How to Handle Angry Feelings / A Process of Love-Forgiveness

Steps to Take When I Feel Angry –How to Apply Charity Toward Our Self and Others (including Tools for Addressing Angry or Difficult People)

  1. Instantaneous, interior prayer required! PRAY: “Lord, help me with my anger. Help me understand what is going on in my heart. I often want to fight anger with anger, but I know from my own experience that doing so is unproductive and doesn’t help solve the problem. Help me move from anger to sorrow over the sins of the world.”
  2. Am I afraid?
    1. Am I in physical danger? “Help me to be wise and extricate myself from this person or situation immediately.”
    2. Is my fear based on my insecurities? “Help me to be sure of your love and forgiveness and not let another person’s judgments distract me from your love.”2. Am I afraid to admit my wrongdoing? “Give me courage to be humble and truthful and ask, ‘What may I do to undo the damage that has been done?’” B, Am I being accused of something unjustly? “Help me to be patient and find the right time and manner to explain the situation more fully.
  3. Is my current adversary putting me down, judging or ridiculing me? “Let me not give this person power over me and play on my insecurities. Instead make me confident in your Love for Me and trust that his or her anger is more about their fears and insecurities. Remind me that fear and anger most often occur when we forget or negate your love/ forgiveness for us–including our fear of change.”
  4. Am I being taken advantage of? “Help me to claim my right to not answer my antagonist’s questions and not to make any agreements until I have more time to examine the situation.” Say, “I feel uncomfortable with what you are asking. Let me get back to you.”
  5. Is it pride that makes me angry? “Help me to see that my life is not about me but always about You. Instill in me the truth that You intend the salvation of the world—a plan that involves me to live according to your will, not mine.”
  6. State what you OBSERVE about the other person’s state –NOT WHAT THEY SAY OR DO.
    1. “I see that you are very angry and upset. This matter is very important to you. Help me understand what you are going through.”
    2. Next state what’s going on within you. Examples:
      1. “When you act this way, I am frightened. Are you aware that you are frightening me? May we address this issue in some other way? Or Take “Time Out?”
      2. “Your actions have harmed me and/or another person. It is wrong to express our thoughts and feelings in this way. I must ask you to leave the room and consider the harm you have done until you calm down. If you will not excuse yourself, I must ask you to leave our home.”
      3. “Your strong emotions bring up feelings of my own angers that are tied to thoughts that perhaps you don’t understand me or know me the ways that I thought you did. Or maybe it is I who don’t fully know or understand you. How may we understand one another better without rancor?”
  7. Introduce New Levels of Logic: “What do you think is really going on here? Are yours or someone else’s feelings be ignored or dismissed as unimportant?”  “Sometimes we think LOVE means that we must do what the other person wants us to do. Isn’t there a better logic than this?”   “Will praying together help us now – or do we need more discussion first?”
  8. When Communication Breaks Down: “We are having a communication problem. Please know that my statement is not a judgment on you. It’s a problem to be solved.” What logic do you use to maintain that saying this becomes an accusation against you?   Do you not believe that every human being needs to work on improving his or her communication skills without thinking that they are a loser or something worse? There’s a wonderful saying. ” Perfection is the enemy of the good.” Only God is perfect. Let’s acknowledge our imperfections and work on addressing your feelings and mine with patience and charity.”
  9. Keep in mind this response: “There’s a certain way of thinking–a kind of logic that you hold on to–that causes you great pain and anxiety. It also brings heartache to all who Love you. May we take a “step back” and explore other ways of looking at this situation? If we are to ever have the peace we need and want, we must seek different ways of thinking, so we can love ourselves. We all need to love ourselves because we are Children of God. Life is about learning to accept Love as it is offered, not as we think it is supposed to be offered. Therefore, HOPE is a matter of lowered expectations as far as people are concerned. We must change our way of thinking if we ever want to be happy. I can’t do that for you. But I know this: As you learn to be kinder to yourself, you’ll find yourself more patient and kinder toward me and to others. Meanwhile, I’m going for a walk because I have great difficulty with the ways you express anger. (“And I don’t want to treat you the way I experience you treating me.”)
  10. Here’s another one: “I understand that you are very angry. And, of course, this is an important issue. If I have done something wrong, I am willing to take responsibility for it. But, remember, Jesus says “Stop condemning! Stop Judging!” because condemning and judging prevent us from solving our problems. So, ask yourself “Do I want help extracting myself from the blaming game, or not?” There are more productive ways to deal with our hurts and fears and angers. Shall we explore these together or do you need to do this on your own? I want to respect your needs. Take as much time as you need. At some point, I trust we will be able to work together to solve this problem.”
  11. Self-Care:
  • Don’t try to teach someone a lesson unless he or she has enrolled in the course!
  • When someone says he or she is not ready to discuss the issue, believe them! Postponing a needed discussion is NOT a personal insult or injury.
  • Be ever-ready to say, “Let’s talk about this later.” But be sure to set the time aside sooner-than-later.

REMEMBER: THESE ARE TOOLS –NOT GUARANTEES inspired by Jesus is teaching “Love your enemies” and “Turn the other cheek.” We now interpret these instructions to mean that we are not to let others take our God-given self-worth and dignity from us. Standing firm in God’s constant love/forgiveness for us, we remind our adversaries of our common humanity. Jesus does not want us to accept their abuse. Luke 6: 27 ff If you just need to VENT –Pray Psalm 109

Love-Forgiveness

By Father James DiLuzio C.S.P.   http://www.LukeLive.com

We either Live in Love-Forgiveness (ONE WORD) or we do not. We must cultivate Love-Forgiveness in our hearts and invite loved ones to do the same. What’s needed for love-forgiveness to reign? Here’s the short list of what to do when we are hurt, angry, betrayed

  • In the heat of the moment, learn to say things like “I am deeply hurt and/or angry by what was said or what is happening (or ‘just happened.’) We need to take “time out” to think this through.”
  • Vent, Rage and Cry to the Only Fully Objective Loved One — GOD; Jesus Himself prayed psalms of lament and disappointment. If you need to share your feelings with another person, try to pick a trusted relative or friend who is not likely to get involved emotionally, come to your defense or take sides against the other.
  • Insist relatives and friends respect the integrity of each personal relationship. Allow only the individuals involved to work through the conflict. Others must avoid all temptation to pass judgment, condemn or enter the fray unless physical  o r deep emotional abuse occurred, or the incident involves a minor in need of protection.
  • Secure that God loves you in your anger, your hurt, your betrayal –that God’s love for you is the foundation of your life—pray that you are moved to PITY the one who hurt you. See in him or her a fellow human being who has fallen from grace, given into temptation of selfishness, greed, violence, fear or weakness.
  • Take TIME OUT, allow yourself time to let grace take hold of you and move you from hurt, and/ or rage to pity and, finally, to tenderness.”
  • Pray Pity be transformed to TENDERNESS as you would offer tenderness to a disobedient child; everyone has a right to live, to learn, to improve, to encounter God through Love-Forgiveness – In this world of ours, it is one of the primary ways to encounter God.
  • Allow for Time to Pass, i.e., GOD’s Time, not “our time,” for you and the other person to come to a place of reviewing the situation and his or her actions calmly and honestly. Here we must trust in Jesus’ and the Psalms’ constant reminder that God allows the sun to shine on the just and unjust, good and the wicked precisely to allow people to choose to evaluate the harm they’ve done to themselves and others. Say, “I was very hurt / angry by what was said and done. I need to understand what you were feeling and where you were coming from. That will help me a lot. Then, if you are willing, I would like to share my feelings and concerns.”
  • With patience, discern forms of accountability you may eventually offer your assailant or adversary—just as a priest offers penance to sinners in the confessional. As penance offers actions and prayers to help the penitent to both show remorse AND accept accountability for his or actions in praise of God, so, too, must we be “priests to one another,” offer opportunities for change – as you would with a child.” Ask “How can I help and support you to undo the damage that’s been done?”
  • If the offender agrees to amend the situation and, if warranted, get treatment for his or her behavior, don’t try to reconcile the relationship right away. If asked, let the other person know that you continue to work on reconciliation but are not ready to remove restrictions on your relationship. Meanwhile, assure them you will pray for their working through their problem and taking responsibility for their actions. More patience is needed for the elderly and infirm than for younger, healthier people.
  • If the offender is not willing to address the issue (e.g. “this is who I am; I’m not changing; my way or none at all”) your health and safety may require the relationship to move to a respectable distance, or, if irreconcilable issues, severed. Forgive in your heart, so you are FREE from reliving the hurt, the pain; free to move onward toward a wiser, humbler, more hopeful future.

Paulist Press Resources: Healing Life’s Hurts by Dennis Linn and Matthew Linn

Don’t Forgive Too Soon by Dennis and Sheila Linn and Matthew Linn

Good Goats – Healing Our Image of God by Dennis and Sheila Linn and

Matthew Linn http://www.paulistpress.com/

Forgiveness & Accountability CAN go HAND-in-Hand

Some THEOLOGY FOR TODAY: Regarding how FORGIVENESS & ACCOUNTABILITY can go hand-in-hand:
It is always good that we WRESTLE with the dynamics of both, just as Jacob wrestled with God (Genesis 32) the night before he took the chance to return to his homeland and be greeted by his brother Esau (the one from whom he took the birthright and blessing of the firstborn). Already we see that Jacob had to take the consequences of his actions (flee his homeland, live under the authoritarian rule of Uncle Laban for over 14 years, etc.) There is a strong Biblical sense that God allows the consequences of our actions to play themselves out–assuring us that God is with us in these undertakings and strengthens us, helping us to mature and grow while still forgiving us. The magnanimity of Esau when he greets and hugs Jacob is quite astonishing but not at all unrelated to Esau being fully aware of Jacob’s years of exile. Similarly, Jesus forgave Peter for denying him, yet Jesus did not respond immediately to Peter’s tears but allowed Peter to experience the grief and self-scrutiny he needed before the Resurrection proclamation of PEACE BE WITH YOU. Of course, there is a time to completely “wipe the slate clean,” as the saying goes, but this requires prayerful discernment in relation to the offense and the harm to self and others, and the personalities and age of the persons involved. The Prodigal Son, for example, is forgiven and embraced, but the Father’s property is not going to be divided once again for the prodigal’s benefit. His brother’s portion remains intact and the prodigal will be indebted to the Father’s and ultimately his brother’s mercy until which time he is able to go out on his own with a sense of responsibility and dignity–if ever.
In the Sermon on the Plain, when Jesus says, “‘From the one who takes what is yours, do not demand it back,” I think Jesus is referring to our usual rage and insecurities that someone has taken advantage of us. He invites us to move from the bitter anger we feel and instead, find our dignity and worth with confidence in God’s love so that when we address the “robber,” there is a sense of God’s justice, not ours–i.e., some accountability but not as if our life and dignity depended upon it (in which case the punishments often do not fit the crime). Rather, “The Kingdom of God” invites us to always be about growing in wisdom, forbearance and Hope–for the offender just as much as for ourselves.
This issue is a large one with many levels and applications — including, for example, our prison systems that are far more punitive than redemptive. It doesn’t mean killers go free to kill again but it does mean that they are treated with dignity throughout their life in prison to the extent that their souls and spirits through “tough love,” if you will, are given opportunities toward remorse, empowering them to accept the consequences of their actions, take responsibility for them, and prepare for heaven– mental and emotional illnesses notwithstanding. Not everyone, not every Christian agrees with this but I believe we are compelled to wrestle with these concepts.

7 Steps toward Forgiveness

Sunday 17 September 2017: Scripture Readings for the Day:

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/091717.cfm

We can almost grow weary by the biblical order “to forgive.”   Clearly, Judaism emphasized it–those are strong words we heard from the Book of Sirach–and Jesus insisted upon it repeatedly in words and striking parables like this one.

Don’t we realize that when we refuse to forgive, we are breaking the first and foremost Commandment: I am the Lord your God you shall have no false gods before me?

Friends, we put ourselves above God and God’s mercy when we refuse to forgive! When we refuse to enter into the process of forgiveness, we fully disengage ourselves from the Two Great Commandments: Deuteronomy 6: 4 ff: Hear, O Israel![b] The Lord is our God, the Lord alone! Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole strength.  And we hear in Leviticus   19:18 “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”

In Matthew, Mark and Luke: Paul’s Letters to the Romans and Galatians, the Epistle of James repeat and repeat the phrase.  “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

Moreover, Jesus makes clear in today’s parable and many others that forgiveness is an extension of love. It is the essential ingredient to love, for as soon as LOVE stops being “Love-Forgiveness,” how can we trust we’re participating in the fullness of love? Friends, Dating Couples, Engaged Couples, Married Couples: Beware!  If your friend or romance interest or fiancé or spouse refuses to forgive someone, something—however warranted the righteous indignation—YOU, dear friend, dear spouse will be next on the list!  We participate in Love-Forgiveness (I preach this now as ONE WORD) or we do not.  We must cultivate Love-Forgiveness in our hearts and invite loved ones to do the same.

What’s needed for love-forgiveness to reign? Here’s the short list:

  1. Vent, Rage and Cry to the Only Fully Objective Loved One — GOD; Jesus Himself prayed psalms of lament, disappointment.
  2. Secure that God loves you in your anger, your hurt, your betrayal –that God’s love for you is the foundation of your life—pray that you are moved to PITY the one who hurt you. See in him or her a fellow human being who has fallen from grace, given into temptation of selfishness, greed, violence

 

  1. Take TIME OUT, awaiting grace to move you from hurt, and/ or rage to pity and, finally, to tenderness

 

  1. Pray Pity be transformed to TENDERNESS as you would offer tenderness to a disobedient child; everyone has a right to live, to learn, to improve, to encounter God through Love-Forgiveness – In this world of ours, it is one of the primary ways to encounter God.

 

  1. With patience, discern forms of accountability you may eventually offer your assailant or adversary—just as a priest offers penance to sinners in the confessional. As penance offers actions and prayers to help the penitent to both show remorse AND accept accountability for his or actions in praise of God, so, too, must we be “priests to one another,” offer opportunities for change – as you would with a child.

 

  1. Allow for Time to Pass, i.e., GOD’s Time, not “our time,”, for a person to come to a place of reviewing the situation and his or her actions calmly and honestly. Here we must trust in Jesus’ and the Psalms’ constant reminder that God allows the sun to shine on the just and unjust, good and the wicked precisely to allow people to choose to evaluate the harm they’ve done to themselves and others.

 

  1. Even if your health and safety require the relationship to be severed, distant, or irreconcilable– Forgive in your heart, so you are FREE from reliving the hurt, the pain; free to move onward toward a wiser, humbler, more hopeful future.

 

 

As we move through these stages and come to the love-forgiveness act, we are truly FREE. Forgiving another in this way frees us as much, or perhaps even more, than the ones to whom we offer forgiveness.  Not everyone appreciates cosmic grace after all.  There are people who will never admit that they’ve done something wrong. Then, let them be!  You still are free!  Ground your relationship with them on other aspects that you may have in common, change your expectations of them (be more cautious around them if you must) but move on!

This is the invitation of our Christian faith, this is the cross of responsibility in charity and true discipleship. Of course, we don’t often feel like forgiving another, but faith is and must always be more than a feeling.  It’s a decision. It’s a commitment.

Remember: it’s only love-forgiveness” that opens up the future. Through Love-Forgiveness, YOU are the future extending the mercy of God and the promises of Christ: The glorious freedom of being children of God.