TALKING ABOUT the hurt with one or two supportive persons also works when processing anger. However, help from family and friends can be either productive or nonproductive. Such help funcitons best when others are honest with us and when we use their help to make changes, not to feed a sense of being right. It is not useful to complain endlessly to family and friends about how poorly we have been treated, to insist that they take our side, and to continue rehearsing the grievance.
Another method of releasing anger is writing a letter that you will not send. Writing reduces the strength of the anger and brings clarity about exactly what happened, what you feel, and why. You write a letter, usually a series of letters, to the family member who has hurt you. In the letter you say all you want to convey to that person but know that it would be unwise to communicate directly. Here are suggestions for making the process most effective:
- Place yourself in God’s presence as you begin, asking for the healing that you and this person need. Remind yourself that you will not hurt the person or others by writing, since you do not intend to send this letter.
- Address the person directly by name, just as you would in any letter. You do not need to start with the word Dear, since that word probably does not honestly express your feeling. Pour out all you have to say without editing or censoring yourself. State your message as strongly as you need to.
- When you feel finished for the time being, delete the letter from your computer or tear it up and dispose of it. Some people burn their letters and mix the ashes with soil in which they plant seeds symbolizing hope for the healing of the relationship.
- Kathleen Fischer
Forgiving Your Family
“From pages 38-39 of Forgiving Your Family: A Journey to Healing by
Kathleen Fischer. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room
Books.” http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
Do you practice other ways of dealing with anger? Share your thoughts.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.
John 6:51, NRSV
This Week: pray for those with cancer and their families. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.
Did You Know?
Church leaders in Zimbabwe struggle to gather and distribute Christian educational materials for their congregations. Pastor Phillip Musharu is leading an effort to grow distribution of The Upper Room daily devotional guide to help meet the need for resources. Read more about Musharu here or visit www.upperroom.org/gift to donate to the Africa Initiative.
This week we remember Florence Nightingale (August 13).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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