This topic came up a while back in an online Bible study I am doing on Matthew, and it has come up again today on the topic of forgiveness. One of my strongest bents toward sin is to want to hurt people back when they hurt me. And to want to get overly emotional in my anger against people. It is something I have been fighting with God’s help for 34 years now of walking with Christ. Over the years, I have heard so much good teaching on this and I developed this list on “How to Overcome Anger and Hurt” (and forgive others) over the years, gleaning from various Bible verses and teachers. I want to memorialize this here on my poorly followed blog for my own remembrance, and to share with some friends from my present study who have asked me to share this.
How to Overcome Anger and Hurt
- Practice patience and stay silent.
- Renounce retaliation.
- Experience the pain with God.
- Remember your own salvation and forgiveness.
- Refuse to hate.
- Forgive offenders.
- Pray for those who hurt you.
There is much I could write on each point above, and I may revise this later or write another post about it. For now I will just say for me, with my bent toward yelling back at people in anger, with shockingly evil words, when I have been hurt or angered, especially if I am being wrongfully misjudged, — for me, I am learning to never speak back in the moment, but just remain silent until I have worked through all these steps before God, before going back to the person to try to explain my hurt and to talk it out. Many years ago, God gave me Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12 to meditate on for help in this (the Suffering Servant prophecy about Jesus). Especially Isaiah 53:7 which says:
He (Jesus) was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.Isaiah 53:7 (NASB).
In addition, this familiar verse is quite key, Romans 12:21 which says:
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.Romans 12:21, NASB.
I am still struggling with this bent toward sinning in anger, but often times I have overcome the temptation to a wrong response in anger by remembering these truths. Sometimes I still fail, but if I do sin against someone in this way, I can now go to the person I’ve sinned against by yelling at them sooner in repentance and get back on track with God sooner than I used to. My progressive sanctification process that I have written much about in earlier posts here remains a slow process. I am as always ever so grateful for my justification and salvation in Christ alone by grace through faith. And for God’s constant promise to forgive us of all of our sins if we repent to Him sincerely. I persevere. All my sins are forgiven. Thus, I will continually, with God helping me, forgive others as Jesus has commanded His followers to do. (See Matthew 18:21-35.)
I hope that by sharing this today, and by being willing to be so transparent about my own sinfulness, that it might be helpful and encouraging to someone. May God help us all.