By Rosemary Flaaten –
“I can’t believe what she did to me. She swooped in and sweet-talked the boss into letting her have the big project—the one that was slated for me, and then she went on to brag about it. When I confronted her, she started ranting and slashing my character right in front of our coworkers. I felt so humiliated. I am never going to forgive her for what she did to me. You know what, she better watch her back because I’m not letting go of this.”
Does anything in this story sound familiar? Someone upsets us and we hold onto the anger that surfaces, perhaps even choosing to retaliate. And as we coddle this anger, its tentacles go deeper and deeper into our soul, strangling any chance of moving past the injustice, let alone having good come of it. Anger, when nursed, becomes a roaring fire within us.
So what do we need to do to douse the fire and stop the destructive nature of anger? Choosing to step away from any opportunity with which we are presented or may pursue to even the score, is always the first step.
The second step is to let go of the hurt by choosing to forgive. We may think that if we have to forgive the same person over and over again, then at some point it will be understandable for our goodwill to expire. This was the Apostle Peter’s mentality when he asked Jesus to affirm that forgiving seven times was more than sufficient (Matthew 18:21). The Jewish law considered it presumptuous and unnecessary to forgive more than three times. Jesus’ response to Peter’s self-congratulatory statement was to forgive as He would: seventy times seven.
Most often, this is as far as we take the topic of forgiveness. Don’t retaliate, forgive and let go. But I believe the biblical story of Joseph adds one final piece to the picture. Joseph chose to show kindness and goodness to the very brothers who had wronged him (Genesis 50:19-21). When we choose to do good to someone, even if it is just kind thoughts toward them, the stranglehold of anger loses its power within us.
Forgiveness diffuses anger. Kindness douses it completely.
PRAYER: As this new year begins, may I choose a new path that enables me to pursue ways to show kindness to those who have wronged me.
“Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life” (Ephesians 4:26-27 The Message).
Today’s Devotional is by Rosemary Flaaten. Her successful book, A Woman and Her Relationships helps women process their outside-of-work relationships, so now she’s delving into these 9-5 relationships in A Woman and Her Workplace. Her Relationships book won The Word Guild Award, which is Canada’s top Christian literary honor. A dynamic speaker—Rosemary challenges women of all professions to view their work as a calling and their workplaces as opportunities to live out Christ’s love. Rosemary lives with her husband and three children in Calgary, Canada.