Monday, February 13, 2012

Drippy Harps, part three-The Angry Woman

Women have a tendency to be angry "around" an issue rather than getting to the heart of the matter. It's a lot like when  person is on a diet and she wants chocolate cake, but she eats carrots because she wants to "be good." When we allow unresolved conflicts to pile up in our lives, we're like that unsatisfied dieter; eventually, we're going to go crazy and eat the whole chocolate cake...or eat a person alive!

"It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman." (Prov 21:19)

Have you ever wondered what this woman was angry about? Could it be that she had a hurt from her past that never got handled correctly? Scripture doesn't tell us why she was angry, but an easy guess would tell you that it involved some offense committed by another person, and it probably happened a while ago. When we're miffed and steaming about something that happened to us way back in history, there is a risk that we may take it out on people in the present.

Unresolved conflicts are like festering wounds; they won't go away without attention. I had a finger infection from a cut that I got working in the garden several years ago and I tried to ignore it. It's just a finger cut, right? Wrong. Finally, when my finger turned greenish-brown, I knew that I'd better let the doctor take a look at it. She gave a really good diagnosis: "Oh yuck!" Then she sent me to a hand doctor.

Small things have a way of growing into great, big ugly deals.

The hand specialist was just as impressed with my finger as my primary doctor, so after his diagnosis of "Oh, that's pretty gross," he wanted to know what took me so long to get in and have it checked. "You could have lost a finger," he scolded. I didn't realize it had gotten that bad, but then, I was trying to ignore it.

Too many people wait until their relationships are on auto-destruct before admitting that they need help. This is pointless, tragic and sad. Have you noticed that ignoring pain doesn't make it go away? Are you stuck in a continuous loop of anger, and are you risking your relationships because of it?

Ultimately, the hand doctor had to lance my finger to release the trapped pus, which then allowed my finger to begin the healing process. Lancing is not for sissies. Lancing involved taking a sharp instrument and cutting a small incision in my finger, then the doctor put enormous pressure on it to extract the "gross" infected material. He then bandaged it, prescribed a strong antibiotic and sent me on my way with instructions to call the office if it didn't get better.

Angry people need counsel, just like I needed a specialist to take a look at that weird green bubble on my finger. When we try to "doctor" ourselves, the outcome is hit-and-miss at best. There are some things that you've been harboring inside (emotional pus, if you will...I know, gross), and this infected material in your heart and mind needs to be pressed out.

Stop being angry around the issue. Get to the heart of the matter, and work at resolving it. On the other hand, if you're angry because you're not getting your own way, grow up! Many conflicts can be resolved when adults agree to communicate without accusing each other, and when at least one stops being selfish. When the conflict is between you and a spouse, you must get things worked out before they drive you apart. When the problem is between you and someone other than a spouse, the resolution may come in accepting the fact that some people are difficult and aren't going to change anytime soon, so we need to give them a "wide berth" if they are routinely hurtful. We don't have to walk into a fist.

I had to choose to go to the doctor. My hemming and hawing cost me precious time and put me in a much tougher position than if I had sought the help earlier. Once I went to the doctor, his treatment hurt me, but the pain was followed by healing, finally. Sometimes we can get over being angry by allowing ourselves to process the hurt (yes, admit that it happened and it hurt you), then commit to the process of forgiving. I wish that forgiveness was a button that we could push and be over a matter, but no such button exists, so we have to actively commit to forgiving, and keep forgiving, and keep forgiving...

Drippy harps have miserable lives. If you have been struggling with the combination of contentiousness and anger, seek out a godly Christian woman in your church and let her help you sort out what's really troubling your heart. Just as ignoring the finger infection put me in peril of losing a finger, you are risking way too much by not getting your matter handled wisely. Instead of staying stuck in such a fruitless mode, either work at resolving what's ailing you, or determine that you're going to forgive and move on. Forgiveness provides the option of deciding to "P.O.A.T." "Pass over a transgression." This is an Old Testament term for "let it go." Stop eating carrots when you want chocolate cake.

"The discretion of a man deferreth his anger: and it is his glory to pass over a transgression." Prov. 19:11

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