently triggered.

Much to my chagrin, I did not grow up learning how to express my feelings at all, let alone constructively, when people offend me. Jesus has the grace to continue teaching me and give me guidance on that.  

In my example of getting angry at the person at my work, I was aware of the problem in my Spirit. That was the first step. Once I got home, I realized I needed to ask Jesus how to get rid of the emotions instead of turning the incident over and over in my head and letting it ruin my evening. I asked Jesus to show me the root of the anger. He said, "Disagreements happen; they are not a comment on your personal worth."

He graciously took me back to a memory in my childhood in which I was told by an angry person, "If you can't do it right, don't do it at all." Jesus also showed me some generational patterns of stuffing anger and exploding with anger in my family. Perhaps I inherited this feeling of stored up, unexpressed anger. God says, "In your anger, do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold." (Ephesians 4: 26-27)

I asked Jesus to take the Sword of the Spirit and cut off the ungodly soul ties between my family and me, and I prayed to release the generational iniquities of anger in my family. Humbly, I prayed, "Lord, help me to express my feelings Your way when I feel those feelings so that I do not stuff it and it does not become petrified, cold, resentment, and bitterness. I desire to live free."  Jesus replied to me, "Yes, I will help you express the anger appropriately if you take My hands and walk with Me." He is the way the truth and the life. He said, "Come and rest in me. Your opinion is valuable, and I created you."

I have learned to gently but firmly tell people when they step on my boundaries. But I have also learned that their actions are not a comment on my worth; they are their actions. Yes, I can grow into believing this with Jesus beside me and going before me, even though the practice is something that I do not necessarily enjoy.  

Jesus pointed out to me that He did not get angry and fume when the Pharisees challenged Him. He also did not explode when they tried to trick Him into "sinning," or when His disciples were slow learners. He did not need to get angry.

The Pharisees had emotional baggage under their spoken questions; their words and anger did not put a value on Jesus' worth. Jesus was so sure of His identity and value in Father God that those arrows (words) shot by the Pharisees bounced right off Him. Jesus is the Breastplate of Righteousness and our Shield of Faith with which we can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one! (Ephesians 6:14-16)  It is essential to be faithful about donning that breastplate every day and taking up the shield of faith. It really can set your day on a positive trajectory.

God has taught me that the best response I can give when a person confronts me in anger is to respond with the opposite spirit. If they are harsh, I should love them by listening with the goal of understanding them.

As in walking in their shoes or seeing the situation from their perspective, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others." (Philippians 2:3-4) Isn't that precisely what we should do with our spouses in order to love them unconditionally? "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (Proverbs 15:1)

In my healing process with Jesus, He gave me a Holy Spirit-filled counselor who listened so well, with empathy and validation of my feelings, that I felt like Jesus was listening to me. I believe I received healing from that listening process. "Take note of this:  Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires." (James 1:19-20)  In our daily sacred time with Jesus, and any other time, we can all close our eyes, picture Jesus, look Him in the eyes and talk to Him. He is a terrific listener, and that time builds a relationship that allows us to receive God's healing love. The more loved I feel deep in my heart, the more of Jesus' love I can let flow through me to others by listening to them.

My counselor also used scripture to "speak the truth in love" to me, as mentioned in Ephesians 4:15. Jesus' love and healing have allowed me to improve receiving and responding to others when they confront me about how I have offended them. As you know, Jesus is the Way, the Word, the Truth, and the Life, the Light that shines in our darkness! (John 1: 1-5, 14)

Peacemaker Ministries has some terrific resources about Biblical responses to conflict and how conflict can be used as an opportunity to glorify God.

Craig Hill, the founder of Family Foundations International (FFI), has Biblical communication tools for wives and husbands applicable in other relationships (see his book, Two Fleas, and No Dog).
BY: Susan Marvin, Board Member, Group Leader

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