Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I'm Angry

I’m trying to get a little distance, to take a bigger perspective on what’s going on here. I am confident that the people who have hurt us so much are well-intentioned. I believe they are trying to figure things out just as we are; doing their best to negotiate conflict in a way that will bring it to an end.

But there is no time for distance. Whenever I start to feel a little calm and try to rearrange my perspective to something less emotionally driven, we get kicked in the head again.

Today my husband met with the president of the congregation (PoC) to express his pain and frustration about the release of medical information without his knowledge. PoC was entirely unapologetic and without compassion. When my husband suggested that the council might benefit from a brief workshop on depression to help them understand him, PoC indicated that nobody really cares. As long as he can work full-time, they don’t care about anything else (we hear: they don’t care about my husband).

This attitude is consistent with what has been said time and again, indicating that my husband is a functionary. His perspective and his heart do not matter.

How does a church ever get to that position? A pastor is called to guide people in relationship with God, to bring his heart to work every day, and to show Godly compassion in the most challenging times of people’s lives. How would a church leadership group ever arrive at the position that he must simply follow instructions and they need not be concerned with his spiritual or emotional well-being?

I’m very angry. I have been very angry for a long time now. Wiser hearts than mine have encouraged me to give the anger to God, to cry out to Him in my pain. If I trusted them one penny less I would toss that aside as a stupid idea.

I complain to God. I beg Him to get us away from this place. I ask Him to give me compassion for these people and help me turn this anger into sadness for them and the situation we’re all in.

So far, I’m still pretty mad.


  1. It's an extremely daunting task to love the unloveable and have compassion for the uncompassionate. You can't do anything more than to ask God for help with that like you've done; it has to come from Him, certainly not ourselves in the miserable situation you're facing.

    As for the church membership, well, whenever any of us try to be like God and take matters into our own hands instead of placing them into His (and the shepherds He has placed into the Office of the Holy Minisry), conflict will ensue. Today's devotion in TDP included 1 Samuel 5; Dagon sure got his. I'm just saying . . . lol

  2. Why is it that the people of God can treat each other with such disdain? Furthermore, why is it that they get so stiff-necked about their own sin? There are churches out there who love and cherish their pastors, and then there are those who eat their pastors alive. I wish I knew why that was, but the only answer really is that they are sinners. Sinners for whom Christ died for as well.

    It does seem very easy to say, "Give you're anger to God" and not have a tangible way to do so. I have found that writing the people who have hurt me a letter has helped my mental state quite a bit. I haven't sent these letters, however, and have a great deal of joy watching them burn or ripping them up into tiny shreds.

    Find a Father Confessor. It sounds like the senior pastor is too close to the situation, so perhaps someone in the circuit or other surrounding area that you can just talk and vent to that is outside of the situation and whom you can confess to. Private confession and absolution are so releasing and good for the soul!

    Find time for yourself. Maybe it's when the kids are playing or sleeping or even out at a friend's house. Find a hobby that you can reward yourself with each day that you get through.

    The toughest one, and the one I am learning right now, is pray "Give us this day our daily bread". God promises to take care of you *this* day, my dear sister in Christ. He will provide all that you need to support this body and life, including the most tough times. You still are a princess in His kingdom, an heir to all the riches He has promised, namely, His salvation through Christ on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins. Your baptism hasn't dried up and God has not abandoned you. In His good time, He will deliver you from your afflictions. Trust in that promise and cling to it. In your prayers, it is okay to remind Him to make good on that promise and then pray for patience. God will provide because He is a God of promises, and He never breaks a promise.

  3. I've debated whether to say anything here or not. For whatever they are worth - here are my thoughts:

    The bible says: Be angry and yet do not sin. To be angry is not sin. It is how you handle your anger that is important. Anger is like a double spotlight: it shines on the callous wrongs done to you and it shines on who is responsible and blameworthy for the wrongs. Understanding that there are two aspects in your anger may help sort actions from people.

    You have expressed feelings of being betrayed, violated, and robbed of your privacy. Who wouldn't be angry? We are not robots; we are flesh and blood. We feel pain and we bleed when we have been hurt. If your emotions were flat and so-what, I would be concerned for your emotional health.

    It is good to try to get perspective: You are stressed and have been deeply wounded. The wound is sensitive and the lightest tap on this wound can give excruciating pain. Be aware that you are dealing with repeat offenders and you are sensitive. This perspective may help you differentiate whether you are receiving blows or taps on your wound.

    Well-intentioned or not, there are people who are responsible for what has happened and they did not respond when your husband tried to confront them on the wrong done. You sought the biblical remedy: to go to your brother and seek repentance and reconciliation. But your brother has refused this route. So, now what?

    You know the basics. Pray and give it God. Easier said than done when you are in the midst of the storm. Especially when your innards are screaming at the ongoing assaults and your mind is reeling at the hatefulness and/or stupidity of it all.

    Anywho, wrath and vengeance (wanting them to hurt as badly as you do) are things that need to be avoided. This is why we seek God to grant us the grace to put away all anger, malice, and ill-will towards serious offenders. It does not happen overnight, so cut yourself some slack. You are not a machine who can turn your emotions off-or-on at will. These things usually take time, but God will help you and take care of you according to his wisdom and timing. There are some things about this experience that you may never understand since God doesn't tell us everything, but I would guess forgiveness and trusting him will be things you will grow in during this time.

    Here are some daily steps that helped me with a serial unrepentant offender: 1) Told God how mad I was, admitted that I thought this person should be boiled in oil, and that I wanted to forgive from my heart because I knew it was the right thing to do. 2) Asked him to deal with the situation because he knew I was a helpless mess. 3) Then asked him to bless my offender with the things I would have liked to have him give me. Ouch - that was painful for me. 4) Very slowly learned to trust God with it all and that he would take care of everything in his way and in his timing. (Now that I am a Lutheran, I would add going to confession and absolution.)

    It was getting a glimpse of the reality of the offender possibly going to hell because of their unrepentance that terrified the dickens out of me and enabled me to honestly pray and plead for them. I still have to pray for this person at times and watch out for bitterness because I still struggle at times with the harm done to my family. Sometimes, I wish I God would erase my memories!

    Lastly, I have read a small library of books on forgiveness. The only one I recommend is: "Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical answers for complex questions and deep wounds" by Chris Brauns Someone else may know of a better book?

    I have not read it yet, but you also might want to read Pastor Peperkorn's book, Dark My Road. I'm sure it has terrific stuff in it.

    Blessings to you and hang in there. :)

  4. I have nothing more to say right now then what has already been said. I'm praying for you, your family and your Church.

    (OK I always have more to say, sorry)

    I'm sorry but does your husband really have to ask the POC permission to have a workshop on depression? Where are the ELDERS?

    Shame on me for asking but where is the Synod when I pastor and his family is struggling? Where is the DP? They get paid to help. Where is he? It is time to get some outside help.

    We need to have healing. This is not right.
    I don't even know you outside of this blog and i'm angry.

  5. Thank you all. This community of sympathy, experience, and wisdom is just what I need. God bless you.


Thanks for using this space to share your encouraging words.