Responding to Anger and Hurt

When people are sinned against, this often triggers a sinful response in the wounded heart. Being sinned against can often trigger our own sinful response.

When we're hurt, we don't think much about our response; we justify our sinful reactions.

I've written about this before, but this is important to understand.

When you see an angry person, you may see a person who has been hurt by other's sin. You may see a person who never resolved the hurt of that sin. They never forgave those who hurt them.

If you have a friend who is madder than blazes at you, odds are you somehow hurt them.

If you are married and your wife is angry with you, chances are she was hurt by something that you did or said or by something that you didn't do or say which she needed or expected of you.

Anger often expresses the hurt a person feels. If often expresses the fear they now have.

Next time your wife is angry with you, realize she may actually be hurting right now. She may feel unjustly treated.

Next time your child or friend is angry with you, it may be the same root cause. Hurt.

But if all you see is the anger, you may write them off, blame them, defend yourself and feel sorry for yourself. "I don't deserve this!"

Yet this resolves nothing. Plus, now you're both mad. She doubly so.

Your response may be different, however, if you realize she's angry because she has been hurt. If you focus on the reality that you may have carelessly hurt her.

Knowing this doesn't excuse or condone the flying plates or expletives hurled your way, but when she is angry, you are wise to understand that the real issue is the hurt she feels, the injustice she feels.

Perhaps the best first response is to listen to her heart and seek to understand her with a heart of love. Then you will be able to resolve the hurt that she feels and restore the relationship and trust.

Whenever you encounter anger, listen to the other's heart, their pain; with the compassion of love, listen to their sense of personal injustice. Not defending. Not arguing. Just listening to understand.

No doubt, not every cause is a righteous cause. Also, some who are the angriest and the loudest are mere opportunists with other motives, imposing uncompromising demands rather than humble hearts.

Yet whether you are dealing with an upset spouse, a furious son or daughter, or an upset friend, a mourning widow, a fatherless child, or hopeless, frustrated young men, rather than argue with them or write them off, you are wise to listen for the hurt and to hear their cry of injustice.

This way you can position your heart to love and pray for those who are hurting unjustly, own up to your actions if you caused pain, and to understand and care for them, to help them, and share the source of your faith and love and new life with them: Jesus Christ who loves them best.