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Practical Steps to Overcoming Hatred, Rage, or Any Sin in the Power of God

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Ladies,

If you haven’t already read it, please read the first post in this series, “What Place Does Hatred, Rage, and Violence Have  in Our Lives as Believers in Christ?”

Please do keep in mind – there are times when we will feel angry. Feeling angry is not sin in and of itself and there is such a thing as righteous anger. There are times when we need to confront those who sin against us. Expressing the fear or pain behind our anger can be really important. We can even express our anger itself without sinning – the thing to watch for is when the anger slips into sinful anger or we hold on to the anger for too long and become resentful, bitter, or hateful. I think it is key for us to watch our motives. If we are seeking to hurt the other person, that is a sign we are involved in sinful anger.

HOW DO I GET RID OF SIN IN MY LIFE? (These steps work for any sin. Of course, you must belong to Christ for God to hear your prayers. If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, please check out this post first.)

  • Confess your sin to God.

Agree with God that this is sin and that God hates it and it is repulsive to Him. Realize that every single sin separates us from God. Focus especially on learning to recognize and shoot down pride – it is generally the root cause of all other sins. (If I believe I am above God or above others, I can justify any sin in my heart.)

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

  • Repent to those you have hurt.

Humbly apologize without blaming the other person. “I want to apologize for X. I shouldn’t have done that./I was wrong to do that.” Be sure not to add a “but.” It is not a real apology if I say, “I’m sorry that I did X – but if you hadn’t done Y, I would never have done X.” Take responsibility for your sins against those you have hurt – even if they have some responsibility, too. Ask for forgiveness.

Try to make restitution for anything you have done wrong against them (Matthew 5:23-24). You can ask someone to forgive you. But you can’t force someone to forgive you. That is each person’s choice. But you can take care of your part of things and trust God to work with them on their end. Keep in mind that if you have engaged in rage or violence or very hurtful words against someone, it may take time for them to trust you again. Trust will need to be rebuilt. If there are serious issues, please seek trustworthy, experienced counsel to help you.

  • Commit to absolute surrender to Christ as Lord.

Recognize there may is a spiritual battle against a spiritual enemy who wants to take your thoughts, mind, and soul captive who wants you to walk in the power of the flesh and to cause division and broken relationships. But we can walk in Christ’s victory over sin…

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:7-10

  • Stay in God’s Word daily.

Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

  • Live in a constant spiritual posture of humility before God and prayer. 

“These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” Isaiah 66:2

  • Cast your cares upon the Lord. Trust Him fully.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7

  • Depend on God’s wisdom, power, and strength, don’t trust your own wisdom, strength, or self-effort. 

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5.

  • Desire to walk in obedience to God and seek to walk in obedience out of gratitude for all God has done – not to earn salvation, but out of thanksgiving for the salvation Jesus bought with His blood on your behalf.

To obey is better than sacrifice I Samuel 15:22.

As soon as you realize there is anger, resentment, or negative feelings – separate yourself from the situation if possible and go write down your feelings. Separate truth from lies by examining your thoughts in the light of God’s Word. Write down every negative thought and kick out all of the lies. Embrace God’s truth. Write down His truth. Receive it into your heart. Memorize His Word. Ask him to help you see as He sees and to shoot down every sinful thought immediately.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

  • Sing praises and focus on things to be thankful for to God. Think about good things.

My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Psalm 34:2

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Verses about praising God

  • Trust God to take any vengeance that is necessary. It is His place to take revenge. He will repay. 

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17-21

  • Focus on God’s sovereignty and realize that He can and will bring something good out of even the most awful situations we experience.

That is His promise to us as His children – Romans 8:28-29. Examine the example of Joseph in the Old Testament whose brothers sold him into slavery. This was his response later when he saw them again and was in a position of great power and could have them imprisoned or put to death:

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20

  • Take up your cross and follow Jesus. Deny yourself. Self will, self-effort, self-exaltation, and human wisdom have no place in our lives as followers of Christ.

And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.…” Luke 9:23-24

  • Get rid of any addictions to anything – drugs/alcohol/gambling/porn/food/etc…

Addictions often greatly exacerbate our anger, hatred, and rage against our loved ones. We are not in control, the addiction is. Seek help from Celebrate Recovery – link at the bottom of the page – or another reputable program, preferably one that honors Christ and biblical principles. Celebrate Recovery may be able to help you find God’s victory over rage, as well.

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12

PRACTICAL STEPS

  • Understand what you control and what is not your responsibility.
  • Know your triggers and prayerfully ask God to help you develop a plan to handle them rightly.
  • Examine the examples you observed when you were a child and choose to reject any ungodly examples and rebuild your life on the truth of Christ and His Word alone. Allow God to completely and radically change you to make you more like Jesus. Look for godly examples to follow.
  • Don’t justify rage/violence/any sin to yourself, rationalizing how it is “right” and “understandable” in your case. God gives no one a free pass to sin against Himself or anyone else even if we are sinned against.
  • Realize that responding calmly and gently will feel “foreign” and “weird” if you are used to responding in rage or sinful anger. That is normal.
  • Picture Jesus on the cross, paying for your sins in agony and seek His help to overcome temptation.
  • Whisper or sing instead of yelling (yes, I actually do these things sometimes with our children – it seriously helps).
  • Take a deep breath and calm down when you begin to feel the adrenaline rise and the rage start to boil.
  • Listen and seek to understand others before reacting and making wrong assumptions.
  • Be willing to be wronged rather than to react in rage or with violence. It is better to suffer for doing right than to do what is wrong and suffer for it. (I Corinthians 6:7)
  • Ask for a few minutes to compose your thoughts and cool down. Go spend time journaling or praying before you attempt to address someone if you are not in control.
  • Go for a run or lift weights to burn off some of that rage as you seek to clear your thoughts and allow God to speak to your heart.
  • Seek to respond with warmth, patience, love, and kindness by God’s Spirit’s power. It will feel weird and awkward at first, that is okay! It is like learning a new language.
  • Find some examples on old TV programs of people responding to each other in conflict in respectful ways.
  • Listen to or read trustworthy, biblical sermons and articles about managing anger, rage, and violence. Share what you are learning with us so that others may learn and benefit, as well!
  • Practice in front of the mirror or on video responding calmly. Write down a few possible ways to respond calmly in the future.
  • Practice with family members – maybe even write out some sample scripts and walk through them together of godly ways to handle conflict to prepare for future conflict if you believe that may help.
  • Meet with a godly mentoring wife to help you work through this who will keep you accountable and pray with and for you.
  • Contact Celebrate Recovery for help in overcoming an addiction to rage.
  • Talk with your husband and even your children about how you want to change and perhaps even ask them to help keep you accountable with a signal or a word if you begin to lose control that means  you need to have a break to calm down.
  • Realize that hatred – once it is full grown – eventually leads to violence which can even lead to murder. We must catch our thoughts as soon as the first drop of hatred begins to seep into our minds. God views us as “murderers” when we hate other people.

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 1 John 3:14-15

  • Picture all of the consequences of rage and violence – the lifetime of guilt, the possible ways others might be permanently hurt or killed, the damage to your relationships, and imagine the pain you will suffer, God will suffer, and others will suffer if you go through with the sin that tempts your soul. Imagine seriously injuring or even killing someone in your rage and violence and having to face your family members and those who love this person. Imagine having to face God with the guilt of someone’s blood on your hands.
  • It may be necessary to separate for a time if you are not in control and your spouse and/or children are in danger if they are with you. It would be better to separate and seek appropriate counsel and healing alone and then get strong enough to be able to come back and begin to live in a right relationship with your family than to stay, lose control, and hurt someone.

I can’t wait to see all that God has in store for your life and your family as you trust Him and walk in the power of Christ!

SHARE:

If God has radically changed you and helped you find victory over some of these things, please share your story with us in the comments.

RESOURCES:

Kill Anger Before It Kills You or Your Marriage – John Piper

Johnathan Edwards on replacing the anger in our hearts with divine love and humility

If you want to overcome a habit of rage or violence but feel that you need help and that you are not in control, please contact Celebrate Recovery or a trusted pastor or Christian counselor.

Please check out Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray about how we are all to live in total surrender to Christ as Lord every moment.

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin (if you are not safe, reach out for help and do not try to do this alone)

Posts on bitterness

Posts on forgiveness

Apologizing Stories

23 thoughts on “Practical Steps to Overcoming Hatred, Rage, or Any Sin in the Power of God

  1. As always, a powerful post with lots of wisdom and practical applications.

    The other day, my husband and I were having a conversation/discussion, and I felt the frustration. We have been struggling on how to have a respectful, calm, loving conversation. I was feeling like he wasn’t hearing me and was running with his assumptions. I felt like he was being unkind in his choice of words and his tone of voice, and I could feel the frustration rising. In the past, I would have escalated the tension by raising by raising my voice and, eventually, by not controlling my words, speaking my mind of unkind thoughts. This time, when I realized I was at that key point, I called a time out, told him I loved him in a kind loving tone, and went out for a long walk to talk to God.

    God heard my frustration! And at the end of my diatribe, I felt a very strong wind envelop me and it reminded me that God is in control and He is stronger, and more powerful, than I. A peace came over me, and I was able to reenter my home calm, joyfully and at peace.

    It was a small, quick moment, but it changed the course I was on. My husband and I have made a few positive steps in how we are communicating which is evidence God is working powerfully in both of us.

    1. That is AWESOME, senterwife! I LOVE LOVE LOVE your story. Thank you so much for sharing this! What a blessing and an encouragement to see people choose to do things in a way that honors God and to see the beautiful harvest. 🙂

  2. Confession: I haven’t been doing the “heart work.”

    I’ve been thinking about it, turning it over in my mind, reading about it, planning to do it, starting to try – getting uncomfortable and changing my mind.

    Duh.

    As an athlete (well, a former athlete and now a wanna-be-again athlete :)) I know full well that “thinking” about running or exercising, or reading about it, etc. is not going to get me to where I’d like to be. Wouldn’t the same be true in the case of this “heart work?”

    I’ve been lying to myself by doing all this reading and wishing, but not actually diving in and doing it.

    I’m sorry. I’m praying for the courage to actually try.

    1. Becca,

      WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS is what I have been waiting for! 🙂

      Yes, you do have to do much more than read about it – you have to actually do the work. It is PAINFUL. It takes a lot of time. But it is very worth it.

      Praise God!!!!!!

      I am praying for you. It sounds like you are hearing God’s voice clearly today. 🙂

  3. Hi April, what a great post! Thank you for your practical advice.

    My pastor encourages journaling. It’s a great way to seek Him; not just with feelings of anger but sadness, confusion etc (also joy and praise) writing it down and searching the Word is when I’ve clearly heard Him most often. In those moments, I’ve been left completely awestruck by His communication with me. I hope everyone can give it a try and see His faithfulness at work.

    …makes me think of that song by Hillsong “Christ is our reward, the joy of our salvation”

    Have a blessed day everyone!

    1. Melanie,
      Journaling has been REALLY helpful for me, too. I love it! I can take all my negative thoughts to God and not hurt anyone else with them and hash through them in writing and then evaluate my thoughts and feelings compared to Scripture and choose to align my heart and thoughts with the truth of God’s Word.

      Love this!

  4. Thank you for this, April—I am going to print it out! Unfortunately, I have a family member who verbally and even physically assaults me at every single family/Christmas gathering (a couple of Christmases ago, this person actually tried to kill our pets). They are still feted and praised at every Christmas gathering (they’re kind of a victim bully, if that makes sense), and of course it’s family, so I have to go, and I have frankly been borderline obsessing (mostly in fear) over this Christmas for months now; last Christmas’ assault was particularly bad, the whole family was shocked, and when I quietly left the room to cool down instead of backbiting as I wanted to, the person *chased me*! I was absolutely cornered, defenseless, and this person was, as always, defended by her parents. It was just terrible and I do not even want to go home for Christmas this year, April; I’m honestly terrified. Truly frightened.

    Anyhow. Thank you for this, I’m going to print it out and prayerfully work through it. I’ve known for some time I already harbor bitterness and anger toward this person, and know I at least did the right thing in attempting to silently leave the situation before it got out of hand last year. It is very, very difficult to deal with, but I keep trying to remind myself that even when I feel I have no advocate at all, not even my own parents, JESUS is my Advocate, and He will care for me regardless.

    1. Jen,

      Yikes! When you say you were assaulted, would you be able to elaborate a bit? What does your husband think about this? Was he there with you?

      If you are seriously in danger, I wonder if it may be a good idea to pray about whether you really need to attend, particularly if this woman is going to be there and there are no guidelines in place. I am not sure I understand the benefit of going if you know she will physically hurt you or try to kill your pets. 🙁 So heartbreaking. How I pray God brings this woman to Himself!

      I have some posts you can search on my home page about “bitterness.”

      You can forgive her in the power of God, but that does not mean you have to plan to be with her until she is willing to repent if things are as bad as you are describing.

      Much love to you!

      1. April & Megan, thank you very much. Honestly, it just feels good to talk about this, because I’m sort of at my wit’s end!

        Unfortunately I do have to go, because it’s family, and there’s no excuse not to go. Over the years, this person has come after me with a knife, fists, claws, slammed my head against walls, et cetera. She just sort of flies into rages, and it’s very frightening; people have difficulty calming her down, and I’ve several health issues that leave me rather weak, physically speaking! Perfect storm. 😉 She has suffered some major changes in her life, too, which are unfortunately bound to make her more bitter and angry at those she perceives to have any kind of joy or goodness in their lives (which sounds just awful, I know); she was a bit spoiled by her mother and has a bit of an entitlement mindset.

        My husband was there for the last assault, which was primarily verbal, but I did not appreciate being chased after I’d left to cool down. He asked her to let me be, but she did not, and began screaming at me, with the support of her father (I don’t get it, either), who said we were “equally at fault”, though I’d literally said nothing but ‘Merry Christmas’ to her and was talking to another family member when she came after me. My big concern is that it will become physical again this year, as it has in the past. If she can harm, deform, or destroy, I think she will. It makes me sad to even type that! :/

        I have talked to my husband, and though he is a wonderful and protective man, I think he thinks I’m worrying about nothing. Unfortunately I’ve known this person much longer than he has, and we do live far from the family, so there have thankfully not been many opportunities for interaction (I love silver linings!) since our marriage. He also wishes to keep the peace as much as possible; for instance, he has asked me to avoid theological conversations with my mother (who has some seriously loopy ideas, and who once did not speak to me for a year concerning a verse in Jude I blithely mentioned in conversation), and I have bitten my tongue many times even though I always want people to have the truth! But of course I’m to obey, too. If Sarah could do it…! 😉

        As Christmas approaches, I’m of course more nervous (to the point I had to get a bite plate so I wouldn’t grind my teeth into nubs!) and want to talk to my husband again, but really don’t know how to bring it up in a respectful fashion. Also, my grandparents are both quite ill, and this might be the last opportunity to see them; I dearly want to see my other relatives, too, because they are family and of course I do love them! It’s a rock and a hard place situation. Things are coming to a head, though, and…well, I really wish I could figure out how to pick the right time and fashion to bring my fears and concerns up again. I know we’re not supposed to be afraid, but honestly…I am. I actually have to remind myself to pray about the situation and my fear every time it trips up in my brain! 🙁 So I’m a bad Christian, too! Ack!

        Again, thanks for hearing me out and offering suggestions. I’ll keep nosing around on the site in regards to this topic, April, thanks! I appreciate your doing what you are able to guide your sisters, even from far away. 🙂

        1. Jen,

          Well, you do have a reason not to go if this person has been that dangerous in the past and is that out of control and no one is willing to step in to protect you, in my view. Is this a child or an adult woman we are talking about?

          I think it is entirely respectful to say, “Honey, I really want to see my parents and family. I want to visit with my grandparents. But – I am too afraid of so-and-so to be with her again. It just stresses me out too much to think about being in the same place with her. Could we talk and pray about some options so I can have peace of mind? My health is already suffering because I am feeling fearful about seeing her again.”

          It is okay to be afraid of someone who attacks you, my dear sister. And it is okay not to want to be in the same place with her if no one will protect you. That does not mean you are a bad Christian. It is important to share your fears and concerns with your husband. He may have some amazing ideas that will take care of your worries. I am praying for both of you to have wisdom. And I pray for healing for this person and your family.

          Sending you the biggest hug, my dear sister!

          1. Thank you for your advice; I really appreciate it! I’m sure you understand how things like this can be—it’s easy to become overwhelmed in such situations. I am dredging up the courage to bring this up again soon!

            Also, this person is an adult, but the situation has been difficult since we were both children. Perhaps I do not think to pray immediately because for so long, ‘defense’ has had to be my first position taken? (Funny, I’ve been reading a book about how God tells us to stand, stand, withstand, and stand in Him.) Multitasking has never been my strongest suit!

            Thank you again! xoxo

          2. Jen,

            I do pray you will discuss it with your husband, and maybe with your parents, as well. No one should have to fear for their physical safety at a Christmas gathering, my dear sister!

            Much love to you!

        2. From another sister in Christ to Jen:

          Wow, you have quite a difficult and sadly dysfunctional situation on your hands.

          Having been in a situation with in laws who are in gross denial over an abusive family member, and whose method of dealing with it was to accommodate the abusive one by catering to him and blaming the victim for not being respectful enough in the face of his grossly violating behaviour, I can get a grasp of the overwhelming sense of pressure. I will share some of what i went through below, perhaps it is more or less similar.

          It has been my observation too that the more denial the family is in about its state of health, the more they pull the “family card” to put one in a state of guilty submission/false obligation, so that you cannot decently say no without feeling like YOU are the bad guy nor set boundaries with someone who expects to be in control and dominate others. I suffered for years before I finally got the courage and strength to refuse to attend so called family gatherings based on fake togetherness and blatant denial of out-of-line behaviour. Attendance was not optional, it was demanded and required.

          Dysfunctional families become dysfunctional by distorting reality and moving God’s boundaries so that wrong becomes right and you become wrong by not going along with it. They don’t do it because they don’t really know any better but because it works and gets them what they want in ways that are abusive and violating to others. People treat you shamefully but because there is a turkey dinner on the table and you are given a christmas present that means all is well? I don’t think so.

          I would have to greatly but kindly disagree with your belief that “because its family, I have to go.” No, my sister, you do NOT have to go. Family is a place where everyone is valued, and love and respect are operative, not for just a select few, usually those who will join in silent toleration of what should not be tolerated. The belief that you must go is based on FOG; fear, obligation and guilt. In this case all false emotions that have the effect of paralyzing your confidence and eroding your boundaries. By choosing not to go somewhere that you are treated as if your life has no value, you would be moving the boundaries back where they belong.

          No doubt you possibly will face guilt trips and uproar. This is how famlies that operate in sin and dysfunction control their members. It is destructive manipulation. I thought I had to go and keep getting hurt because I thought being a Christian meant that I had to win them over for Christ by my sheer niceness and lovingness. Plus I am a hyper-responsible oldest child who loved to please her elders. The scripture where Jesus, when a town would not recieve Him, went on His way, spoke to me one day that I didn’t have to stick around offering myself to people who didn’t want me or what I valued. Jesus made the offer and then respected their decision. He did not stick around begging them to see.

          I thought once my in-laws understood that I cared, things would change. They did understand eventually that I cared but none of them were motivated to confront how sick the family had become nor ever apologize for their wrong behaviour or cowardice in failing to protect the innocent. It was never about lack of knowledge but lack of desire to face things and in some cases a determination to control others. What made it really hard is that my husband, having grown up in that family, had learned to achieve acceptance by going along with it and pretending there wasn’t a problem. He would side with the abusive family member and say that I needed to be more flexible and undersanding and he thought that respect and honor meant not confronting evil behaviour in an elder. This meant looking the other way while his own wife was being physically aggressed against in a gross way.

          Eventually a situation occurred where the abusive and controlling one came to my home when he knew I would be home alone; he attempted to force the door open when I told him to leave after delivering a nasty letter blaming me for all and offering absolution if I would just ask for their forgivness and apologize for the sin of not wanting to come over and be mistreated. I called the police when he forced the door and wouldn’t leave. He lied to them on the phone and said that he didn’t understand what was wrong with me, he had just come by to visit his grandchild and the mother was out of control. He purposely removed himself from my house one inch at a time and then stood outside taunting me before he left. I had told my husband that morning, that I had a sense he was going to show up that day. Hubby’s response “No, he won’t”. The usual dismissal of anything I thought or felt and denial of how devious this person was. The result was a flurry of phone calls and family uproar, how dare I think I had the right to call the police? I was even told by my MIL that her relative always assaulted the women in the family and no one called the police on him; this was said with complete gravity as if it were normal and expected of obedient family members to tolerate being groped and sexually assaulted.

          If you have children, you do not additionally want to collude with the sin by modelling the normalization of family violence. You would not be wrong to let them know that as much as it would deeply grieve you to do so, if the family member assaults you or aggreses against you again the police will be involved and you wil be insisting that she receives court-ordered help. If your hubby is asking you to submit to this abuse, he is asking you to go along with evil. I don’t think you have to do that. or need to. I do realize the ramifications of having to make a stand alone if your hubby is not willing to face this properly.

          One thing additional is that I received no support from church. When I went to my pastor’s wife to find out if it was wrong and un-Christian of me to have some boundaries with these people, she informed me that family was sacred and we shouldn’t erect walls against people; this was after being told how abusive and directly controlling these people were. This same pastor’s wife, when O told her there was a major gossip problem in the church, informed me that she didn’t think we had THAT problem here. It is as if Christians worship family and marriage to the point that they do not grasp that some families are dangerous, crazy and destructive places to be and they engage in magical thinking that is just not rooted in reality, biblical or otherwise.

          My church did not intervene, did not hold my husband accountable to protect his wife and set healthy boundaries, but did focus on my wrong attitudes towards my in-laws. When I told the church-based counselor that I felt like a rape victim who was being taken to task because she angrily scratched her attacker’s face, she just looked at me as if she couldn’t grasp what I was saying and thought I was being overly dramatic and what was going on was a minor family problem with a grumpy relative.

          I mean these people were destroying my marriage, and making my life miserable and my husband was allowing it but I am the one who needs to change? Just saying so that if you run into this, it doesn’t throw you for a loop and make you feel more guilty. Setting boundaries and even involving the law is not unloving at all. It is God’s means of rewarding good and punishing evil according to scripture. I sure do agonize over the difficult and unfair situaiton this has put you in but you are not the problem, she and her very unhealthy family are. You might need some help in assessing the level of crazy you are dealing with but I would definitely get some outside help.

          I say this last part hesitantly; I am no longer married to this man anymore. By the time he was willing to admit there was a problem and set some boundaries and confront his father, so much damage had been done and even then he still was not willing to admit he also had a problem or deal with his having put me in harm’s way for over a decade. He acted as if it was no big deal and just something I needed to get over. He also continued in lying and manipulation, word twisting and other forms of emotional abuse. If this had been addressed sooner rather than later there is a chance that our marriage would have survived and our child’s home would have not been filled with tension and misery and angry arguments over family. Please keep yourself safe from now on, I do not want to see you suffer any more of this evil and harm.

    2. Seriously Jen, while it is a family gathering, you are not obligated to go. And (forgive me for saying this) it is somewhat foolish to go knowing you are putting yourself in harms way. You can respectfully decline the invitation. If I was you, I would not go. And I would appeal to my husband if he told me to go. Do not worry what the rest of the will think. It is none of their business. But this other girl clearly needs prayer. Let God do the fighting for you. God bless!

  5. (April, this is not so much a comment to your post but my testimony from CR last spring. I have anger issues.)

    I am a believer who’s in recovery and struggles with Anger, fear and bouts of self entitlement.

    I grew up in a christian family. I attended church Sunday morning, evenings and Wednesday night
    services. I formally accepted Christ and was baptized when I was eleven. I had a childlike faith and I
    would say that it was genuine. My relationship with God was something I always acknowledged growing up. I did believe He had the power to do the great things I had read about in the Bible, however, getting that head knowledge into my heart was a different story.

    My childhood was more or less normal but I was born with a double cleft lip and palette and this is where my life takes a detour from normal. My mom told me the first words out of the nurses mouth when I delivered was, “oh, that’s too bad”. However, my Mom had the polar opposite reaction. She was thrilled to be a mom (for the second time) and finally have a little girl. She always made me feel perfect. It wasn’t until I got older and started listening to the world that I realized I fell far short of the world’s standards of beauty. I had four surgeries by the age of five. The 5th one came at age 14. I had 13 years of orthodontic treatment and understood at too early an age what the orthodontist meant when he said the word “extraction” and quite frankly by the time I was 18 or so, I was done with
    doctors and getting things fixed. On days when I had an orthodontic appointment or doctors appointment, my Mom didn’t tell me ahead of time, she just showed up at school to take me to the appointment. Otherwise, I would fret until I was literally sick. I would
    fantasize, not seriously, about running away from these surprise appointments. I think I really decided
    at some point in my adult years that I deserved better and easy in everything since I felt like I had already paid my dues. As far as how my parents treated me, I think they did treat me differently in they didn’t seem to put as much pressure on me as they did to my older brother and younger sister to excel in school. I was happy with the lower expectations. No pressure and I certainly liked easy.

    My father was very strict and while my Mom was also strict, she was the one who I loved and trusted with my thoughts and feelings. Not saying that she wasn’t a regular Mom who got mad at me for bad choices I might make or never remind me of past mistakes or called me on my bad behavior, but I was always sure about her love. I remember her telling me that there was not anything I could ever do that would make her not love me. I didn’t feel the same unconditional love from my Dad. He was the one who yelled. While he never laid a hand on me physically, we were disciplined with spankings. For awhile, until my Mom hid it, my Dad made and used a paddle for disciplining us kids. It was a long piece of wood with another rounded piece of wood at one end. Think wooden fly swatter and you’ll more or less have the visual. I can’t say that I lived every day in fear of the paddle or my dad since his outbursts were not daily, but I can’t say that I always felt at ease with him. I always felt really gawky and never knew what to say to him. When he took me to lunch after my 9th grade continuation ceremony you might have well have asked me to put on roller skates and play tennis, I just felt clumsy and awkward.

    For me, I can’t say where all my anger comes from. I know that I didn’t learn this behavior from my Dad because I thought it was the correct way to respond in a situation. To me it’s one of those things we kids end up doing: copying the behavior we hated in our parents. It’s also not like while I’m angry, I’m thinking about the inappropriate treatment I got from my dad.

    My anger came out in inappropriate and immature ways. Growing up I remember a time being so mad
    about some issue I was having with my car , in the snow, that I stormed into the house, ripped off my boots and hurled them at something. To this day my Mom doesn’t know it was me who put a dent in
    our wooden kitchen table. In anger I threw my car keys down on the table. Later I decided I better check to see if the keys had left a mark under the table cloth. They did. Mom never noticed, so it was just my little secret. Fast forward to my married life now and I’ve still been known to have verbal tantrums, slam doors too hard in anger and in doing so, sent clocks and decorative items off the wall. I became so angry and frustrated at a phone once that I smashed it. I ripped the dryer door off it’s hinges and then was reminded every time I went to use the dryer of my stupidity since we didn’t buy a new one for a long time after that, we just had to put the door back in place once clothes went in or out.

    Since all of the above episodes happen at home you can be sure there was soundtrack of shrieks and/or profanities accompanying the fit. Marriage to a deaf man has it’s advantages in that I am able to hide my screaming fits more or less in plan sight.

    I realized my life was unmanageable when I had had a pretty bad melt down at work. While working from home has it’s blessing in that we save money on the cost of gas everyday, it also presents me with a daily
    challenge in keeping my attitude and mouth in check since I can pretty much say and act how I want
    while I’m off the phone. Sometimes those dang callers who were not organized or where just plain old stupid,
    slowed me down. Don’t they know they are wasting my valuable time and that coworkers are getting
    ahead of me in calls? I had just about had it. After a particularly tough day of calls, I was fed up and after releasing one of the more difficult calls, I swore under my breath at the “stupidity” of the caller. Satan took that as a chance to get in my head and I seriously worried that I had actually dropped the f bomb at one of my callers. Holy cow, I could probably get fired for that.

    After this f bomb incident, I was sure that someone would complain about me and I’d be fired. I was also mortified at how out of control I was and felt. That night after I got off work I confessed everything to my husband. The worry about keeping up and doing enough for work as well as fighting this mind game with Satan. My husband was a great listener but didn’t necessarily give me any advise.

    I knew that I had already planning to visit with a friend from church that night after work, so maybe she’d help me out. I understood and believed in the power of confession. James 5:16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. I didn’t know her that well, but she appeared to be a very godly woman and felt like I could trust her. I dried my tears and went over to see her.

    I made my second confession of the night and while I can’t remember what her reply verbatim was, she said that she was currently in a step study working on some issues of her own. They meet weekly and there is homework you have to do for every class.

    “Great, sign me up” I thought. “I can do homework for awhile. Just help me get this problem fixed.” My mind was busy working out all these details in the space of seconds while I stood there. I just wanted to feel better. As we continued to talk about the class, I realized she said her was closed to new members. I would have to wait for the next class. Counting the months I realized it would be nearly 10 months before the new class started, but then my friend said there was also a Monday night group.

    “Um, so can anyone just come Monday nights?”, I asked. I remember feeling so desperate and I needed her answer to be yes.

    “Oh sure.”, my friend reassured me. She gave me some of the hand outs from CR and I went on the following Monday. Even though my relationship with God felt good and “on track”, I could see that I was still missing something. My husband and I attended church every Sunday and volunteered in other ways at church. I was understanding better how to walk by faith and not by sight, but I just didn’t have a slot in my church going brain how to combat this particular problem. My husband and I were finishing our 3rd year of reading the Bible in one year. We loved doing it. I loved the Bible, but I was still not sure how accepting Jesus Christ could actually change me.

    I would like to say that after attending CR on Monday nights my attitude and behavior immediately turned around. It didn’t. I was still arguing with my husband DAILY (this is no exaggeration, it was pretty much every single day) . I was still having problems with anger at work. I still found myself angry with callers and coworkers. I was still having trouble with outbursts that happened after the phone calls and I lived in fear of losing my job. If the hysterics were particularly bad, then the fear and guilt over that near miss was usually enough to straighten me out for a little while. I then decided that if I needed a shock like those near misses to scare me straight then I might be able to recreate that psychological effect myself. I was
    certainly angry enough to hit something but I also was smart enough to know that I DIDN’T want to punch a wall or even my desk as I might actually hurt my hand and then where would I be? My bad behavior would be found out. Slapping my head in anger also was out since that ended up sending me to my chiropractor. Punching myself in the abdomen was my crazy answer and I did this for several months in an attempt at giving myself a wake up call and scare myself into good behavior.

    I was so glad when September 2014 came and I got to start step study. Finally I would have a chance to see a transformation in myself like so many others had said they’d experienced. I truly wanted achange in my heart. Ezekiel 36:26 says And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. I really wanted this although I was skeptical about it actually happening to me. I also didn’t want to stay like the world. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

    I started the class and could see myself keeping everyone at arms length like I usually do. It wasn’t that
    hard to miss one Tuesday early into our study. I really was feeling bad that evening, but it was certainly easy enough to just not show up that night. I have a life time membership in the isolation-is-my-favorite-place-to-be-club and it took MONTHS for me to break down the walls in my own head and try to make connections with the ladies in my class.

    Lesson 20, Inventory, seems to be the lesson that had the most impact on me. The last question for the
    chapter was “what are the recurring events or issues you are constantly needing to make amends for? The question goes on to break it down between family, friends, those you work with and your church or
    recovery group. When I answered this question at home I put that one BIG issue down: anger. If I
    thought about it, pretty much all my issues with my family and others boiled down to me not having a
    grip on my anger. When I faced this issue with just me and God at home one day, it’s like God finally had me where He needed me to be: stripped down of all my pride, in the past, every time I’d try to control my anger I would acknowledge that I couldn’t do it myself, but somehow I was still picking up the reins of control in attempt to handle the problem myself.

    “I just don’t want to be angry anymore.”

    I finally had done it. Let it go of the control. I remember saying over and over, I just can’t do it God, I
    just can’t do it God, I just can’t. You have got to help me. I would say that this time I finally got it in my spirit and I finally had peace about the matter. For the next few days when I was confronted with a challenging situation, I would repeat that prayer, “I can’t do it God, you have to help me.” And God
    was faithful and gave me the self control and peace I needed so that I could deal with my callers and with my husband.

    1 Corinthians 1:8-9 says, “He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on
    the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” While I can say that getting off the crazy anger train was pretty easy for work, I’m no longer hitting myself and swearing at callers, I’m far from being self actualized. This is all a work in progress for me and I want to continue maturing and learning how God want me to grow to become more like Jesus. I’m so thankful for the people at CR. I’m thankful for my good husband for sticking with me.

    1. Anonymous,
      Thank you SO much for sharing your story! Sanctification is a process – it is the way we learn to embrace what Jesus did for us and His power in real life and we will be continuing to learn more and more about this until we are in heaven.

      How I praise God that He is changing you and giving you so much victory over anger and filling you with His peace!

      WOOHOO! 🙂

  6. Job 36:21
    “Take care; do not turn to iniquity, for this you have chosen rather than affliction.”

    I considered this passage when I contemplated what anger is. Anger is obviously some kind of reaction to pain. At times when I’ve had a solid handle on understanding my feelings, I’ve recognized that I can choose to hurt and face grief or you can turn to anger just like any other sin. 🙁

    I think it’s similar to what Jesus said in the Beattitudes (Matthew 5:4).

    Wonderful post, PW. 🙂 I want to refer back to it repeatedly, I think.

    1. JC,

      I’m so glad this was a blessing. Yes, anger is usually a reaction to pain or fear – if we can deal with the underlying issues in a godly way, we can usually properly deal with the anger, too.

      Much love in Christ, my brother!

  7. Hello PeacefulWife,
    I am in a marriage where my wife shuts down on me very easily, we talked before about some very wrong stuff that was going on between her and another guy. But she really doesn’t even believe a wife is to acknowledge the husband as the head of the household, and she even had gone so far as to say th bible was translated by sexist and the original text probably doesn’t say, wives submit to your own husband as unto Christ. I really don’t ask for much, I rarely have a meal and I’m the bread winner, I have allowed her to have horrible house keeping habits. I do all the yard work and manual tasks around the house, fixing things, trash, etc, and I never really say much about her unless she starts bossing me around, then I’ll say, look how you never do the laundry or dishes and I do this, thus and thus, you buy whatever you want, do whatever you want. I mean there are piles of laundry in our master bath, the laundry room is full and I have to do my own laundry often just so I have work clothes or even underwear. My question is how can a woman who totally rejects the idea of the biblical structure of marriage, change her thinking our understanding? She will say I don’t love her just like Christ loved the Church so either way she doesn’t have to?

    1. Michael Higgins,

      That is a frustrating spot to be in, for sure, my brother.

      What is her relationship with Christ?

      Is she open to reading some books that address both husbands and wives? The book God used to open my eyes was Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs – it doesn’t go into headship/biblical submission. But it does lay the groundwork that God created husbands to thrive on respect and wives to thrive on love.

      If she is willing to read that, there are some other books I can suggest, as well.

      Ultimately, though, it is the power of the Holy Spirit that convicts people of sin and rebellion against God’s Word. He will have to open her eyes just like He opened mine.

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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