The greatest emotional destruction you observe in relationships comes from feelings of anger. Obviously, anger is a rejection-based emotion. Jon Eargle, in his book, Healing Where You Hurt on The Inside, made the point that all anger is based in rejection. I have not disproved or found even an exception to this statement. Anger is an emotional response to rejection.

  • Emotions are inner "feelings" that relate to what is going on in relationships. If you feel angry, it is because you feel rejected. Please pay attention to the word "feel" because what you feel is not always accurate. Sometimes people feel rejected because someone made a comment about their clothing or hairstyle or status or some other thing that is not really you. So the reason for feeling rejection could be something other than the actual rejection of the person herself or himself. When you feel the rejection, you respond in a way that says, "You ought not reject me!"

  • Righteous anger is the response to an unrighteous act on the other person’s part when that act, rejection, is not appropriate. Anger in a relationship can be an indication that someone has intentionally or unintentionally rejected or hurt the other person. If you are in fact trying to hurt someone, that is rejection of that other person. If you intend no rejection of the person but you intend a rejection of something belonging to the person, anger may not be appropriate. For someone to not like my blue shirt may feel like rejection of me. In reality, it is a rejection of my shirt and a change of shirts can make us both more comfortable being together. In deliberate rejection and anger, both parties need reconciliation for the relationship to get back on track and growing again. Anger can tell the other person that some boundary has been crossed without permission and that an apology is in order. Under that case the offending person has learned something about the offended person that can avoid hardship or pain in the future. Often, you do not learn and you keep on offending without resolve to understand. This doubles the rejection.

  • Offending and anger are a normal parts of relationships. Life is not always fair. Someone will always have too much and someone else too little. When you feel you have too little you may feel rejected and get angry. Not all rejections need end up as anger. If you understand that life is not fair as you consider fairness, some inequity is normal and you can see rejection as normal unfairness. Remember the "2 Rules of Life" and much of the anger that needs to be resolved will work out simply.

Two Rules of Life -
Rule Number 1: Life ain't fair!
Rule Number 2:  Rule Number 1 is always right!!

While working out the unfairness of life, you have to take stock of how perfect you believe you are. Admitting that you do not deserve all life has to offer is hard. You have to approach this problem from the perspective God chooses. God sees who you are from His point of creating us. If you are not operating according to how He created us to operate, you miss the mark of perfection. To get back to what God created us to be requires that He make changes in you. You cannot be the agent of change because you are not perfect and the results would not be perfect. Since God is perfect, whatever he chooses to do is perfect. The appropriate prayer for this is a revised version of the Serenity Prayer used by many 12 Step groups. A key line is "and the wisdom to know when that person is me."

  • Our anger can take its course to the point of wrath. People who give in to constant wrath are in the greatest susceptibility to heart disease. Constant self-rejection produces constant self-anger. Sometimes the self-anger is directed at others. Since the other person cannot change you, more rejection and anger and self-rejection and self-anger occur. This is a fruitless downward spiral. These people end up very unhappy and usually with sick hearts (both physical and psychological hearts). Only clearing the anger and understanding the perception of anger can lead to producing the righteousness of God. You must look within and understand yourself and those who you feel rejected us, to be totally useful in God’s hands and give enjoyment in relationships.

  • Many people think that anger is an expression of sin. It may be if the behavior associated with the anger is not appropriate. Jesus is sinless and He was angry. God the Father was wroth and He is sinless. Obviously, you can be angry and not sin. To keep from the sin associated with anger, you must know what the other person intended and what is the appropriate action within the relationship to the intent. Often, the level of anger is due to suppressed anger that has leaked or gushed out during a relatively minor anger event. Some of this anger usually belongs toward someone else or to another time and event. To work out the anger, you must study yourself and determine the offenses, the timing, the person(s), what is appropriate, and a way to confront the person(s) involved in the stored anger. You must choose how you will respond to rejection. Forgiveness is the only appropriate cure to anger that is based upon real rejection.

The most tiring exercise in the world is carrying yesterday on your back.

  • Forgiveness may require an attitude change. Is ridding yourself of anger worth a change in attitude? Only the individual can determine this. With help from God the change will be safe and secure. Without a change, you may stick in a rut that will diminish all your remaining potential. Carrying all the anger and messes on your back will eventually you down and out. God must cure yesterday’s rejections, anger, and hurts through the sovereign act of the only sovereign God. Attitude

A bad attitude is like a flat tire.  You can't go anywhere unless you change it. 

(From the wall at Griffin's Restaurant, Raleigh, NC.)

  • The Bible speaks often of anger. In Hebrews 3:11-19, the author speaks of God’s anger being due to Israel’s rejection of God. By not believing God, Israel rejected God. Often you feel rejection when other people do not believe us. In Matthew 5:22, Jesus speaks of anger that is on the peer level. You need to express love and if anger is appropriate, express it in love as God has. In Colossians 3:8, Paul is encouraging us to find relief in taking care of the issues that are under our control. Not all your anger may be under your control, but God can control all your anger and deal with your rejection based upon His perfection. Give up your anger through Jesus and you will be free indeed. You must be self-controlled to have health relationships.

    Peace is something you make with God and giving it away makes for more room to feel better and maybe even feel good or great.

Peace is not something you wish for.  It is something you make, something you do, something you are, and something you give away. 
 Robert Fulghum

The next lesson is Forgiveness >