Hebrews 12:14-15 says, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you and thereby many be defiled. “
To “follow peace with all men” means to actively seek for peaceful and healthy relationships with other. If we cause trouble, slander, stir-up gossip, or are resentful, we are not following peace; we have serious issues with which to deal.
This scripture is very clear. If we don’t seek peace and holiness we won’t see the Lord because we will have failed to receive God’s grace. Holiness requires removing sin from our lives.
I hope we are each at a point where we actively seek after God and His righteousness as our first priority. Our salvation is as stake. Revelation and 2 and 3 reveals in clear terms what the Lord has to say to the 7 churches. Ezekiel 24 also has much to say to us. These passages were written to believers…
When we are bitter, a root of bitterness springs up to trouble us. Then this root takes hold and it not only defiles us, but branches out to affect every one around us. It is highly contagious. Bitterness flows from our spirits toward others. It can cause us to become ill, or it can block our healing if we are ill. Bitterness must have the axe laid to it…
If you read Ephesians you will read where our battle lies…and it is not against flesh and blood. Bitterness is a ruling spirit and has 7 lesser spirits answering to it. These are the “armor” and give it protection:
Cain’s murder of Abel illustrated the progression of the root of bitterness, starting with an unwillingness to forgive, to resentment, to retaliation, to anger, to hatred, to violence, to murder. (Gen:4)
Bitterness must be cast out for the other harboring spirits to lose their power. Bitterness IS a stronghold, as you mentioned in your note. God will not forgive us if we hold un-forgiveness toward others. (Mark 11:25-26).
In Matthew 18 it talks about the “tormentors” that we are turned over to and these can be fear, stress , anxiety, depression, etc and the physical and emotional and mental disorders that can follow.
God COMMANDS us to forgive. To defeat an unforgiving spirit and prevent a root from springing up we must learn to forgive “moment by moment”, offense by offense. We must give up our hold on the offender and hand them over to God. (Matthew 18:21-22)
Once we forgive, then the rest of the armor down the list starts to fall away.
So how do we forgive?
1. Recognize that we are bitter (And you have done that!)
2. Repent of the SIN of bitterness. When we are bitter toward someone, we put that person in the position of receiving our attention. Therefore, he becomes an idol to us. And this is idolatry, and God does not like this.
3. Make a DECISION to forgive. It is an act of our free will. It really is a CHOICE we make. We may not FEEL anything, but we are commanded by God to forgive, so we just need to do it. If you feel the anger start to rise up again, you RESIST IT and tell it NO! I FORGIVE!!! You may have to say this over and over again, moment by moment, day after day.
4. And here is the KEY to forgiveness… PRAY FOR OUR ENEMIES!! Our enemies may be spewing all kind of things toward us , but when we pray blessings for them, something amazing happens…the darkness of them…the darkness of the memories…the darkness of the spiritual assassins coming after us…get PUSHED BACK.
Love overcomes hate. The Love of God flowing from you to that person drives back the spiritual garbage coming against you. We pray for those who “despitefully use us”, the Bible says. Pray for their salvation, pray for God to bless them with His love and understanding. Pray every good thing for them.
Do this continually. Eventually, you will start to lose the feeling of anger, resentment, etc. And when you finally get the point (and you will) that you could actually minister to them with the love of God, you know that you have finally processed it. It may take months…it may take years…but love of God always prevails…
Make a list of all the bitterness you have toward others. Command the spirit of bitterness to leave you, (“Submit to God, RESIST the devil, and he will Flee!”), repent before God for the idolatry. The stronghold of bitterness in your life will be destroyed and Satan’s power over you will be legally cancelled. Then start forgiving and PRAYING earnestly for the other person….
Stick with it, It may take time. If I were you, until you have resolved this, find another church. If you feel strong enough, then stay. As he is trying to “pi** you off” while he is staring at you in church, you can be praying for him under your breath! What a witness before God!!
Anger is a familiar emotion for all of us. And in healthy relationships, it can be an overwhelmingly positive force in our lives. “Anger is a very healthy emotion,” says Chet Mirman, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist and director of The Center for Divorce Recovery.
“Healthy anger can tell us if there’s something wrong — something painful and threatening that we need to take care of. It helps us protect ourselves, and to know when people are crossing our boundaries.”
But for couples who are going through separation or divorce, anger is often anything but healthy. In her informative book The Good Divorce, Dr. Constance Ahrons defines divorce-related anger as “an extreme rage, vindictiveness, and over-powering bitterness that is felt when a love relationship is ending. It is a special kind of anger that usually hasn’t been experienced before.”
When anger is coupled with divorce, it’s often used as a misguided means of hanging on to a failed marriage. After all, for many people, a bad relationship is better than no relationship at all. Divorce anger allows people to punish their ex as often as possible, all while maintaining an ongoing (bitter) relationship with him/her. It’s a situation that leaves both partners in divorce limbo — a perilous situation that obstructs growth and self-awareness.
Some people hold onto their anger so tightly — stoking the fires on a daily basis — that their rage takes over their whole lives, coloring and informing all their thoughts and actions. They weigh every action to see how much emotional or physical harm it will inflict on their ex-spouse — even simply being a nuisance will do in a pinch — without seeing the injuries they may be inflicting on innocent victims.
Avoid the rage:
How Your Anger is Hurting Your Kids
Here is a story that happens more often than you think.
When Peter announced he was getting married, his ex-wife Jeannie hit the roof. “He has this great new life — a nice house, good job, pretty wife — and I’m stuck with nothing,” she complains. “So whenever I have the opportunity to spoil something for him, I take it.
Sometimes, I’m a little ashamed later, but it feels great at the time.” At the last minute, Jeannie refused to let their two children participate in Peter’s wedding ceremony. Instead, she dropped them off just as he and his new wife Sara were leaving for their honeymoon.
The kids were so upset about missing the wedding and being dropped off without warning that Peter felt he had to cancel the trip — which in turn upset Sara.
“I was furious with Jeannie — more for involving the kids in her own personal war against me than for making us miss our honeymoon. I made the trip up to Sara later, but it’s much harder to undo the damage to my kids. Jeannie just doesn’t seem to get how much her vindictiveness is adversely affecting our children.”
Using children as human shields in the divorce battle is a common way to fan the flames of divorce anger. Many scenarios are possible, all of which are damaging and punitive to the children: the custodial parent withholds visitation from the non-custodial parent; the non-custodial parent refuses to pay child support; the custodial parent “forgets” to pick the children up; or the non-custodial parent is hours late in bringing them back.
“We forget what’s best for the children because we are so intent on getting that other person,” writes Ahrons. But “getting back through the kids is hitting below the belt.”
Divorce anger is also often expressed through the legal process itself. Here, it’s important to remember that your lawyer is your advocate, not your therapist or best friend. Expressing anger to your ex-spouse through the legal process invariably leads to prolonged, emotional proceedings that will ultimately leave you — and the family resources — drained dry.
Using the court as a venue to vent your anger is a bad idea for a couple of key reasons: it’s the wrong venue, and it’s expensive (financially and emotionally). Unfortunately, the legal divorce process itself tends to add fuel to the fires of anger.
Dividing property (some of which has great sentimental value) and trying to prove your case for custody and/or support can be emotionally charged because these issues underline what is being lost or changed because of your divorce. Some degree of upset is inevitable, but driving yourself alongside your ex into bankruptcy is truly cutting off your nose to spite your face.
So how can you cope with this new and intense anger? The key lies in understanding its roots, and in finding constructive ways to express the hurt, disappointment, and loss that both you and your former spouse are feeling now as you proceed through separation and divorce.
“Anger can really be a healthy and positive tool, but if we use it destructively, all we do is scare people and alienate them,” stresses Dr. Andrea Brandt, Ph.D. M.F.C.C., and a specialist in anger management with the California-based LifeWorks Company. “People have to learn to have anger work for them, not against them.”
12 Ways to Deal with YOUR Anger
If you are angry:
Write it out. Work through your anger by keeping a journal or by writing letters you don’t mail.
Shout it out. “If you can roll up the windows in your car or put your head in a pillow and scream, it can drain some of that negative energy out of your body,” she adds.
Talk it out. It’s important when you’re angry to develop your own personal support system. Instead of directing your anger at your ex-spouse, talk to a good friend (or two), or find a therapist who specializes in anger management.
Get some professional help. “Remember — anger acts as a shield. Your anger suppresses other vulnerable feelings that may be too hard to deal with.
It’s easier to feel angry than to feel lost, confused, and worried,” says Dr. Mirman. “Talking to a professional can help you begin to feel those emotions you’ve been supressing and move past the anger.”
You could also benefit from a support or anger-management group where you can share your story. “Support groups help people develop much greater self awareness around their anger,” explains therapist Deborah Rodrigues. “They remove the sense of isolation and help people move to a position of growth and development.”
Re-examine your core beliefs. When we point a finger at another person in anger, we’re really pointing three fingers back at ourselves, says Sharon I. Roach, S.S.W., a certified Core Belief Engineering practitioner. “Often, anger is based on something that we observe in early childhood and form a belief about. The problem is that as we grow older, our beliefs and decisions can become outdated.”
Take responsibility for your part of the marriage break-up. “It’s a rare couple in which both partners were exactly equal in the breaking of the marriage, but it’s an even rarer couple in which one partner was solely at fault,” writes Constance Ahrons in The Good Divorce.
Do some personal growth work. “Anger is a great motivator toward action and can propel you to take steps in your life to change situations,” says Cynthia Callsen, a New York-based counseler and psychotherapist. “Your anger can help you identify old patterns, and then you can take the steps to stop repeating them.”
Learn what pushes your buttons. Try to understand your anger — and what triggers it — before you express it. Don’t be afraid to say that you need some time to think about your response.
Protect your children. Never make them part of your conflict with your former partner by withholding visitation or support or poisoning their minds against your ex. “For the sake of the children, if for no other reason, learn constructive methods of expressing anger,” Ahrons says.
Keep conflicts at a moderate level, Rodrigues advises. “The other person will often match your level of intensity.” And be sure to choose your battles carefully. “Expressing every little irritation and disagreement provokes resentment. Think about the most important issues — and let go of the small stuff.” Use “I-messages” when expressing anger. Say: “I feel disappointed when you don’t call,” not: “You stupid idiot, you’re always late!”
Give yourself time to recover from the loss of your marriage. On average, experts say that the healing process takes about two years. “It’s important to realize how sad you are,” says Ahrons. “This won’t necessarily make you more vulnerable to your ex-spouse; your successful handling of your emotions puts you in a more powerful position.”
Forgive, let go, move on. Anger can become a comfort, a constant in our lives, but as long as you continue to nurse your anger against your ex, you will never have a happy, fulfilled, post-divorce life. Own your responsibility for the break-up, and realize that you have the power to make the choice to forgive and move on, or stay angry and remain stuck. It doesn’t matter what your ex does, you can still choose forgiveness.
10 Ways to Deal with Your EX’S Anger
If your ex is angry:
Listen to and validate your ex-spouse’s comments. “Your ex may be feeling like he or she isn’t being heard,” says Callsen. “By really listening to his or her concerns, you may realize where the anger is coming from and identify what you can do to help.” It also really helps to defuse the situation, by saying something like, “I understand why you’re angry with me.”
Don’t be afraid to take a time-out. Walk away from an anger attack if you can’t handle it. “You can always say, ‘I’m not going to talk to you until you calm down,'” suggests Callsen. “You might be feeling angry yourself that you were just attacked. So walk away, or end the call. Put limits on what you’ll take and how you’ll be treated.”
Get some assertiveness training to boost your self-esteem. “Anger is like a fire that must be burned up into the ashes of forgiveness,” writes Ahrons. “If we are passive, it is like throwing more logs onto the fire…”
Use your response to defuse the situation. “When someone is angry, they’re likely to pull in a million different issues,” says Rodrigues. Insist on dealing with each issue separately, and one at a time. You can also try agreeing with your ex, she says. “When you say ‘Yeah, you’re right,’ it tends to quiet people down pretty quickly. There’s nowhere to go with it, so eventually the anger shuts down.”
Try not to take your ex-spouse’s comments too personally. “Remember that anger is a projection of one’s own inner feelings and one’s own world,” says Roach. Rodrigues agrees: “Accept the fact that this person is angry because they’re going through turmoil. It’s not your anger, it’s theirs, so don’t own it.”
Stay calm. It can really help de-escalate the anger, says Rodrigues. “Tell yourself ‘I can handle this’ during an angry phone call from your ex. Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, can also be effective when you’re listening to someone who’s really angry.” A mantra can be helpful, too, adds Brandt. “If I’m speaking with someone who’s really angry at me, I’ll always say silently to myself, ‘This is good for our relationship.'”
Learn to recognize your own hot buttons.When someone pushes one of your buttons, your response is going to be way out of proportion to the offense. “Other people’s feelings and words are simply information,” stresses Roach. “If you’re affected by them, there may be something that trails behind them from your history that is bothering you.”
Try to feel a little compassion — no matter how hard that may be. “Now that the relationship’s over, the other person is probably feeling fearful and threatened that they’ll never love again or they’ll never see their kids,” says Rodrigues. “Try to hear what’s underneath the anger. Quite often, it’s fear, pain, or shame.” Showing empathy or compassion for your ex can go a long way to defusing his or her anger.
Be honest with yourself. Recognize that when someone is angry with you, there may be something in what they’re saying. “Very often, you might hear something that’s really valuable,” says Brandt. If your ex is yelling at you, you can choose to think he/she’s a jerk and start yelling back, or you can “dig for the gold” in what he/she’s saying. Keep the gold; discard the dirt and rocks.
Value your safety above all else. If your former partner’s divorce anger seems to be headed in a dangerous direction, put some boundaries in place and communicate through a third party. “Threats should always be taken seriously,” advises Rodrigues. “Remove yourself from the situation and refuse face-to-face contact if you sense any danger at all… put the answering machine on and screen your calls.”