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"Be angry, and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil (Ephesians 4: 26--27 NKJV). Other Bible translations caution: do not give the enemy a foothold.
It's easy enough to rattle off this Bible verse to young married couples pouting over dirty dishes and overflowing waste bins, but how does it shake down for the woman in crisis due to betrayal/abuse?
In 2013, in the thick of divorce proceedings, I embarked on a path of forgiveness. A path requiring a treacherous trek through the five stages of grief, God willing, to be celebrated beneath a rainbow of acceptance overarching journey's end.
The 5 stages of grief, according to The Kubler-Ross model, are:
Here's an honest look at the anger I experienced in every stage:
- Denial: Anger expressed over trivial things due to my devastation over the minimization of the major things I could no longer deny.
- Anger: The outward expression (aka meltdowns) of inward pain caused by the blatant disrespect of a broken man, for me and the female gender.
- Bargaining: This was my "anger management" phase where like Esau (Genesis 27), I consoled myself with the thought of killing.
- Depression: In this stage I conceded to just how vulnerable a position I allowed myself to remain in for years, which included a parallel phase replete with rhetorical questions such as: Why did I eat, drink, smoke (nothing illegal), or text that? Followed with the tearful prayer: Jesus, please forgive me.
- Acceptance: In this stage I resolved to be angry, but I refused to allow the enemy's version of anger to define me. I took an intense feeling I could not redeem and placed it in the care and counsel of One who can. Turns out, Jesus was angry, too.
Anger was a staple emotion in every stage of grief for this bohemian bible-study girl gone wild with emotion. In The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships, Patrick Carnes, PH. D., writes, "Healthy anger expresses limitations--i.e., what is acceptable and what is not. Blaming anger recycles the history of betrayal and all the intense feelings that are part of a trauma bond."
We were created in the image of a loving God. A God with the capacity for anger. By design, it cannot go unfulfilled. The bohemian break-down in "don't let the sun go down on your anger" is simply: Be angry in the care of Light, where anger is put to good use. Don't be angry in the dark, where the enemy has his own ideas of it's full expression.
When I stopped trying to let go of the anger and allowed Light to hold me--angry me, I was empowered to believe that one day the sun would set on my personal anger (which often felt like a curse), and give way to a bright and shiny cause.
That cause is risen in me.
Be angry in the Light. What will rise in you?
You are not alone,
Published on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 @ 3:16 PM CDT