I Have Every Right To Be Angry And Unforgiving - Loving Life Again After Divorce

I Have Every Right to Be Angry and Unforgiving

I had been lied to, betrayed, rejected and hurt by my spouse. I was heartbroken, confused, scared and sad, but after a while, all that heartbreak turned to anger. I was angry and unforgiving, and felt I had every right to be.

Day after day, the feeling of righteous anger would overpower the desires of my heart to forgive. Although I would ask God for the ability to give mercy and forgiveness, my long mental list of justifications for being angry would override my hollow prayer. It was as if voices in my head were arguing with each other, with one trying to convince me I was justified in feeling angry, and the other trying to convince me forgiveness was the best choice.

For months, the loudest voice was the one that partnered with my damaged human emotions, and unfortunately, was the one I listened to the most: ‘yes, I have a right to be angry; and yes, I deserve to feel anger toward him. Anyone would agree.’

However, as a result of listening to the wrong voice, my thoughts and emotions began to steal my peace and my ability to be happy. Because my mind was consumed with what had been done to me, it made it nearly impossible to be positive, much less enjoy life.

Then one morning while doing my bible study, I came across the verse in James 1:19, “You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” In this passage, James is imploring God’s people to understand the damage negative thoughts and emotions can cause. Notice how he says “everyone” should be slow to speak and slow to anger, leaving no room for excuses or righteous indignation from those who felt they had been wronged.

From a worldly perspective, I did have every right to be angry and unforgiving; but from a godly perspective, my anger and unforgiveness were holding me hostage to a lack of joy. The longer I felt justified in my anger and held onto it, the stronger the foothold the devil had in my heart and the tighter the chains became.

I realized right then and there I had been living in a state of oppression by the enemy, and it was affecting my entire life. I wanted to be free, even if it meant forgiving someone who I felt didn’t deserve my forgiveness, much less ask for it.

As I continued reading, I read James 1:22, “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” Through the words of James, God softened my heart, making me aware that although I had forgiven this person with my words, I had not truly forgiven with my heart. As a result, my habit of justifying my anger had caused an overflow of negative emotions to build up inside of me, choking out my happiness and preventing me from living my life abundantly and with the joy of my salvation.

In every area of our life, including managing our strongest emotions, God calls us to be ‘do-ers’ of his Word, not just ‘hear-ers,’ including forgiving others even when nothing in us wants to.

But I learned something through that experience. That forgiveness had set the prisoner free. And that prisoner was me. Forgiveness is a gift we give to ourselves, not our offender, and this gift opens the door to living with joy.

Dear Lord, please forgive me for harboring anger in my heart, even when it feels justified. Equip me with a supernatural ability to forgive those who have hurt me and to guard my heart when old emotions threaten to surface. Strip my heart of anger, and replace it with joy. Thank you for your mercy and for your forgiveness of my own sins. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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