In your anger, do not sin. We all have said something we wish we hadn’t said when we were upset. Our anger, hurt feelings afterward, fear and other negative feelings rise up and we decide to let our words come out. At some point afterward, for most of us, there will be regret, remorse with apologies and restitution to follow.
We usually will bring up past hurts, ugly feelings and/or attempts to induce guilt in the other person in an attempt to manipulate them. None of these things are good, but they can be worked through.
Then there are times when what comes out is cruel and damaging. One way to do this is by continually attacking someone in anger. As the Ephesians passage progresses it says to not let the sun go down while you are still angry and do not give the devil a foothold. When we continually allow negative feelings to control us, we give satan a foothold to control our actions. In this case, it is in anger. Constantly allowing your anger to dictate what you say and do will not only damage those who are on the receiving end of it, but also destroy you by alienating you from those around you. It will take joy with it also because anger grows and becomes more prevalent when not kept under control. People don’t want to live their lives never knowing when your anger will rise to the surface next. This was the main type of verbal abuse I experienced in my life. I was constantly walking around with walls up ready to defend myself or leave when the words started spewing. I know this is the reason God instructed me to walk away from these relationships.
The other way to be cruel and damaging is to throw out such harmful comments that it hurts the person down to the core. When someone has been through a tragedy or an extremely traumatic event in their life, bringing it up in any way in anger is beyond painful and shows complete disregard for the person. If you have not had an event like they’ve been through or walked through it with them, you have no idea where they are in their recovery or how they feel. This week, someone I thought loved me made one of these comments. We had a disagreement and it turned into attack and defend mode. In the end, he made a comment stating I had done some rough things (that I showed I didn’t do) and he made a comment something like because of my husband’s extracurricular activities with women being known I began doing some hurtful things to keep my husband’s memory alive.
I honestly have no idea what point he was trying to make or what response he was fishing for, but the pain cut deep. I am still trying to work through all my husband’s activities. I’d like to forget all about them, but that’s not possible. Just a couple of days ago, my youngest showed me a picture he has of him with our big dog when he was a puppy and I could barely look at him. I saw a complete stranger and felt the many betrayals when I looked at him. It still makes me sick to my stomach.
From what this person said, he’s been holding things against me since before my husband died and has formulated this thought of my keeping my husband’s memory alive doing horrible things for just as long. He has no idea what I’ve gone through and, from what he’s said he believed, even though I’ve known him for decades, he has never gotten to know me.
Was I fully innocent in my part of the discussion? No. There were things I could and should have said gentler. However, nothing that was said came anywhere close to deserving that type of response. That type of response isn’t warranted under any circumstance.
Words are powerful and they reveal what we’ve thought and felt more than we’d like to think sometimes. Be careful with them. When in doubt, especially in anger, don’t say anything. The pain you cause will probably be deeper than you could imagine. No person deserves to come out of a tragedy and have someone try to use it against them. They’ve been through enough already.
~ Joanna Lynn