- Moving through Anger and onto Forgiveness.
Relationship Counsellors - Heather and John McAlpine - Seminar
Ever explored the idea that our relationships are like different types of soil in which we can nurture and encourage one-another, or retard one-another's growth?
Our relational soil needs to be free from the rocks of pride, stubbornness and selfishness. We need to look at saying "sorry" in a way that models the life-changing forgiveness of Christ.
Conflict can be constructive, providing opportunities to clear the air and create understanding, leading to positive change.
Unfortunately different personalities can clash, particularly in the way we communicate difference of opinion. This can cause hurt, angry feelings in people who feel judged and criticised, even though the remarks were not intended that way.
If conflict causes anger we need to look at why we feel so strongly. Anger is often the tip of the iceberg, stemming from fears, hurts, disappointments, frustrations and rejection in our past.
Anger can be an easier response than admitting and dealing with deeper emotions, particularly for men. It can be helpful to use reflective listening to check out what is happening for the other person, particularly where the angry response appears out of proportion to the issue being discussed.
Attitudes and beliefs seen through filters from childhood - guilt, shame, trauma - can affect our present responses. We can be afraid of criticism or expect rejection. Feelings from the past can produce an unexpected reaction (a "soul wound").Although easy to do, it is not useful to simply blame our parents, family members or teachers. We just need to acknowledge where the negatives came from.
To obtain healing we need to forgive those who have hurt us. This does not mean condoning what they have done, or forgetting. Some offences leave such a damaging legacy that they can never be forgotten. But until we let go of the bitterness we hold in our hearts we cannot fully open up to the healing release that comes from God.
Sorry" Seems to be the Hardest Word
We can say "sorry" without integrity, for example, to "get the other person off our back", or to "do the right, or Christian thing". But we don't really mean it. We all have different ways of receiving apology. If someone speaks your "language" of apology, you tune in immediately.
The Languages of Apology by Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thorne
Expressing Regret and saying "I'm sorry" with congruent body language. The words have to be specific.
No excuses. I stuffed up big time.
How can I make this up to you?
I know how much I hurt you and I don't want to do it again.
What I did was very wrong and I want to ask you to forgive me.
Recognising that forgiveness is a process.
Forgiving is not letting someone off the hook.
It is like lancing a boil - releasing the bad stuff so the wound is able to heal.
By forgiving we are making our relationship right with God, and he can help us with the process.
Forgiveness is not an emotion - it is a conscious decision.