I thought I had forgiven them.
But night after night I woke suddenly, flooded with memories that came to me as vividly as the day the incident happened.
My breathing would quicken, my heart would plummet, and then the tears would flood my pillow. Eventually, the dreams would lessen, but try as I may, I couldn't stop remembering the horrible situation or question how someone could be so bent on hurting me.
I genuinely felt no desire for revenge. In fact, I had tried my best to reach out-to make peace.
They weren't interested.
I meant them no harm and often prayed for them that God would work in their hearts-even bless them. I considered ways I could do good towards them-as difficult as that seemed at the time. I was exercising a supernatural kind of love-the kind of love that chooses to do so against every natural instinct. A love that seeks to glorify God and embody His strength in my weakness.
So why was the hurt still there? Why was I still feeling so indignant and at times….ANGRY?
Had I not forgiven them after all?
The anger I felt surprised me. Try as I may, I couldn't get rid of the anger.
The answer came to me recently. In Genesis 3, God speaks to Satan and tells him that He is placing “enmity” between mankind and himself as a punishment for tempting Adam and Eve in the Garden.
Enmity means “a violent hostility” or “the strongest kind of hatred” that mankind is capable of exercising.
Essentially, God gave us enmity between us and Satan so that we would HATE what is evil and direct our anger in a righteous way-towards our enemy, the Devil. Instead of trying to eradicate our anger, we need to redirect it.
“To realize love’s ideal, we must love and hate-we must learn to properly wield both violent love toward people and violent hatred toward evil and the enemy who creates it, both at the same time and both equally well.”
Isn't that freeing?!
The coinage, “Hate the sin, love the sinner” rings truer in this light, doesn't it? God is our Healer and He does give us total freedom from our sorrows-but sometimes, the offenses and hurts in our lives take time to heal. I’m thankful that we can be patient in that process and not add guilt to our mentality when we still feel anger over sin and its effects on us in this world. Instead of focusing on getting rid of my anger, the anger I felt simply needed to be placed where it was due-towards my true enemy.
I believe this applies very closely in my everyday life as a mother too. I currently co-manage a group for The MOB Society that helps moms deal with anger and yelling towards their children. In 6 months, we have swelled to more than 6,000 members.
The need is great.
Moms (and Dads!) struggle with anger on a regular basis. The Truth about enmity applies here too. Why are we flying off the handle when our kids lie to us? Why do we erupt when they disobey us? And how do we break the cycle of anger and yelling?
If this is a struggle for you, PLEASE watch this video where I explain enmity and anger even further and apply it to the relationship between parent and child. Take a moment to pause and pray before watching and ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart to what He would have for you.
Is this freeing for you too? Are you able to have better self-control over your anger when you know that it is really a gift and a healthy emotion that God has instilled in us? Does it make more sense now how you can be angry…and NOT sin?
YOUR TURN! Perhaps you have some redirecting to do. I would be honored to pray for you. Would you let me know how I can pray for you as you reflect on anger and enmity in the light of forgiveness or as a parent?