As an active American family, we have made regular visits to the neighborhood urgent care. Thus we have a collection of casts, braces and splints to heal the hurts. But the contraption that confounds me the most is the walking boot. If you find yourself in agonizing pain from damaged muscles and ligaments, just slip your foot into this Velcro laced boot. Suddenly, the pain is reduced and you are up walking practically like nothing happened. But do you know what you discover after weeks or even months in the boot? Your foot has grown weaker, not just your hurt muscles but your healthy muscles too. I guess that’s the price we pay for relieving pain.
But who wouldn’t try to relieve pain? Pain relief is a high priority not only for physical pain but emotional pain too. A broken relationship, a disloyal friend or an abusive family member can bring searing pain that can last for months, years or even a lifetime. Too often the response to being hurt emotionally is to wrap the pain in anger. Sometimes anger feels SO good. Being hurt feels weak and vulnerable but anger can feel empowering and rejuvenating. But like wearing a walking boot, the longer you wear your anger around your pain, the more you come to rely on this false sense of strength. The tendency is to hold tighter to your anger because if you let it go, you might find other parts of your life have grown weak. Like your faith.
Here’s the truth: Your anger is not protecting you. It’s diminishing you.
When you are receiving strength from your anger, you are not receiving strength from your God. To receive strength from God, you need to have faith that God can heal you even from an unforgivable hurt. How? Through you forgiving the one who hurt you. Colossians 3:13 says “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” I don’t know about you, but this is the last verse I want to see when I am so hurt and angry that I can’t even be in the same room with the person, much less look at them. This verse screams for me to do something that’s impossible for me to do. Let’s face it, forgiving an unforgivable hurt comes only from Christ living within us.
Even knowing Christ is with you, this type of healing is difficult to picture. What if you could look back at the pain in your life knowing that it did not overcome you but God led you to overcome it? What if you could see Jesus dying on the cross not just for your sins but for the sins of the person that hurt you? What if you were healed of an unforgivable hurt- would you still need your anger?
The time has come to shed you anger like an injured foot is ready to shed its walking boot. Don’t let your anger keep you from the glorious healing God has in store for you. Free of anger, free of hurt…free indeed.