Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel of both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back–in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.” ~Frederick Buechner

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I hit send on my memoir and my eyes filled up with hot tears, which came spilling over faster than I could catch them.  Then I climbed in bed, curled up in a  ball and slept for two hours, mascara smearing the pillow and the arm of my shirt.  When I woke up, I looked outside and wondered how long the trees had been blazing with autumn.   Writing your story is like deep sea diving for long stretches of time, coming up for air only long enough to bring items from the past onto the boat so you can see them more clearly and try to discover what they mean.  Some of the things I dug up made me sad, many made me laugh, and others made me angry.

The anger surprised me most because it’s almost impossible to make me angry. Or thus says my pride.  I’ve never been able to stay mad, almost no matter what the circumstance.  But the anger was there, right there in the light of day and there was no denying it.  I got angry when I looked back at a little girl that no one protected. I got angry at the times I felt abandoned and alone.  Then I got angry at myself.  For heaping my pain onto people who never deserved it and never saw it coming.

The  anger that rises up in us needs somewhere to go, because if it lingers in us too long it becomes like poison.

A few days later I heard a song and I saw in it a picture of what our Father does with all that collective wrong we heap on each other. He comes in with guns blazing to mow down our demons, the ones tormenting us from without and perhaps especially the ones killing us from within.  And in the strangest turn of events, he takes all that evil and wrong and pain and hurt and anger on Himself and dies on a cross to save both the oppressor and the oppressed within us all.

This is love that we can’t even fathom.  This is the compassion of a Father who will go to every length to protect us from all the enemies that threaten us, those that rage against us and those that rage in us, bearing in His body the world’s collective misery so that you and I can go free.

He gives us His life and in turn takes on our death.

This is what it means to be cherished and protected against the gates of hell.

He lays Himself down on the altar and willingly becomes the Feast, the innocent One ravaged for us all.

 

16 comments on “Where Can the Anger Go?”

  1. I am a survivor of childhood trauma and abuse. I had so much anger. I struggle with PTSD. When I realized that my anger was affecting my family, I sought out therapy and God led me to a woman – a psychologist – who has guided me through a three year journey of releasing that anger and healing. The anger was a shallow cap on what at first seemed an endless well of grief. But with a safe place and dedicated time to release that grief each week, the tears cleaned the wounds and the anger was replaced with a profound sense of gratitude and with peace. I had been unsuccessful releasing the anger on my own. The whole concept of “forgiveness” made me angry. Forgiveness – for me – has actually been about releasing the anger, venting the grief and finding peace. Forgiveness has not been about altering my relationship with the people that did not keep me safe as a child – it has been about healing me. I would encourage anyone who is struggling with anger to find someone who has the skills to guide you through the process of releasing that anger and dealing with the sadness underneath through to finding peace. I don’t think I could have done it by myself. So glad that the Lord sends people into our lives who can help us.

    • Thank you for sharing this. I can deeply relate. Are there any other resources you would recommend that have helped you. God sent another Christian sister into my life with a similar experience which has helped me a lot. She shared the resources of Christian counselors Henry Cloud and John Townsend with me (which includes “Boundaries, “Safe People”, “Never Go Back”, etc..). They really helped a lot as well. Of course, it is the Lord Himself going before me on this slow healing journey, but I actively pursue healing in every way that I can. I too have had so much anger. I always fought to suppress it before which only made me worse off. I have been afraid of my own anger. I was overwhelmed by fear– suffering unimaginable panic attacks – not realizing how much I needed a much deeper work done in me that would almost take my life. I went into the darkest depression for several months. I had believed that becoming a Christian pretty much erased all the junk of your past and never wanted to consider myself a victim. Much of the emotional abuse I experienced in my childhood was from the actions of someone very self-absorbed with their own pain and I didn’t want to be anything like that. So I went to the opposite extreme. But you are right–we have to deal with those old wounds and anger because they do give the Enemy plenty of territory.

  2. This is so uncanny. I just indulged not an hour before I read this. Great timing Edie. Perhaps it will make it easier for this prideful woman to apologize.
    Hope you are somewhat rested and ready to kick off the holidays. God bless.

  3. The timing of this post is perfect. I have been struggling with forgiving someone who has wounded me many times in past years. In reading your post, I realized I had suppressed some anger, as well as hurt, over this and truly needed God’s help to let it go. To trust that He would heal the brokenness, maybe even bitterness, that was lodged in my soul. Thank you for writing about difficult things we all struggle with…even as believers. Looking forward to your book when it is published :). (P.S. I am a Lutheran too!).

  4. Edie, I too was once a little girl who didn’t feel protected, valued or unconditionally loved. I know from life long experience how many people I’ve hurt, made feel bad or dumped my childhood pain on. Your post struck a chord in me, maybe it was the words you used? The tears began falling, and my heart burst. Your words make me think that perhaps it’s possible for me to not have to drag this hurt little girl around forever more. For the first time in 50 years I don’t feel alone anymore. Thank you for reminding me how much the Father has done for me to feel protected, to feel at peace. And thanks for sharing such a touching post, and for touching my heart with your soul filled words. I can’t wait for your book!

    • Edie – know that you pain is helping others. And you are facing it in the correct way, in the Word, and not some pseudo-psycho – therapy that doesn’t really touch the heart of the matter.Talking about finding peace and forgiveness in a general way doesn’t really help. Only the cross. Thanks for pointing to that. Even as a long time believer, I also needed to hear that message today. For that – thank you, thank you, thank you!

  5. i can relate to nearly every word.
    ” I got angry when I looked back at a little girl that no one protected. I got angry at the times I felt abandoned and alone. Then I got angry at myself. For heaping my pain onto people who never deserved it and never saw it coming.”

    But the words I relate to most now are these:
    “This is love that we can’t even fathom. This is the compassion of a Father who will go to every length to protect us from all the enemies that threaten us, those that rage against us and those that rage in us, bearing in His body the world’s collective misery so that you and I can go free.
    He gives us His life and in turn takes on our death.
    This is what it means to be cherished and protected against the gates of hell.
    He lays Himself down on the altar and willingly becomes the Feast, the innocent One ravaged for us all.”

    He has taken most of the anger out of the deep places in my heart over these past few years…what a beautiful journey it has been. He is my defender. He is my protector. He is my peace and joy and calm and my salvation. He is my everything.

  6. I wish I knew how to rid myself of the anger I’ve carried for almost 33 years, or, since my Dad left us when I was 15….now I’m 47, my Dad is almost 80, my beautiful Mother passed away two years ago at the age of 85. I can admit that I wished it had been him, and not her, that’s what my 15 year-old heart thinks, that if death came as punishment for something that it should have been him, not my sweet Mother. I pray daily about this anger, and truthfully, I’m doing much better than I used to, but it took many, many years of tough experiences, heart breaks and brokeness to get me this far. I know the anger still resides though because my Dad is still behaving badly towards some family members and when I hear about it, I get furious, I get hurt, I feel abandoned all over again….I want to rage, and sometimes do, I want to yell at him and his “wife,” I want to tell them of all the pain and trouble they’ve caused, I want to tell him, specifically, that he should have just kept going when he left, instead he’s always kept a sefish foot in the door and continued to hurt and hurt and hurt my family, my sister, and her children….he abandons them now, all the time, by the things he does and says…..How do I find peace and forgiveness with this? I’ve tried many times over the years to have some kind of relationship with him, which is really only phone calls, but it’s been something…..but then he rears his head and misbehaves and I get mad and just think “forget this, I just need to forget he’s even alive” It’s been the cycle all these years…..I love him, I forgive him, but then he misbehaves, not that he’s ever stopped, then I get angry, I feel guilty…..I ask my Heavenly Father what He wants me to do with this anger…..the one word I continually hear is “RESTORE”…..so, I’m working on that……I’m not sure if he wants me to restore my relationship to my Dad, or help my Dad restore his relationship to God, or maybe even restore my Dad and sister’s relationship…..it’s a constant and daily issue for me. Thank you for your writing, it helps me think in other ways also, and I will likely read it a few more times to pick up more from it.

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