Anger. It roots deeply and grows quickly. The anger that results from the injustice faced in divorce or separation, makes us fighting mad. It’s straight up unfair, and the makes sense. Anger is a core emotion, a gut reaction, to feeling out of control. The more out of our control things feel, our marraige, our money, our children, the angrier we become. It’s not sinful to be angry. Anger is justifiable. It’s how we respond that makes the difference, and that was the topic in last week’s DivorceCare group. The raw nerves laid bare through the unraveling of our marraige, our dreams, our life leave a trail of heartache. We find ourselves alone in our rage and wanting badly, so badly, to scrutinize, justify, and assign blame. So…what do we do with it? How do we manage it in a healthy way that doesn’t create more destruction? Here’s a great tip sheet with ideas from DivorceCare.
Reducing anger isn’t easy. Here is a list of ideas to try when it feels like the rage is uncontrollable.
- Call a friend to vent. Write a rant in your journal. It’s important to release the anger where it’s safe to do so, and not to hurt anyone in the process. Don’t hold it in. That will only hurt yourself.
- Monitor your negative words, especially in reference to your former spouse. One way to help keep bitterness at bay is to not speak or dwell on the other’s faults. That’s not always easy to do, but we have to try.
- Read the Word, the Bible. Wisdom, comfort, and peace are found in the Words of God, and a lot of stories of God’s justice and promises for those that stay the course.
- Remember to count your blessings. Your soul is eternal and will outlive this moment by a long time. If you are able to keep your eyes lifted above injustice, you can look beyond the hurt and betrayal.
- Find an accountability partner that you can talk with to list the things you’re angry about, and work together to move beyond them. It’s retaliating and taking justice into our own hands that lands us into sin and unhealthy behaviour. Nothing like a good friend to keep us from landing ourselves in the hot seat.
Remember, above all, that God will fight for you. Talking earnestly and honestly with God will keep your anger out in the open where sin has less of a chance to creep in. God knows you intimately, more than any other person ever will, even your former spouse. Talk, vent, yell. He can take it, and He’s going to be up all night anyway.
“Pray Continually” – 1 Thessalonians 5:13
There are so many times when you will have a legitimate reason to be angry, but the other person is just not going to hear it. That’s when you have to be willing to step back, let it go, and say, I’m going to let God fight this one for me. And then really leave it in His hands. That doesn’t mean you’re suppressing your anger or giving up. You are, in fact, acknowledging the anger and making a choice to let it go. It’s not useful or helpful right now. I had a commander in the Army that told me one day, “You can’t fight in every battle. Choose which hill you’re willing to die on.” What he was trying to tell me was to let some things go, and to choose the battles worth getting worked up about. Those are the ones we especially want God to fight for us. We don’t want to go into battle without His power and hand upon us. Trust Him. Take it to Him. Let it go. He will fight for you.
Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace will all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God for it is written, ‘Vengence is mind, I will repay’, says the Lord.” – Romans 12-17-19 NASB
You are not alone. Others have recovered from divorce, and so will you. If you’ve found a way to manage your pain that was helpful (and healthy), will you tell us about it? It’s in our struggles that we really come to know God and know ourselves.
Your story can bring hope to someone today.