I am excited to present to you another guest contributor for the What Is Love Series! Michelle Lindsey, from nittygrittylove.com, is sharing with us three ways to handle our anger!
Love Is Not Easily Angered
I felt rage well up in me as I stood across the room from my husband. His back was turned against me, and his previous words were still stinging. I wanted to scream at him. I wanted to lash out and let all of the emotions churning around inside pour out. It was almost unbearable. What started out as a conversation about boundaries, ended up becoming a full on argument. I didn’t mean for it to turn into a fight.
It started out as an innocent concern. I simply wanted to protect our marriage. I didn’t want anything to hurt our relationship. My intent was not bad. The problem arose as soon as I let righteous anger turn to mistrust and accusations. It turned into sin as soon as I aimed my frustrations at my husband, instead of the real issue.
Isn’t that how it often works?
Our anger has deeper roots. Roots that feed worry, anxiety, fear and jealousy. It is the root, not the anger, which usually gets us into trouble.
Anger is a complex topic when you look at it through the lens of scripture. We are instructed by God to be slow to anger. Does this mean anger is actually allowed and possibly even beneficial? In Ephesians 4:25 Paul says to be angry but do not sin. That statement is imperative. Sometimes anger is required. Anger itself is not wrong. All emotions are created by God—It’s just that sin taints emotions. Sort of like fruit that goes bad. Worry is concern gone bad. Fury is anger gone bad.
Tim Keller teaches that, “Anger is aroused in defense of something good, against something bad or evil.” What he is saying is that it’s acceptable to feel angry towards things that are harmful. God provides biblical models to keep us from allowing anger to become sinful.
- Don’t explode. When you release rage you end up causing destruction. It becomes a cycle that breeds more friction. If we blow up at our spouse, we need to repent and refocus. Tell our husbands we are sorry, and then question ourselves. “What is it I am trying to defend?” “Is it a good thing?” “What is the root of this emotion? Fear? Rejection? Idolatry?”
- Don’t stuff it. This is simply anger that simmers and becomes depressed and hopeless. We numb ourselves so we don’t have to feel it. But it stays inside and tears us apart. We become detached and block any chance of good communication. If we tend to do this, we need to pray for the courage to see the real issue and face it head on. God will shine light into the darkest corners of our hearts and lead us through. Your husband will see the difference once you are focusing on the problem, not the person. He won’t feel attacked and will know that you have your marriage and his heart in the forefront of your mind.
- Don’t become bitter. I struggle the most with this last one. When we become bitter toward our husbands we are holding him liable for his sin. We want him to pay for his actions. We become tempted to gloat and tell ourselves that we are not as bad as him. This kind of sin only imprisons us. God doesn’t leave us in a state of isolation, so we shouldn’t do this to our husbands. Once we look in the mirror and see how much we have been forgiven, we have no choice but to forgive freely.
It’s not easy being rational when you feel angry. It’s hard to take the time to pray and ask for direction. This is a process. After time, as you grow in grace, you will see the fruit that comes with being “slow to anger.” We forgive our husbands as Christ forgave us. We are slow to anger because our Father is patient and long suffering. As we let God’s amazing love melt our hearts, we will become tender hearted towards our husbands.
– Michelle Lindsey www.nittygrittylove.com
“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” – Colossians 3:13
“In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” – Ephesians 4:26
The next time you feel angry towards your husband, take a deep breath and pray. Ask God to help you not to sin in your anger. Then tell your husband why you are angry and see if the two of you can reach resolve.
Help us to not sin in our anger. Shed light on our selfish motives and help us stay focused on the real issue. Allow us to direct our frustrations to the problems at hand and not towards our husbands. Help us sort through our emotions so we can make progress in our marriages. Give us courage to face the root issues in our hearts that trip us up and cause division. Keep bitterness and apathy away from us. Soften our hearts so we can give grace when others hurt us. Thank you for forgiving us and walking with us as we walk through daily sanctification in Jesus name AMEN!
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13 : 4-8
Questions to discuss in the comments:
Are you aware of the times that you compare your marriage to others?
What are some things you are thankful for in your marriage?