Anger management, part two

pink mums RGB mOZ6hNmPart one of this piece appeared last week. 

Lose the “but…” Practicing the art of apology means stopping at “I’m sorry” and not adding the “but” that often comes afterward. “I’m sorry, but…” does not count as a true apology—what the other person takes away is the reason for your action, not that you are remorseful.

Jason notes that in teaching this to his daughters, he and his wife have been able to remove the “but. . .” in their own apologies as well. “This has vastly improved our ability to get over disagreements and diffuse conflicts that might easily have escalated between us,” Jason says. Continue reading

Anger management

iStock_000001612857MediumWhen Sarah’s husband (whom we’ll call Mark) had an affair, Sarah’s sister, Jessica, had trouble forgiving her brother-in-law—even after years had gone by and her sister’s marriage, with the help of counseling, was back on track.

“I went to confession after being angry for so long, and the priest talked to me about giving the anger to God and being loving instead,” Jessica says. “I can’t tell you the strength I received when I chose to forgive Mark and love my brother-in-law once again. It took a long time to get there, but it was worth it. I now think forgiveness is the most important lesson we have to learn in life. And it’s also one of the most difficult.”

Family is the first teacher of forgiveness. From our family of origin we can learn either a healthy or a dysfunctional way to react to hurt. Continue reading

You have what it takes to forgive

Aug coverWhen Jesus forgives those who had unjustly convicted him and nailed him on a cross to die, his prayer, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do,” alludes to the reason all people sin—in the moment of making the sinful choice, the person steps out of God’s grace.

“They know not what they do” doesn’t excuse their behavior, but rather explains that outside of God’s grace, we are unable to access the wisdom or understanding that we need to make a holy choice. Outside of God’s grace, we are left, like the leaders of Jesus’ day, to make decisions out of fear or selfishness, rather than decisions that come from a place of love.

To forgive someone, perhaps we first need to look hard at the factors in that person’s life that led them to step outside of God’s grace. Continue reading