Ephesians 4:26-27 (NKJV)
“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil.
Do you have a person or maybe even more than one person who can get you upset with just a look? What about a voice you haven’t heard in years that still sends a chill down your spine? Maybe a relative who turned your world upside down suddenly shows back up in your life?
We all have people in our lives who can irritate us just by walking into the room. That friend or family member who when we see their number come up on the phone, we let out a sigh before we answer it because if we don’t they’ll keep calling or just show up at the door. These people may aggravate us or even get us angry at times, but we know how they are or what to expect most of the time, so we are prepared.
What we don’t prepare for are those unexpected encounters when we thought we had laid the past to rest. A time when we had to endure such stress or fight through a situation that left us battered or even broken, but we came out still standing. After the dust settles we have two choices, let the situation keep us tied in knots or let it go.
It’s never so easy to just let it go. We want to keep walking around complaining about it to either get others to sympathize with us or as a way to defend our honor. What happens when they continue the lie or just flat out deny what they did? Most of us just tie another knot. Soon we are mad at the world, snapping at those around us, or even provoke a confrontation. We may even withdraw from everyone as a way to protect ourselves from further harm.
We could possibly get to where we are at peace and finally start unraveling the emotions. Sometimes the person may no longer be in a position to affect us or not a part of our life anymore. But the fact that we look up and they are no where to be found does not make the situation vanish either. It could actually just put resolution on hold till the door opens and they walk through it, you hear their voice, or someone just mentions their name.
Over the years I have spent time clinging to certain resentful feelings even after the conflict ended. Questions always wanted to echo through my mind. Why did they have to lie? How could they do this to me? Or my favorite, why don’t they just come clean about what they did? I have been told that at times I am too trusting which makes sense that I may comment, “I never thought they would do something like that.”
The problem is that no matter how many questions we ask it doesn’t undo what has happened and we usually never get satisfying answers to most of them. So back to choice two, let it go. Again, it’s not so easy, but it also depends on how we go about it that can release the hurt we are carrying. There are very few of us that can just snip the string that we are tangled in. Many of us will seek consolation from friends or family to talk about it or try counseling, prescribed medication or bury it with some form of self-medication.
I have tried some of these remedies, but never really found full closure till I added another step. I took it to the Lord in prayer, but it was not something I routinely did till more recently in my life. This change started when I rededicated my life to Christ and I added the part I was forgetting, believing in the Lord. Jesus told us this in Matthew 21:22 “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
When we are at odds with someone because they wronged us, we should first reach out to God for strength to endure the situation we have been thrust into. This can at least bring things under control as we work our way through, but there is more that must be done to bring healing as well as the relief we are beginning to realize. Offering forgiveness to those who have hurt us.
Some reactions right now will range from okay to you got to be kidding me. There is no way I can forgive them for what they did to me. You just don’t know what they have done. You are right, I don’t know what they have done to you, but God does. Jesus introduced us to this concept during the sermon on the mount in Matthew 5:39. “But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.”
Jesus taught us many lessons in how our relationship with the Father should be and how we should treat each other. Remember that He didn’t just talk the talk, but He also walked the walk. Is there a better example of someone who had reason to be angry or hold a grudge? Jesus was arrested and found guilty for crimes He did not commit. He was beaten and then hung on a cross to die.
Instead of lashing out, we find some of His last words in Luke 23:34, Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Could we have done that? Can we do it now? It is our choice to forgive or not, and sometimes it is easier than others. I have encountered situations where I have forgiven. I have even had some where I have thought I had made peace with it only to have it spin back around when I see that person again. Then we must choose our path again.
One last thought from Ephesians 4:32 brings a little more clarity, “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” So share the grace and mercy that God has given us and find a deeper sense of peace. Now please also enjoy, “On Me You Can Depend.”
ON ME YOU CAN DEPEND
When I see their face or hear their voice and I can feel the anger rise,
It brings back memories of what they did and all their hurtful lies.
The pain that I thought I dealt with is now a fresh thorn in my side,
It was only hidden beneath the surface and from it I can no longer hide.
Part of me just wants to run away so I won’t ever be found,
But the rest wants to strike out and knock them to the ground.
I must face all this fear and anger that is coursing through my veins,
Sort through all these conflicting emotions causing all these pains.
Lord I know all this is not right and I’m straying far from you,
How do I find your strength I need because I’m not sure what to do?
My child I know what they have done and you feel you have a grudge,
But it is not your place to punish them, it is for me to judge.
You have let another steal your joy and push you to the point of aggression,
My forgiveness to those who hurt me is how you should show compassion.
The mercy that I have given you must be freely shared with others,
You should be reaching out to them as you would your sisters or brothers.
By showing my love in all you do and shining my light toward their heart,
You will be sharing my grace with them, which is the perfect place to start.
So be careful of these trying moments that could destroy you in the end,
Always remember to just remain in faith and On Me You Can Depend.