Tag Archives: how anger hinders healing

Behind the Anger

Behind the Anger Veil

In my last blog, I talked about anger and how it could mask the real problem and the real hurt in a person’s life. Following is a story about how I experienced this very thing in my own life. See if you can identify with this experience and follow the story to find the path I took to gain your own healing.

I was mad. I believed I had been robbed of my dignity and my character had been attacked. I was told that if I just stopped whining and complaining so much, all my problems would go away. I wondered if this was how Job felt when he was suffering.

I went home fuming. I replayed the conversation over and over again in my head. How could I have explained my concern with my brother without getting such a nasty response? I was hurting, looking for help to resolve an issue, not just whining and complaining to hear my own voice. I didn’t think I had rights that were more important than my brother’s. I had a problem that needed wise counsel, not just judgment and criticism. I had risked being vulnerable to someone I trusted and got nothing helpful to go home with, only more hurt. I wanted to tell the one I had tried to get help from what I thought of him and his “wise counsel”. I began a tirade to the Lord about this “servant of His” who was supposed to be a spokesperson for God and had done a terrible job of it. I wanted God to deal with him ever so severely and set the guy straight.

It Helps to Have Strong Friends

When I got home I called up my girlfriend. Thankfully she was not in the mood to hear my story and interrupted me. She asked me if I was willing to put my anger aside for a moment to see what the Lord wanted me to know. I was stopped in my tracks. I knew from my training and my years of practice that this was the right thing to do. I momentarily struggled with the decision to comply or continue my rant.

I complied. I put my hand on my heart and in an act of agreement, I pulled the anger out of my heart and symbolically put it in a basket. I put the basket at the foot of the cross and asked the Lord to take it.

After the Anger is Put Aside by Choice

Immediately, I felt the anger drop off and the pain behind it surfaced. She then guided me through the steps of finding what the real problem was and presenting this before God for His perspective. 

I’d had a fall-out with my brother. I really loved him and admired him. I was really hurt by the harsh words he had spoken to me. I knew the whole thing was over a misunderstanding and I did not know how to fix it. I believed I’d messed up and that our relationship was broken beyond repair. I had no idea how to correct the misunderstanding and restore the relationship.

Beyond that, when I went to a staff member at my church to try to sort it all out, he too misunderstood my conversation, became impatient with me and dismissed me with a remark like, “Women like you need to learn to stop whining and complaining. Then you might start getting along with others.” I was crushed believing that there was something terribly wrong with me. Outwardly I was angry. Inwardly I was decimated.

  

As I put the anger aside, the Lord gently took me to the first time I felt so crushed. I found it in my very first year of school when a boy told me that if I was a friend of the “retard” (Down’s syndrome child in our class), that I was retarded too. I loved the boy with the round face and was hurt to be put in a category that somehow made me feel less than the bully. I believed that there was something wrong with me. I remained friends with my friend but was taunted along with him every day as we walked home from school together.

The Lord revealed to me that there was nothing “wrong” with me and asked me to forgive the child bully, which I did immediately. The Lord also showed me that He loved my compassion and open heart towards those who were different from everybody else. He also showed me many other truths throughout the situation.

In the end, I was able to forgive the person I went to for counsel and received help from the Lord for my brother and me. He worked in both of us.  We are getting along very well today. 

In many times and in many ways the father of lies embeds lies into our lives. This is especially true while we are very young and unable to process the things we hear and experience in light of the truth. Once those lies turn into beliefs they can cause us to self destruct over the course of our lifetime. 

Letting God bring truth to those false beliefs can be life saving. The truth can open the door to restoration of precious relationships, peace in our hearts and the ability to help others so that our world can get better rather than continue in its natural course towards destruction. I know this experience was a life changer. It set me on a path that made my response to people who did not understand me much more compassionate. I gained an ability to forgive more quickly. I am not nearly so easily hurt or offended and there is room for more joy in my life than ever before. My prayer is that this will happen for you the reader as well.

How Anger Hinders Healing

 

One of the Biggest Hindrances to Healing 

 

Can we hinder our own healing? We sure can. There are many things that can block the process, but one of the biggest things that will prevent us from accessing the provision God gave us for our healing and restoration is anger. 

Anger is what has been referred to as a guardian emotion. When we feel hurt or vulnerable and we do not want to get run over by “weaker” emotions, we may choose anger. Our anger may seem to be so automatic that it doesn’t appear to be a choice, but I’ve seen people choose to put anger aside for a moment and allow themselves to dig deeper into what their anger is covering up.  It’s important for our healing that we recognize that anger can be a learned behaviour or a more socially acceptable emotion than crying. 

 

What does Anger Do for Us? 

 

Anger does many things for us. Anger covers our vulnerabilities when we feel threatened. It makes us appear stronger and tougher than we feel. It masks the fear we are feeling and gives us a sense of personal control over a given situation. Anger can be expressed both actively through outbursts of angry words and violence or passively through distancing, ignoring and punishing silence.  

 

Most psychologists now agree that anger is a symptom of wounds people carry. Without going into the many books on the subject of passive and active forms of anger, suffice it to say, they are well known among the hurting. Anger allows us to blame someone else for the pain we feel and removes us from any responsibility. 

 

There is a common phrase I’ve seen in recent months: “Hurting people hurt people”. If we use anger as a way of dealing with our pain, we may well be managing our pain but in the end, it doesn’t help us heal. Anger will hurt us and those closest to us in a perpetual cycle of negativity that prevents us from healing. 

The Bible says, Eph. 4:26, “Be ye angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:” Righteous anger is a legitimate emotion, but it is a rare thing among us mortals. Righteous anger is not about us. It is about what offends God and hurts others. Anger hinders healing and personal relationships when used as a coverup or reaction for offenses or hurts.  

In our anger we are often blame shifting. Sometimes we judge others for things they said when it is not what they said at all but what we think they meant. God is the only one who knows the whole truth, understands motive and sees every side of an incident.  It is not uncommon to be angry when we have been wronged, but prolonged anger leads to bitterness which can be hazardous to our personal health and relationships. Bitterness also does not lead to healing but rather can destroy more and more in our lives.  

Using the anger we feel as a signpost to help us turn to the healing process can make the emotion useful rather than harmful. The Holy Spirit can help us to control our reactions to anger when we ask Him to grow the fruit of self-control into our lives. 

 

Putting Anger Aside 

 

In many of the healing prayer sessions I’ve had with others the presenting emotion is anger. I will ask them if they are willing to put it aside for the moment because anger focusses on another person rather than oneself. What we are looking for is what’s behind the anger so that the recipient of prayer can find healing. When they get their healing, anger is no longer needed to protect them. 

 

Sometimes we can simply put anger into an imaginary basket for the time being. Sometimes we have to find out what they think might happen if they give it up. Then we look for truth to deal with that so that we can move on. 

 

I believe that if you are willing to put aside your anger for a short period of time, you too will find healing for yourself. When you gain healing, you are able to make room for some of the more positive things in your life, like love.             

 

1 Corinthians 13:5 says about love, “It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” It is a wonderful thing when we can love like this. Healing our hearts can lead to love that gives without pain.