Saturday, March 14, 2015
Seventy Times Seven Times
What to do? I offer some suggestions.
1. It's OK to be angry. The purpose of anger is to obtain justice, not revenge. Properly expressing anger can lead both parties to the path of reconciliation. When the offender and the offended truly listen to each other this can happen, no matter how serious the offense. When the offended person communicates their hurt and anger it give the offender a chance to make amends.
2. Make sure that the offense is real and not perceived. My mother often said, "Never take offense where none is intended.
3. Reconciliation is not always possible, but forgiveness is always possible. Huh? What do I mean by this? Sometimes the other party refuses to participate in a process of reconciliation or is unable to. Why? They are mean and nasty. They are in the throes of addiction. They are severely mentally ill. They have moved far away. They are dead. When this happens the offended person is stuck with anger that now has no useful purpose. It will not get justice of even punish the offender. It becomes a spiritual cancer that eats away at the heart of the offended person.
4. One exception to the above is the addicted. If they get into recovery they will probably seek you out to make amends.
5. It is pride and ego that makes us hold on to anger--the need to have been right. You were right, dummy, but your anger is becoming bitterness and resentment and will do you no good.
6. The accumulation of resentment fills what I call "the anger baloon". This accumulation of resentment is the cause of things like road rage and ranting on social media and talk shows.
7. What to do with this resentment? Do not stuff it back in. Admit that it is there and pray to the Lord that it be taken away. Barring a miracle it will take time, but it will go away. My own balloon is greatly deflated because of following this step. Notice that I said greatly deflated. I will most likely take some of this to the grave but I am a much more peaceful man now than when I started doing this.
8.In the words of a popular hymn, "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me."