Monday, November 30, 2009

Out-of-Control Anger

While some people suppress their anger, others express it openly and aggressively.

"I went by my husband's office that day to get my frustration out. I took a rock and smashed it through the windshield of his car. Then I got in my car, and I drove off," says Betsy.

Angie says, "My coping mechanism when I'm hurt is to lash out. I remember my ex calling several times, and I would just rage at him. I can't believe the things I actually said; I'd just completely cuss him out and tell him what a horrible person he was. That was very hurtful. That was very damaging."

The problem with aggression is that it often leads to sin. If your anger is justified, then practice expressing it in a neutral, safe setting alone or with someone who will not fuel your anger but will just listen. If an unexpected situation occurs that ignites your anger, decide right now that you will hold your tongue and wait for an appropriate moment and mindset to release it.

"The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires" (Galatians 5:19-24).

Don't Stuff It

Some people deal with anger by suppressing it. They may do this because they have been taught it is wrong to express emotions that might cause conflict. Others want to appear successful at coping. Some just don't realize they have a lifetime habit of pushing down troublesome emotions.

"When I first got involved in a divorce recovery program, I didn't realize I was suppressing anger," admits Joe. "I thought that it was a sin to be angry, and I didn't want to displease the Lord in any way; then I realized that the Lord gives us justifiable anger. It's healthy to be angry."

Susan says, "At first I suppressed my anger because I was raised to believe that anger was not an appropriate way to express your frustrations. Then finally it broke. It came flying out. I had emotions and feelings that I never had experienced before, and they surprised me. I didn't realize that I could have that much rage and frustration inside my body."

Psalm 18 describes circumstances in which God showed righteous anger at David's enemies for what they were doing to David.

"The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he [God] was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. . . . Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning. The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded" (Psalm 18:7-8, 12-13).

Dealing with Anger

Over the next few days we will look at ways to deal with anger. Some of these responses are healthy and some are unhealthy. Harriet has chosen a healthy response to anger. She shares, "I am building a relationship with my heavenly Father like I never dreamed possible. I have realized through all of this that I can talk real straight with God because He already knows who I am. He already knows the thoughts and the feelings that are in the deep recesses of my mind and my heart.

"Do you know what it feels like to be able to say, 'God, I really hate my husband's guts, and I hate his mistress, and I wish that his major body parts would fall off'? I am able to speak honestly with the one Person who has the power to help me to grow beyond that. I know I have nothing to hide from my precious Father because He already knows me."

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of talking honestly with God and building a relationship with Him. God knows you intimately, more than any person ever will. Talk with Him daily as you go about your business at home, at work, and at night in bed. He is always available to listen, and He wants to hear from you.

"Pray continually" (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Thursday, November 26, 2009

You are to use accurate scales, an accurate ephah and an accurate bath. – Ezekiel 45:10

This is a guest post from Pastor Garry Mullen

Have you ever heard the one about the honest used car salesman? He died of loneliness. Okay, bad joke – and before all the used car salesmen start to throw rocks at my blog – please remember that I used to be you. But we also have to admit that there are certain professions that seem to have a natural affinity toward being seen as dishonest (you could add lawyers and real estate agents to the list.) And maybe even with an expectation of dishonesty comes the understanding that it is allowable to be dishonest.

But that has never been God’s understanding. In a time when it was a common practice to shave on the measurements, God said no. Your measurements are to be accurate. Honesty is expected. There is never a time when dishonesty is the appropriate response.

Sometimes in our lives it can appear that honesty is too hard to be practiced. We fudge on the little things, lie on our resumes – all in an effort just to get by. We excuse it by telling ourselves that everyone does it – the behavior is okay and expected. It is an attitude that needs to change. It is an attitude that says that I am more important than you.

I am convinced that we are designed for community – which means that you are as important as I am. In fact, I need you. But dishonesty is a sin against the community – it will tear us apart. And in the end, it weakens me. Community is too important to put at risk.

In whatever you do today, recognize the importance of the community that you live in – and the need to live in an honest manner. It keeps the fabric of our community alive and vibrant. And it honors the God we serve.

Source of Anger: Feelings of Inferiority

Dr. Les Carter says, "Anger is closely tied to your sense of well-being as a person and closely tied to your feeling of worthiness. The less worthy you feel, the more likely you are to try to compensate for that by laying into someone, by blaming or accusing him or her, and that's where your inferiority feelings can show themselves as anger."

Rose Sweet says, "In divorce you are forced to realize that some people may never love you. You had better find someone who always did love you and always will love you. That's only one person—that's God.

"If you feel like you're a failure, you're forgetting God. You are looking at yourself either through your own human eyes or other people's eyes. You have to quit doing that. Realize that you are so precious and so loved and that you are not alone. He wants to help you. He wants to heal you. You may have failed, but you are not a failure."

Your identity and your self-esteem are found in a relationship with the Lord. Build your life's center on a solid foundation. Having a strong foundation will enable you to sustain whatever troubles come your way.

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed" (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Source of Anger: Loneliness

Loneliness is an expected response when going through a divorce, but you might be surprised to learn that loneliness can contribute to anger. You may be feeding your anger with thoughts that you are lonely because no one understands you or no one wants to be with you. You are angry because you are alone, and why should you have to be alone?

Dr. Les Carter explains, "The longer you are disconnected from other people or the more you feel misunderstood, a powerful sense of anger can come in." Dr. Carter says to be careful to not allow any of your emotions, including loneliness and anger, to build up to such a high pitch that they become out of control and harmful.

Be aware that your loneliness can lead to anger. When you are overwhelmed with loneliness, make it a habit to call or visit a friend or relative, and be honest with them about your feelings.

Rob Eagar says, "When you're experiencing pain or deep rejection, it is okay to ask for help. It was a big thing for me to realize it's okay to tell my friends or my family: 'I am hurting right now. I need your help.' Don't try to be an island or live in a cave. Get out and get involved and let people know that you could really use their support and involvement right now."

Turn to the Lord, who is always with you, and choose not to let your emotions build up to a breaking point.

"Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20 NLT).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Source of Anger: Fear

What fears do you have as a result of your divorce?

Sue shares, "I felt desperate and extremely fearful. Satan would always try to attack me with fear. Fear that I couldn't make it on my own. Fear that my former husband was going to take the children. Fear that I would not ever be emotionally well again."

Fear can be a source of anger, and fear is triggered when a person feels threatened emotionally.

"Fear can cause you to have a great sense of agitation," says Dr. Les Carter. "Consider a dog, for example, that barks at somebody on the other side of the fence. The bark sounds like the dog is angry, but in fact, it may be that the dog is kind of afraid and is just trying to make it sound like it's stronger than it really is."

You don't have to be strong or confident or self-sufficient. God wants you to depend on His strength, and He will be victorious through you. Try depending on God today. When fear threatens to come into your mind, choose a Bible verse to repeat again and again. Claim that verse and watch God work. You might want to pick one of the verses below, or you can look in a concordance for the word "fear" and find another Scripture that might be meaningful for you.

"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us" (Romans 8:37).

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Monday, November 23, 2009

Source of Anger: Pride

Divorce hurts your pride, and wounded pride can lead to anger.

You may be angry with your former spouse
* for not trying hard enough to make the marriage work
* for making it public that he or she is rejecting you
* for seeming to disregard what was good in the marriage
* for making you look foolish because you didn't know what was going on
* for putting you in an awkward social position

"You plan to spend fifty years with a person," says James, "and the next thing you know life is cut out from underneath you. I would say the anger comes from wanting vindication, wanting justification, and wanting to prove to other people that it was a good marriage."

You naturally want to be accepted. You want other people to approve of and respect you. But in divorce, egos get bruised. You are forced into socially uncomfortable positions. Past friendships no longer fit. Your life and your problems are suddenly exposed and seem to be an open forum for other people to discuss and offer their advice and opinions on. You wonder just how much friends, family, or coworkers have known about the situation all along.

It is okay to want to be accepted, but know that divorce does result in hurt pride. Do not be concerned about what people are saying or thinking about you, and don't let your pride be a source of uncontrolled anger at your former spouse.

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom" (Proverbs 11:2).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Source of Anger: Self-Inflicted

Some anger can be self-inflicted, brought on by your own actions and wrong decisions.

"You want to feel loved and accepted," says Dr. Les Carter. "As a result, you may find yourself more susceptible to sexual acting out, or maybe you have started hanging around a more unsavory crowd and engaging in social activities you might never have done before. These actions result in 'self-inflicted wounds,' which can later cause you to feel anger because you have a neediness that is pushing you to live in ways that you normally wouldn't choose."

When you give in to sexual or other temptations, your pain is numbed for a short time, but you remember what you did for a long time, and it can make you angry. If you have already given in to temptation and are feeling guilty or angry, stop. There is no need to dwell on what has been done. Turn to God for forgiveness and forgive yourself.

When you ask God to forgive a sin, He forgives you thoroughly. This is extremely difficult for our human nature to comprehend, as we like to remember and rehash things in our minds. God's Word says there is "no condemnation" for those who seek forgiveness through Jesus Christ. You must be an imitator of Christ and stop blaming yourself when you have already been forgiven. God is not pleased with self-condemnation because that is not how He taught us to behave.

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:1-2).

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Source of Anger: Mythical Thinking

Holding on to idealistic views of life can be a source of anger for you. Perhaps you have been holding on to dreams, which are now only myths. By clinging to what you can no longer have, you are feeding your frustration.

"My white picket fence was falling down, and I had four children who needed two parents, and one was emotionally not there," says Sue.

Everyone has ideals and expectations of life. When some of your beliefs prove false, you are confused and despairing. In order to protect yourself, you hold on to whatever shreds are left of that ideal, and you begin to feel angry because what you had believed in with all your heart is falling apart around you. You are angry with the person who helped destroy your dreams, and you are angry with yourself for believing those dreams in the first place.

Dr. Les Carter says, "Mythical thinking is a refusal to acknowledge ugly truth. Ugly truth tends not to finds its way in all these fairy tales."

One fantastic characteristic of God is that He is truth. When God promises you a dream or an ideal to look forward to, you can believe that it will come to pass. Search God's Word to find His promises to you. Trust Him because He will never let you down.

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Friday, November 20, 2009

Source of Anger: Others Are Trying to Control You

When you feel you are in control of a given situation, you have a sense of security. When others try to take over that control, you instinctively rebel.

Dr. Les Carter gives this example: "Enter into your life someone who says, 'I don't like the way you do things. We're going to do things my way.'

"That happens frequently in a divorce. Another person may start making decisions that directly affect you, that are way out of bounds from what you believe. He or she may say things about you behind your back. You feel like you're constantly scrambling, trying to figure out what to say in rebuttal. You feel controlled.

"When that occurs, your natural desire is to want to recapture control. You can find yourself in a power play: 'You've got control over me. I want to prove I can have control back over you.' Before you know it, you get pulled into frustrating circumstances, the net result being anger.

"If you want to let go of some of the anger, then let go of it by realizing you can't control other people. You may not like what they have to say or how they are acting, but that's not something you can control."

You are always the one who controls how you react to a situation. Your attitude, your words, and your actions are all the result of decisions made by you. Focus on controlling yourself, and walk on a higher plane than those who are negative, petty, or domineering.

"From the ends of the earth I call to you [God], I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I" (Psalm 61:2).

Thursday, November 19, 2009


On a scale of one to ten, with one being "no confidence in myself whatsoever" and ten being "completely confident in myself," rate your current level of self-worth.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

This number has likely lowered since the divorce process began. Having your self-worth threatened by another individual, especially someone you trusted, can be debilitating. Your mind probably plays tricks on you, and that is Satan's influence.

"Satan was involved in this process," says Rob Eagar. "He would whisper thoughts into my mind, such as This is the end of the world. This is your last chance at love. You have no hope in life anymore. Thoughts like that weighed me down.

"I learned that I have to renew my mind with the truth, which is in God's Word. I realized that there is hope, that God loves me, and my self-esteem is not based on whether another person loves me or rejects me. My self-esteem is based on the love that Christ has for me."

You are the one who is in charge of what you think about. When thoughts come into your mind that are negative and bring you down, you must renew your mind by replacing the bad thoughts with good ones immediately. This will help build your self-esteem.

God's Word tells us to keep our minds focused on things that are right and good.

"Finally, brothers, 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).

Jesus, You love me so much that You died on the cross to save me from sin and death. I want to focus on Your love and find my strength and self-worth in You. Amen.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Source of Anger: Overdependence on Others

By identifying the causes of your anger, you will be better prepared to handle your anger when it arises. Anger can stem from several sources. One source is an overdependence on other people.

You were born dependent on others for many things, including affirmation and love. As you grew, you learned that some people are dependable and some are not. You may also have discovered that too much dependence on another person can be unhealthy. In a divorce situation, one spouse will sometimes depend too much on the other to meet his or her emotional needs, and this can result in great frustration and anger for both.

You do not need to depend on your former spouse for your emotional well-being. Depend on God. He knows that you need love, affirmation, and a human touch. He will make sure that you get it and that it comes from the right source.

"This is what the LORD says: 'Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD. . . . But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit'" (Jeremiah 17:5, 7-8).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Straight Talk with God

In the Bible, David was a warrior and king who often wrote songs and prayers to God. He was never afraid to pour out his heart to the Lord. David expressed his deep pain, frustration, hurt, shame, and confusion, but he always ended his cries of despair by declaring that God is good, He is still in control, and He is worthy to be praised and honored.

In this psalm, note how David did not monitor his words when talking to God. He was not worried that he would shock or offend God. He said exactly what he was feeling.

"O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer. . . . All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads. . . . I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. . . . I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. . . .

"But you, O LORD, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me. Deliver my life . . . Rescue me . . . save me. . . . . For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. . . . . They who seek the LORD will praise him" (Psalm 22:2, 7, 14-15, 17, 19-21, 24, 26).

Monday, November 16, 2009

Let It Out

"It's okay to be angry at God when you've been divorced," says Dr. Myles Munroe. "Go to God. Shout at Him. Tell Him you hate it. Tell Him how you feel. God's not upset. He wants you to release that anger, to Him. That's why the Bible says, 'Be angry and sin not.' God wants you to tell Him how you feel so lonely and how you got the bad end of the deal. Lock yourself up in your bedroom and scream at God. You've got to let it out."

This deliberate act of expressing anger in a safe place should be done in private, just between you and God. Use it as a time to really talk out your issues with God. You never have to worry about saying the wrong thing with God.

If you are a parent, you will need to be wise in how you release your anger. Choose a time and place when your children are not present. You don't want to scare them!

It may help to have a regularly scheduled time when you close the door and release your anger in shouts and tears. This will help you train yourself to express anger at appropriate times and in appropriate places; the best time is not when you are immediately reacting to someone's words or actions. As weeks and months go by and you have spent regular time with God expressing your emotions, you will find that the worst of your anger has been effectively spent.

"Cry out from anguish of heart and wail in brokenness of spirit" (Isaiah 65:14).

"Therefore groan, son of man! Groan before them with broken heart and bitter grief" (Ezekiel 21:6).

Sunday, November 15, 2009

When Is Anger a Sin?

If God says to be angry but not to sin, how do you know when your anger has crossed the line of sin?

Anger is sinful when it rises up quickly, taking over rational thought. Ecclesiastes 7:9 says, "Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools."

Betsy says, "I saw his car and I took a big rock and I smashed it through the windshield, and that was just a release of the anger. It was humiliating. It was a big mistake. I shouldn't have done that."

Juaria shares from her experience: "When you've been abused, you sometimes lie in bed and think about how you can get that person back. I remember one time thinking that I would wait until my husband was sleeping and boil some hot water and get him back for good. That was the wrong thing to do. Prayerfully, I considered my thoughts, and God really convicted me and made me understand that it's not for me to get him back. God is the One who has control over that."

Anger is a sin when it is accompanied by bitterness, blame, and unforgiveness. "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger" (Ephesians 4:31).

Anger is wrong when it stirs up arguments and produces controversy. "An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins" (Proverbs 29:22).

Anger must not be stored up within you for any extended period of time.

"Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry" (Ephesians 4:26).

Friday, November 13, 2009

Is Anger Bad or Sinful?

Most people are quick to point out the negative aspects of anger, but being angry is not always bad. Some people have been taught that anger is sinful, that it is not pleasing to God. Anger itself is not a sin; it is a natural, God-given response.

Ephesians 4:26-27 says, "Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity" (NASB). God tells us in this verse to go ahead and get angry, but He also tells us not to sin in our anger.

"There may be times when the anger can be fully appropriate," says Dr. Les Carter. "There may be times when the anger is necessary or required. It all depends on why you're angry, what you're doing with your anger, and what the purpose of it is. You need to be judicious in your use of anger."

The Scriptures teach much about God's character, and there are several instances in the Bible when God is angered.

"The LORD's anger burned against Israel and he made them wander in the desert forty years, until the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight was gone" (Numbers 32:13).

"If you violate the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, the LORD's anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land he has given you" (Joshua 23:16).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Anger: The Emotion of Self-Preservation

Has your former spouse threatened your sense of self-worth? Sue says, "Probably the worst day is when I confronted him and said, 'I could jump out of the second story window and splatter myself on the street, and I think you would probably be happy. There was no response from him except for, 'That's not true.' By the expression on his face I could tell his heart; there really were no feelings there."

Does your former spouse acknowledge your needs?

Harriet says, "It dawned on me one day. Why should he change? Why should he get rid of the other woman? He had the best of both worlds. He had a loving wife who kept his home clean and neat and entertained well; she had a good job and a beautiful son and was well respected in the community. Then he had his other life with his mistress. He was like a cat with a great big bowl of cream in front of him."

Has your former spouse flagrantly ignored your convictions?

When your self-worth is threatened or your convictions are being trampled on, you will want to lash out. Anger deriving from self-preservation can be justified as long as you are expressing it in a way that is healthy. Start by bringing your anger to God. He can handle it.

"Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7 NASB).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Defining Anger

Dr. Les Carter says that having anger means standing up for your own worth, needs, and convictions.

"You don't get angry when folks are kind, pleasant, or understanding. Anger shows up when someone has rejected you or is being uncooperative, or when a person is being critical, harsh, or difficult to get along with. When anger appears on the scene, it arouses your sense of self-preservation.

"You want to preserve one of three things. You want to preserve your worth as a human being; your anger can be your way of wishing to say, 'Please, show me some respect, will you?' Anger can be your way of preserving your basic needs: 'Recognize that I have needs, and acknowledge them, please.' Or anger can be a way that you stand up for your deepest convictions. It is your way of saying, 'I believe in things, and I don't want to back away from them.'"

You will feel anger at some point in your divorce. Do not try to deny or suppress this emotion. God does not condemn you for your anger when it is justified. God Himself is described as "slow to anger"—not "never angry."

"And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, 'The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness'" (Exodus 34:6).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Angry with God

"At first I was very angry with God," says Sherry. "I thought, 'God, I've always gone to church. I did everything right. I tried to do all the things You wanted. I went to Sunday school. I taught classes. Then You let this happen to me."

It is natural to feel angry with God. Do not feel guilty about your anger. Instead, express your feelings straight to God. Rant and rave and cry out to Him, but then realize that He is God. He loves you very much, and He is not the one to blame for your circumstances.

In the Bible, Job was a righteous man who underwent great pain, loss, and suffering. Job was not afraid to express his confusion and despair to God.

At one point he said, "I loathe my own life; I will give full vent to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. I will say to God, 'Do not condemn me; Let me know why You contend with me; Is it right for You indeed to oppress, to reject the labor of Your hands, and to look favorable on the schemes of the wicked? . . . According to Your knowledge I am indeed not guilty, yet there is no deliverance from Your hand'" (Job 10:1-3, 7 NASB).

Although Job did not understand why he had to live through this horrific pain, he did not waver in his faith. Job later said:

"Though He [God] slay me, I will hope in Him" (Job 13:15 NASB).

Monday, November 9, 2009

Why Is the Anger So Deep?

Because . . .

You loved your spouse with all your heart.

You gave so much of yourself to him/her.

You worked at the relationship.

You trusted your spouse.

You were faithful.

You went to church, believed in God, and tried to live right.

You thought you'd be together forever.

"You never think that you're going to get kicked in the teeth, but stuff happens, and you do," says Joanne.

"Your feelings are going to be overpowering sometimes, but I think people are much worse off if they don't let those feelings rage through their bodies. You have to rage, pounding your fists. You have to scream, whine, moan, and complain to your nearest and dearest friends; you have to do whatever you can to let it pass through your system."

Divorce brings an abrupt end to things that you thought were good, right, and secure in your life. Now you aren't sure which parts of your married life were real and which parts were only illusions. You are not wrong to feel anger. Justified anger can be a good and necessary response.

Jesus showed righteous anger when he saw people buying and selling their goods in the temple, making a profit from religious activities rather than revering God.

"Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 'It is written,' he said to them, 'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it a 'den of robbers'" (Matthew 21:12-13).

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Anger in Divorce

Anger can root deeply, grow quickly, and choke out your emotional health. Unless you cut away at your anger and learn to express it in a healthy manner, it can cause great harm to you and to others around you.

"I wanted to hurt him as badly as he hurt me," shares Joanne. "My anger was big, and it was black. It made me want to kill him. I knew I wouldn't, but I wanted to. I had enough knowledge to know that my anger was going to eventually eat me alive. Acid corrodes, as people say. That's when I knew that I had to direct my anger or learn to control it or dissipate it."

You may feel guilty about the extreme thoughts your anger is leading you to have. Be assured that these thoughts are normal for a person who is going through a divorce.

Howard shares, "I had tremendous guilt over some feelings I had, just awful and violent things I wanted to do to get even. It was such a relief to know that the things I'm feeling—the depression, the suicidal thoughts, the anger, and the violent thoughts are something common to this situation, something that can be faced and overcome."

If you are in a divorce, you will at some point feel anger. The extent of that anger will vary from person to person, but God commands everyone to be wise in anger.

"A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control" (Proverbs 29:11).

Saturday, November 7, 2009


If you were brought to a hospital with a serious injury, you would want the best doctors, the best specialists, the best care you could get to help you recover. While there, you might have to make some hard choices. The doctors might tell you that it takes painful surgery to help in your healing. That's a choice you'd likely agree to.

This scenario can be compared to your divorce situation. You did not choose to be injured through divorce, but it happened. Now, you want the best care possible in your recovery. The best restorative care may involve pain, rest, rehabilitation, and a long recovery time.

"Healing is never instantaneous," says Rose Sweet. "It happens in layers. The first thing is you wake up some day and you feel a little bit better, maybe not as depressed. You're able to get through the day without crying or thinking about your ex. Then the next day, you might feel bad again. Take one day at a time."

"Give yourself a season of time to recuperate," says Paula Rinehart.

"Deliberately build into each week something that feels generally replenishing—it might be going to a museum once a week or having coffee with a friend. Do not go from one day to the next on automatic pilot, but intentionally recuperate."

God is the Great Physician. He will restore you if you choose to accept His care.

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak" (Isaiah 40:28-29).

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Relationship with Christ

If having a relationship with Jesus Christ is the key to having God's presence in your life, then it's important to understand how to have such a relationship. This is the most important step you can take to experience personal healing.

"The most important decision anybody will ever make is to have a relationship with Jesus Christ," shared Larry Burkett. "That relationship, I'll guarantee you, will never fail you. Even though the other relationship has failed, the relationship with Jesus Christ will never fail. He's faithful even though all of us are unfaithful. He says, 'I will still be faithful to you.'"

Danny says, "Give Him a chance. Seek God. Seek Christ. He'll prove to you that He's sufficient. It's hard to explain how that relationship works, and sometimes He feels so far away. But He's right beside you, and for the person who doesn't believe in Christ as Savior, I would say give it a chance. Find out for yourself."

The Bible says that "if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved'" (Romans 10:9). It also says that "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Romans 10:13).

If you would like to have a saving, healing relationship with Jesus Christ, pray these words with a sincere heart:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Jesus' Role in Your Recovery

A relationship with Jesus Christ is the foundation for healing.

"The presence of Christ gives you a greater depth of meaning to life, of feeling loved," says H. Norman Wright. "When somebody rejects you, you can turn to the Scriptures, and you can read what it says there and realize that in spite of what's happened here, God's love is so great that if you had been the only person ever created here on earth, He still would have sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for you, and that means you are really special. You are loved."

Marie shares, "I believe that a broken heart can only be mended by the Person who made it. I wasn't truly happy before I knew Christ, before I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior. I was spinning around on the merry-go-round, but I wasn't really having a good time. Now He's all that I need. It's an absolute fact of my life, and I wouldn't have it any other way."

Todd says, "Even when you don't feel that God is there, He is. There are going to be periods where you feel so dry and you feel like He's not there. He'll never, ever leave you, and you have to trust that. There were times when I felt like He wasn't there in my heart, but I knew in my head that He would never leave me."

Having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is essential to your healing.

"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12).

How Do You Know If You've Recovered?

Anytime you do not feel anger, blame, self-pity, bitterness, or resentment, then you are experiencing recovery. If you think of your former spouse less often than you used to, this is a sign of recovery. If you are living in the present more than you are dwelling in the past, you are recovering. When you look back and see where you have been, that means you are in a position of recovery. The peace of Christ indicates recovery.

"I look back and think, 'Wow, I'm not in that hole anymore. I'm almost to the rim. I'm peeping over the edge here,'" says Howard.

"You have peace," says Dr. Robert Abarno. "That's the way you know you are in the center of God's directive will. God's peace passes all understanding."

Gary Richmond shares a story that a friend told him: "Gary, last night I was watching television, and I laughed right out loud. I said to myself, How can I be laughing? I'm being divorced." Gary's response to his friend was "This is a sign that you're healing. Let it happen."

Recovery does not mean you will not feel pain again. Painful moments will occur unexpectedly for several years. Be aware that this will happen, and when those painful moments hit you, be prepared to deal with them by countering them with prayer, Scripture, positive memories, or reaffirming statements. You can always look back and see how far you've come.

"Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow" (Jeremiah 31:13).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Recovery Is a Choice

You may not have had a choice in your losses, but you do have a choice in your recovery. You can choose what attitude you will have about your experiences. There are two basic attitudes to choose from. The first is one of bitterness and defeat—emotions that can stay with you for the rest of your life. The second attitude is one where you choose to work through your feelings and learn how to be a better person and what steps you should take to get there.

Which attitude will you choose? Bitterness and defeat, or working through your problems and learning from them?

"That's when I realized I either had to choose to die or I had to choose to come through this," says Sue. "It probably would have been easier to die, except for the responsibility of four children. So at that point I said, 'I have to make it,' and I started the uphill battle."

Don says, "I had to get myself out of that pity pot and really focus on where my life needed to be, on the kids and on repairing my life the way that Jesus Christ says to."

Jesus suffered tremendously during his life on earth, but He always chose to see it through because He knew the rewards of moving forward.

"Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God" (1 Peter 4:1-2).

Monday, November 2, 2009

What Is Recovery?

If recovering from loss, from the pain in your life, is one of your goals, it is important to define recovery.

"You're running along and you trip and you hit the ground. Recovery can mean just getting up and moving on," says H. Norman Wright.

Dr. Robert Abarno says, "I think recovery means that you're aware of your losses. The awareness that you never want to experience that pain again is a positive thing. Recovery is turning back to Jesus. He redeems you from your sins. He sets you free. He gives you new life in Him. That's the only way I know that you can recover. There is no other way."

Recovery occurs on many levels. It involves forward movement, and that movement is usually slow and painful. Recovery involves an awareness of your losses, an acknowledgment that you must grieve, and the difficult process of grieving your losses. Recovery is only complete through Jesus Christ, who gave His life on the cross to save you.

Receiving God's comfort and restoration begins with turning to Him and turning away from your sins. Pray that God will reveal to you any sinful areas of your life that you need to address.

"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5).

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Forgive Yourself

You become your own greatest enemy when you do not forgive yourself.

"Sometimes it's hard to forgive yourself after divorce because you don't want to admit you did anything wrong," says Rose Sweet, "and because the other person is usually pointing the finger at you or other people are putting you down for your failure in the marriage. That's giving God-like power to all those people who are putting you down. Just stop. Go to God and say, 'Lord, show me what I've done wrong. Help me seek forgiveness, and help me let go of everyone else's opinion of me.'"

"The most difficult person to forgive may be yourself," says Doug Easterday, "because you were there when you made mistakes, and you remember your attitude and the inappropriate things you have done, said, or even thought. But forgiving yourself is such an important arena. It means that you choose to walk in the higher realm."

Forgiveness is a process that will take time, and it is also a choice. Decide that you will forgive yourself just as God forgives you, even when you don't feel you deserve it. One awesome characteristic of God is that you don't have to measure up to certain standards to deserve His love. You don't have to follow certain rules or act in a particular way. He loves you no matter what you have done. God sees you inside and out, and He continues to extend His love and forgiveness to you.

"I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name" (1 John 2:12).

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

Ask the Holy Spirit's Help

You can never see the big picture in any given situation. Only God sees your circumstances from all perspectives and contexts. As a result you often pray for the wrong things. You tend to pray for what seems best to you.

One unique aspect of the Christian walk is that God has given you His Holy Spirit to help you make right decisions and to guide your prayers. The Bible says that "the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express" (Romans 8:26).

"It wasn't until my relationship with Christ grew stronger that I could stand firm and give my former spouse over to the Lord," says Ginny. "I wasn't responsible for him anymore, and I wasn't his mother. I didn't have to take care of him. That was very hard not to do. I still felt I had to fix him and help him, but that wasn't my job when we were married, and it's not my job now."

You might be avoiding the real problem in your life. The Holy Spirit can help reveal to you the root cause of your problems. Ask the Holy Spirit to direct your prayers.

"You want something but don't get it. . . . You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives" (James 4:2-3).