Understanding Anger, Learning Forgiveness
Text: Ephesians 4:20-32
by Robert J. Young

Understanding Anger, Learning Forgiveness

We must understand the great principles of Christianity better. We must learn objective truth, subjective applications. Do we understand anger, forgiveness, the connection?

Forgiveness is simply releasing my right to be hurt. Forgiveness is not reconciliation. They are distinct, although related. Forgiveness is one thing, reconciliation another. Forgiveness is the ability to look through an event, past an event. Biblically, this is Joseph in the last chapter of Genesis. This is Jesus, 1 Pet. 2:21-24; Heb. 12:2-4.
Anger is unrealistic expectations unmet. This is simple, yet hard to accept. We think our expectations are realistic. We must rethink our motives, actions. Virtually all of us have unreal, unmet expectations from our childhood. How shall we respond?

Handling Anger Effectively
Our question today is how we can handle conflict without casualty. Specifically, how can marital conflict be handled to avoid terrible consequences? Is there a way we can handle anger to facilitate forgiveness and the restoration of relationship?
Consider four ways anger can be handled.

I. Express it.
This is usually called venting. Venting is the easiest response. Venting does the least to solve the problem. Venting gets anger out in the open and often makes the situation worse.

II. Suppress it.
This approach is prallel to a compressed spring. Eventually it explodes, and when it does it usually displaced.

III. Repress it.
I mean by this the failure to acknowledge anger, the tendency to misidentify it, to deny it. I am not angry. Or the tendency to justify self.

IV. Process it.
This means we must properly identify our anger. What is the source? What is this I am feeling? Is there a legitimate concern, or is this just me? Have I encouraged this feeling? Am I partly or wholly to blame? Only when we process properly can we begin to use anger productively. We can develop a plan of action by modifying our expectations.
Notice these in our text:

We seek wholeness, integrity. Therefore, notice vs. 31-32 which express the result. Here is the genuine ability to forgive.

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Last updated February 26, 2001.