A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Is it wrong to feel ANGER and HATRED for my abuser? — a new FAQ

Victims are often told that they’re sinning if they feel anger or hatred towards their abusers. So we have created a new FAQ that lists several blog posts which address that issue.

Is it wrong to feel ANGER and HATRED for my abuser?

“Be angry and do not sin” (Eph. 4:26) is not the Bible’s only teaching about anger.

8 Comments

  1. GypsyAngel

    Thank you for this compilation. I’ve had so many ask me about their anger lately. Sometimes I question if my personal anger is sinful. The few I read have already answered my personal questions.

  2. Initium nova

    Hatred is an ongoing issue which I have struggled with.
    Recently I found some insight into the cause of my confusion about my feelings of hatred through some articles on this site; and so I feel that I’m ready to start dealing with it.

    I was trying very hard to hide my anger toward my X, because I felt that a good christian wasn’t supposed to feel that way. Then I read Proverbs 10 v8 that “He who conceals his hatred has lying lips.”
    I’m trying to hide my anger with civil words and kind behaviour; but its not working, so
    I condemn myself for being hateful. I think I am bad, so i feel ashamed and guilty.
    Nothing was changing except that I’m getting more and more severe neck pain.
    My Bible reading and prayer was not transforming my feelings.

    Today I want to say that I will try to own and admit that I still have feelings of hatred to him.
    I accept that I have strong feelings of inner hatred and anger, and that I hide and cover them up.
    I want to be honest with myself and also with God.
    I know I can express this pain of hatred and anger to my God who will accept me no matter what I feel. He is my God of Love, so the more I face them and reveal them to God for His grace to relieve me of them, the easier I will feel His love for me.
    I want to be free from this turmoil.

    • I’m so glad you are finding our material helpful, initium nova. False guilt is a killer — it stops growth. It sounds like you have made a bit of a breakthrough.

    • Helovesme

      Initium Nova that is one of the most beautiful, precious comments I’ve had the honor of reading.

      You described a LOT of my own personal feelings and struggles very well. Almost verbatim. So please know you’re not alone in the back and forth, tug of war and feeling pulled in all sorts of directions.

      Our feelings are often all over the map when it comes to trauma, abuse and severe trials in general. Many times it’s hard to get a hold of (and clearly define) our thoughts and feelings because they are coming and going so quickly.

      That often leads to even more confusion, condemnation—–and can easily give the devil ample room to exploit us when we are so vulnerable.

      It is already an enormous burden to have been victimized. Then we are additionally burdened in trying to deal with the trauma in the “right” way. Whatever that means.

      Add to what you spoke of—-trying to deal with trauma in a “Biblical” way. I put “Biblical” In quotes because there ARE Biblical rights and wrongs—-but often times the church and/or professing Christians can often twist Scripture into something it is clearly not.

      I’m working hard to live out the same conclusions you spoke of. The other thing that has helped me greatly is in comparing and contrasting two excellent verses from the Word:

      “They tie up heavy loads, hard to bear, and place them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves will not lift a finger to help bear them.” (Matthew 23:4)

      That was Jesus speaking about the Pharisees. They burden the already burdened with even MORE burdens.

      Compare and contrast that with how Jesus spoke of Himself:

      ““Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28)

      The last thing He will do for those that are already weary, exhausted and worn out—-is add MORE burdens to those already sagging shoulders.

      I don’t believe forgiving those that inflicted trauma on us is a “burden” in that it is meant to harm us even further. It is also not meant to be used as a “whip” held over our heads—-ready to come down on us should we dare to admit that we are too angry or even hateful to consider forgiving our abusers.

      I believe forgiveness is a work of the Lord within us, and depending on what offenses need to be forgiven—-it can be a slow and steady process. The Lord is more patient and gracious with us than we are willing to admit. That does not mean that we are allowed to prevail upon that goodness, but we should keep that in mind when we are so easily and so quickly ready to condemn ourselves for not obeying the Word “fast enough.”

      And, to make sure that we don’t let other professing Christians to jump in and start telling us when we are taking “too long” to forgive, or move on, or be healed from our traumas. It is not necessarily their business, or their right—-to tell us such things.They don’t know us like He does, and they don’t know what we’ve been through like He does. That should be left up to our Savior to speak in such serious and personal ways into our lives.

      I also try to bear in mind that for some or many victims—-they have grown numb inside. Trying to “awake” the ability to feel again—-to define and process feelings like a real person is a daunting task. I can testify that there were difficult things I experienced from 20 years ago, that I only recently was able to have a real response to.

      Keeping you in prayer. His love is deeper and wider and higher than we can imagine or understand or even grasp with our limited minds.

  3. Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

    I often wonder what Jesus was thinking when he was seething in anger at his persecutors but did nothing. I doubt he was thinking nice things to those who were evil.

    It’s a wrong picture of God that he’s always loving — he is, but he’s also a God of wrath and does not let evil go unpunished. Churches need to be reminded about God’s thoughts towards evil. He is not the God of only sweetness and light. Even Jesus told his own mother off when she tried to force him to do a miracle at the wedding in Cana.

    He is not a God of force; nor is he a God to be forced. I think some Christians think he is someone they can easily manipulate and twist his arm. God will not be pushed about. He will ultimately repay evil with punishment. It will not be a short punishment, but one that will last forever. Away from me! – and they were cast into everlasting fire, tormented forever with weeping and gnashing of teeth. That proves how evil they really were.

    I don’t see how abusers can be treated as anything but evil personified. I think Jesus made that clear on Earth. With little children who loved him around and on his knee, he said “Let anyone who hinders any ONE of these little ones. It would be better if a (donkey) millstone be hung around his neck and such a one be thrown (by force) into the depths of the sea.”

    Evil always puts up a fight. Why should we not? Jesus did, he spoke firm but with anger.

    I can envisage Jesus allowing a millstone to be chained around a neck and dragged with some effort to a good strong boat and taken to a deep part of sea and thrown in. It all takes effort and force. No messing about. So to me if God is allowed to speak in anger and Jesus did it and even aggressively pushed over things and MADE a whip and angrily thrashed and DROVE people who were cheats and treading on the oppressed and making life so difficult for them to live. Jesus thrashed his way through temple courts. Now take note: he was only one man and I’m sure people tried to overpower him but he was GOD. He took full authority and he let go of his anger outwardly.

    I tell you many a time I got angry with my wife, many a time I got angry with family and work colleagues and still do. They think it’s not Christian to get angry. But I say it is, as long as you do not sin. It’s ok to be angry. I banged walls and doors and flung things just as anyone would in pain and agony and frustration. I yelled and shouted.

    It’s a double standard when people think it’s okay for abusers to do that kind of thing but we (the victims) can’t because we must be silent.

    My sister said to me recently, “But Jesus before his accusers was dumb.” It was a verse taken out of context. Jesus was fulfilling prophecy at that moment: he knew it was all part of God’s plan for our salvation. He knew it was his time to die for us. Part of his mission was to die on our behalf a sin offering. The lamb led to the slaughter. God made the perfect sacrificial offering for sin in the person of Jesus.

    We must see the character of God who has wrath and punishment to evildoers. Society gets it wrong when they think Christians are to be weak and mild. Meekness and humility does not mean weakness and be a pushover. I do not see God in both old or New Testament doing that. I do see martyrs. I do see Christians persecuted. I don’t see Paul, James or John, and certainly not Peter nor John the Baptist failing to speak up about evildoers. Jesus had spoken plenty before his trial when he was about to be crucified, when he was silent. Many a time he probably bit his tongue but was seething. Many a time we will too. But many a time, just as others did, we are given that CHOICE by God and it is up to us when we speak up and act.

    For many of us, we felt too scared or debilitated by persistence, or beaten up of mind, and felt we had no option to take it. Many a time our mind, body and soul was so weakened and, as children, we did not know any better but to let things happen to us. Many a time we froze and in our lostness and sheer shock we did not react or know what was going on. It was confusing. It was all too quick. However, at other times our natural defences took over. Like when an animal frightened by abuse or neglect is cornered and will snarl and snap back, we do too. I see no difference in anger from a victim than that.

    I remember two “mates” when I was very young holding me down by a river bank and lifting dirt and even dog dirt and grass and sitting astride me being far bigger. I had no option though I struggled and shouted and yelled. I was silenced with grass stuffed into my mouth mixed with dirt. They laughing…and me crying and writhing but held down by their body weight. I had no choice but to let it happen. I’ll never forget it. When they finished and I got free everything in deep anger flailed; I tried to mash them; if I had gotten them I would have. They ran across the road and into my housing area. With a very angry blackened face and green grass stains like a mad commando like a mini Incredible Hulk I roared and roared aaaaaarghhhh for ages at them… with them running in fright and laughter. But I faced about ten houses across that river and I’m sure people who knew me saw it. There were nosey neighbours in quite a few of those houses who missed not a trick. I roared for a good five or ten minutes until my “mates” dissapeared. Was I wrong as a young Christian boy? Never once did I ever think that.

    In spiritual warfare (for effectively that’s exactly what abuse is) if we are Christians it is ok to let the lion of Judah well up within you and let rise back. Sometimes lions roar to let other know who’s boss. We need to let Satan and others know the lion of Judah within is King of kings and Lord of lords and let roar. It’s not always safe to do so but oh I’ve every belief that going out into a quiet area and speaking to the wind let it rip out of you and don’t hold back. I know that day I’d have got those guys back which I never did. They were mates, but they always feared me after that day, knowing who was inside of me. They knew if I’d got hold of them well let’s say I’d have mashed them. In hindsight I am glad I didn’t, but I am so glad I roared with every fibre of my being.

    Be angry and sin not. I think a roar certainly covers that ok .

    • The picture you drew of those two boys abusing you when you were young….. Wow!
      And I absolutely love your ‘Lion of Judah’ response. 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • Now Free (formerly struggling to be free)

        Kids being kids, but not very nice kids. Both turned out alright. Part of the course where I grew up. I laugh now looking back as I think the lion had a wee bit of the Incredible Hulk in him that day. Grass stained face I looked the part too. My point is it didn’t affect me once I’d stopped seething because I let my anger out. Bottling up is not good practice as I only know too well also. Just because they were abusive then did not mean they were abusers. Both never grew up to be abusive. Both came from difficult homes and violence in one definitely would have been the norm. Heavy drinking mothers did not help the home situation. Yet both boys turned out to be good and decent men. Childish pranks are not always nice but do not thankfully mark a man’s downfall. In fact one of them became a good friend until they moved home.

        Helovesme me puts it well re anger and I say yes and amen.

    • Helovesme

      Now Free (Formerly Struggling To Be Free) as always you have wonderful things to share.

      As with Barb, I too was mortified at your story with those two boys. I shudder to imagine as to what kind of men they have grown into.

      You made excellent points about anger. Your sister is very wrong in the Scripture she quoted as a way to advocate not becoming angry in the face of injustice.

      Ecclesiastes 3 speaks of “seasons,” and there being a “time” for everything. As you so well pointed out, Jesus did not speak after a certain point because it was His time to die for us.

      Does your sister not recall that Jesus DID speak to Pilate when He was brought before Him? He did not remain silent the entire time. He knew when to speak, and when not to.

      Does your sister also not recall the plenty of preaching, teaching, rebuking AND debating for His three year ministry? However, there was a point where He said he was “DONE” debating with His opponents. The time He spent dealing with them was limited, and He knew when it was over and done.

      Abuse is an interesting but very difficult topic to debate and discuss. Most abusers are people we know, trust and even love. We want them to love and approve of us so badly that we often don’t know IF we should fight back. Even if we DO decide we must fight back—-we don’t know exactly how to do so. How far to go, and how far is too far. How far is not far enough.

      There ARE right and wrong ways to fight back. There ARE right and wrong ways to express our anger. I wholeheartedly believe that. Sometimes it’s obvious: don’t indulge in petty name calling. Don’t engage in lies. Don’t tear a person down unfairly in an effort to come out ahead.

      Fight back, but cleanly. Don’t get caught up in mud slinging. Fight back, but fairly. Stick to the facts. Stick to the truth. Fight back, but remember that we don’t fight against flesh and blood. We are fighting the darkness that is invisible to the naked eye, but very visible in the spiritual realm. Ask the Lord to give you His light: “In Your light, we see light” (Psalm 36:9)

      Never remain silent unless the Lord directs you to. It is not an across the board commandment to be silent. The Bible says to be SLOW to speak, SLOW to get angry and SLOW to take offense. It never, ever says that you are never to speak, never to get angry and never to taken offense.

      Think about someone you love. If someone harmed them, and you did not feel some level of angry, hurt and pain on their behalf, I would question if you really loved them. That does not mean that we are allowed to saddle up and execute vigilante justice on that offender! But I would say there is a problem if you did not at least demand, expect and desire justice for the one you love, the one who has been wronged.

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