Archive for the ‘hope for the separated’ Category

Getting Rid of Bitterness

September 9, 2009

Have you ever heard the expression don’t get angry get even? Well, there may be a better way to deal with that unexpressed anger than vengeance. Let’s look at two negative ways and one positive way of responding to anger and bitterness.

First, there is unexpressed anger; holding it inside and letting it smolder. When we do this, the bitterness becomes like a malignant cancer slowly destroying the fiber of life. Then, there is uncontrolled expression of anger. Like an explosion it destroys everything in its range. Such an outburst is like an emotional heart attack and may produce permanent damage.

There is a better way. It begins by saying to yourself, “I’m extremely angry and bitter about what my spouse has done. But I will not allow their wrong to destroy me and I will not attempt to destroy them. I will turn my spouse over to God who is just, and I will release my anger and bitterness to God.” The Biblical challenge is “get rid of anger and bitterness” (Col. 3:8).

Confess to God that you have held your anger inside and that you are bitter. Ask His forgiveness for handling your anger in a sinful way. Then confess your bitterness to your spouse and ask forgiveness. Find a counselor or trusted friend who can help you release your spouse and your anger to God, in order to live a constructive life in the future. Let me admit that a one time confession of bitterness may not eliminate all hostile feelings. If the bitterness has been there a long time, the hostile feelings may die slowly.

Paul said, “Never pay back evil for evil… Never take your own revenge, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:17,19). You may have been greatly wronged by your spouse, but it is not your responsibility to punish them for their sin. They must face God with their sin, and God is a just judge. Verbal retaliation accomplishes no constructive purpose. Seeking the good of your mate, which the Bible calls love, has much potential for good.

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The Stand-off

April 29, 2009

It only takes one person to break the silence. Have you been standing off, refusing to give in and call, waiting for your spouse to make the first move? Why wait? An effort to communicate that you care, that you are open to working on the relationship may be all that it takes to get the process going.

“He failed me. Why should I try to reconcile with him?” That line of reasoning is perfectly normal, but not biblical. In Matthew chapter 18 Jesus instructs us to reach out to those who have sinned against us and seek reconcile. If they won’t turn from their sin, then we take someone with us and lovingly confront them again. If they still refuse to talk with us, then we turn them over to God. We pray for them. We seek to win them by the love of Christ in us.

Reconciliation is hard in any relationship, and it’s even harder in marriage. But God is good. He offers healing. If you and your spouse have been separated in the past but are now reconciled, share an encouraging story for others who may be in that situation right now.