Wednesday, December 10, 2014

FORGIVING FAMILY


This time of year between Thanksgiving and New Years family is always on my mind. One of the big issues I deal with is forgiveness. I don't seem to be able to let go of how some of my family have reacted to my behavior over the years. I don't like all the conversations behind my back and I certainly don't like the fact that they participated in locking me away a number of times on psychiatric wards. My biggest issue is that my only child was taken from me when she was less than a year old when I was locked away and I ended up with no rights other than those granted by my ex wife. She granted none. I think not being able to see a living child may be worse than having a child die before you do. Of course that is just an opinion based on my feelings although I have lost a child very dear to me. A step-daughter of mine lost her first born son. We had been very close.

The advice I get is to forgive my family and stop letting the anger eat at me. People either quote the Bible, the Big Book of AA or some psychological theory about anger. The Bible does not say I cannot be angry. Read Matthew 5:22 in the KJV, NKJV, Young's Literal Translation, Worldwide English Translation or the World English Bible and you will see the words “without cause.”

Matthew 5:22New King James Version (NKJV)
22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.

In the NIV it reads
Matthew 5:22 New International Version (NIV)
22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
Footnote:Some manuscripts brother or sister without cause
It seems reasonable to me that if one takes the fact that Jesus got angry and that God got angry and that everyone agrees that some manuscripts say that if you’re angry without a cause you’re in trouble then maybe quoting the Bible to me does not work in this case.
The 12 steps tells me what to do in relation to those I have wronged, but I don’t find a great deal of guidance on what I am suppose to do about those who have wronged me.
I do understand the destructiveness of anger to the soul.  It is a cancer to a person’s interior life that spreads to their external life and can make them very difficult to live with.  Do not take this blog entry to suggest I am promoting the idea that one should hold on to anger at all costs.  I am saying don’t try to sell me that all anger is sinful because God and Jesus did not sin and they got angry.  If you don’t believe that ask the money changers in the temple or the fig tree or perhaps you would like to read the Old Testament and then tell me God never got angry.
I have been going to see a psychiatrist since 1964.  I have listened carefully to their advice about anger and read many books claiming to answer the question, but as to date at the age of 66 I still don’t know what a person does with anger that has a cause that is not minor or petty.  Maybe someone reading this will answer this question for me.
© Ed Cooper, December 10, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee


     

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