Forgive? I thought. But I’ve already done that! I rarely thought about Anthony, the man who murdered my dad. And when he did enter my mind, I didn’t feel hatred or anything like that. Yet, God slowly showed me that, while I had forgiven Anthony as far as I was capable, I needed His grace to do it completely and unconditionally.
Oftentimes, we fool ourselves into thinking we have no need to forgive as we unknowingly drown in a sea of bitterness. [Tweet that] You see, I thought I was a forgiving person. I thought I had forgiven Anthony. To be honest, I didn’t think I had issues with anyone in my life. And I sure didn’t think I was bitter!
But soon, God began to show me that I was constantly irritable, and I was quick to anger. One of my girls would do something, and I’d completely overreact and yell at them, which was followed by an apology, telling them, “Mommy is so sorry. It was not okay for me to yell at you like that,” as they stared back at me in bewilderment.
I didn’t realize it for a long time, but I was angry. It was an anger that was deep seeded and had turned into bitterness. I never thought I’d be a bitter person, but carrying the burden of my dad’s murder for close to ten years certainly allowed the root bitterness to burrow deep into my heart. I’m ashamed to admit this, but it was my family who took the brunt of my anger, and it broke my heart to see this ugly side of myself and the effect it had on those I loved most.
When my true nature was revealed, I knew I needed healing, but I also knew I wouldn’t be able to will myself into this place of healing. I had tried to do just that for close to a decade at that point with little success. Yes, I needed true healing––but not the kind the world can offer. I didn’t need to take an anger management class; I didn’t need additional counseling (though those are valuable options for some). But, instead, I needed Jesus and the healing only He can give.
I began praying. In my prayer journal, I wrote,
…Heal me completely, Lord! Help me to heal emotionally––I give my anger and bitterness to you, Lord. Resolve them! Soften my heart. Tear down my walls! Break through to me and save me. Take away the burden of being the “girl whose dad was murdered.” Take away my grief, my fear, my anxiety, my distrust, my bitterness, my anger and replace it all with trust in you and knowledge of who I am in you… Heal me, Lord! I give myself to you completely to do as you will––tell me what to do and I’ll do it! I am yours to do with as you will….
Have you ever found yourself to be irritable or quick to anger?
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