Still Angry

IMG_1455.JPG has the following description of the anger stage of grief:

This reaction usually occurs when an individual feels helpless and powerless. Anger can stem from a feeling of abandonment through a loved one’s death. An individual may be angry at a higher power or toward life in general.

When my uncle, Shun was killed in July, my first prayer was for my friends and family to remain calm and not seek vengeance. When I arrived in Birmingham the next morning everyone was angry and looking for answers. It took every ounce of spiritual strength I had to remain calm and try to console my family and my friends from the neighborhood.

A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭15‬:‭1‬ NKJV)

As the week went on, I learned more details about the circumstances concerning his murder. Slowly, my calm began to dissipate and anger took its place. I’m still angry for two reasons. First, because he was in a place filled with people he knew and nobody tried to help him or call for an ambulance as he bled to death. When I see the people who frequent the place where he was killed, I don’t like them, I don’t trust them, and I’m offended if they speak to me. How can they smile in my face when they were probably there that night watching my uncle die?

Secondly I am angry because of the relationship I’ve lost. Growing up, Shun and I were close. I was probably more like a little brother than a nephew. We kind of lost touch for a while but we began to talk and have more conversations in recent years. I was just getting to know him in this new relationship. Then he was gone.

As I listen to the countless stories of how loving, giving, caring, and compassionate he was, or how he would lead the cheering at sports events and parades, I’m angry because I never got to see that side of him. I’m angry because I’ve lost the opportunity to share so many life experiences with Shun. So what do I do with this anger?

I’ve resolved to love my family even more than before. Throughout this ordeal I’ve felt helpless. If I could take my family’s pain away I would. But that’s beyond my control. I can however give love. God is love. God is in me. So love is in me. Freely I’ve been given so freely I will give. I’ll try harder to give kind words, create new memories, share encouragement, long suffering, patience, a shoulder to cry on, or just a listening ear. If we all resolve to bring a little love to the table, we can fill the empty places where love has been lost.

I’ve also decided the best way to deal with my anger is to remind myself of the truth found in God’s word. I hope these scriptures will help you as they’re helping me. 

For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. (‭Luke‬ ‭8‬:‭17‬ NKJV)

I must remind myself that God knows exactly what happened that night and the truth will be revealed. Whether now or in eternity, someone will answer to God for what has been done. 

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (‭James‬ ‭1‬:‭19-20‬ NKJV)

I must be careful to quench my wrath because it could cause me to dishonor God.

“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, (‭Ephesians‬ ‭4‬:‭26‬ NKJV)

It’s ok to feel but I can’t let my feelings lead me to commit sin. I must address these feelings daily and not allow them to linger and carry over to the next day.

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (‭I Peter‬ ‭5‬:‭6-7‬ NKJV)

I must turn my feelings of anger and loss over to God in prayer. He cares about how I feel and is willing to bear the burden for me.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭4‬:‭16‬ NKJV)

I don’t have to set an appointment to talk with God. I can go to him at any time I’m in need.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (‭Philippians‬ ‭4‬:‭6-7‬ NKJV)

I must pray and tell God about every emotion I have. Even the painful and embarrassing feelings must be shared so his peace can guard my heart and mind.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (‭Philippians‬ ‭4‬:‭8‬ NKJV)

I must make a conscious decision to discipline my mind. Instead of dwelling on the anger and loss, I must think about things that are of a good report and praiseworthy.