Tag Archive: anger


Lenten Study Week 5

The saga continues: Miranda goes into Peter’s house and they sit down for a cup of tea and a chat.  Peter asks her what is wrong ad she says that she wishes that her husband was more like him.  Peter warns her back from that slippery slope. (He’s a good guy.  He’s attracted to Miranda but he’s going to behave himself, even if she wasn’t going to.)  He was a missionary and had been married.  His wife died while they were in Brazil together.  They were thinking of baby names and he teased one of her choices and she got mad and stormed out; only to be stuck by a car and killed.

Jason has been going to church and has seemed different lately (perhaps this is why Miranda is drawing away from him?)  She asks Peter when he became a “Jesus freak,” which leads to a discussion of Miranda accepting God into her life.  Peter helps her talk to God and tell him that she wants him in her life.

Miranda asks Peter if they can pray for she and Jason.  Write the prayer that you would pray for Miranda and Jason if you were Peter.

Lord, we ask that you help these two people remember why they chose to be married. Help them draw together in the difficult times they face. Help them learn to talk to one another but more than that; help them learn to listen – for in listening we find true communication.   Bring them peace and joy in their lives together.

What do you see as the existing obstacles to healing in Miranda and Jason’s relationship?

There are a lot of obstacles in their relationship. Miranda is obviously still hurt about Jason’s mistake with the girl in the coffee shop and he’s probably completely unaware of it. She’s been trying to get revenge on him for that by seeing Peter and though Peter is an honest man and would never be more than friends, Miranda could still push Jason away in an effort to end her marriage and be with Peter.

The both of them have problems in dealing with anger, especially in holding onto past slights. If they want to move forward in their relationship, they both need to learn to communicate better, expressing their feelings and what they need from one another. If they are upset by something, they need to feel that they can talk about it.   Neither of them should be bottling their anger up until it explodes or storming out in a huff. Instead they should sit down and talk to one another about how they’re feeling about what’s going on.

It’s funny.  My sister pointed out that my own marriage had problems with communication (I’m sure it’s a common problem).  I hadn’t thought about it.  I’ve been divorced for about five and a half years now and I’ve pretty much moved on.  My ex was very sweet when we started out and we seemed to be able to talk about almost anything.  We took walks and sat together and chatted over meals.  But as we moved on the lines of communication broke down.

He started holding onto his feelings and not telling me how he felt and, I suppose when he started withdrawing from me, I sort of let him.  I wasn’t going to chase him down and force him to talk to me because I’m a non-confrontational person.  At the same time, I knew we needed to talk and I was feeling very frustrated at him for pulling away from me.

At the same time as all of that was happening, other complications arose.  My ex stopped taking his depression medicine and that probably fueled his withdrawal.  He was also very passive-aggressive and had a habit of casually saying things to hurt my feelings and then telling me not to be so sensitive. (Like Mother Gothel in Disney movie, Tangled.)

Anyway, I can really relate to these two fictional people and I’m glad that I can look back on my marriage and not get upset any more.  He was a good guy, for the most part, and I wish him all the best (just not with me).

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Well, in the continuing story of Jason and Miranda, we learn that Miranda isn’t so perfect as we might have previously thought.  Jason isn’t either for that matter.  He’s been seen in a cafe with a pretty young thing (though he swears they weren’t doing anything besides chatting) and Miranda has been nursing her hurt over this for a few months now.  Her old friend Peter comes back to town and she starts chatting with him again, then going over to his house for a cup of coffee.

Don’t get me wrong, married folks can have friends, but not telling Jason she’s going to see Peter is a problem, going to see him as some misguided “revenge” because Jason might have cheated on her is even worse.  So Miranda and Jason talk for a bit and then Miranda goes out for a cool-down drive.  She contemplates going over to her parents’ house but ends up at Peter’s.  He doesn’t open the door immediately and she rethinks the wisdom of visiting with him.

“Sweetie, if you think you might be doing something questionable with regards to your relationship, you probably are,” is my thought… on to the questions:

Read Proverbs 4:23-26- Is Miranda following these scriptures with her current approach to Jason and Peter?  What might you say to Miranda to have her think differently about her actions.

 

I would say that Miranda isn’t following these scriptures with her current actions, most especially since she’s not giving careful thought to the path that her actions might be leading her towards and she’s not being steadfast in her marriage. She’s not cheating on Jason but only just.

 

I would point out the old saying: that two wrongs don’t make a right. She was upset with Jason hanging out with a girl in a coffee shop and uses this as a justification to go visit with her old friend Peter. Visiting with an old friend is fine but she should be open with her husband about it. In addition, the thought that she’s paying Jason back should not be what is prompting her visiting Peter.

 

Miranda asks you why you believe in God, what do you tell her?

 

I’ve always found comfort in my belief in God. When my father is sick, particularly when he’s been in the hospital, there is very little I can do. I can pray and be comforted that whatever happens, my father is in God’s hands and that God can help me get through it.

 

It’s easy to blame God when bad things happen to people but I’ve always believed that free will is a big source of the bad things that happen. People make choices and sometimes things happen to them and sometimes things happen to other people. I think that God rarely sends us things to test us as he did Job.   Most of the time, we or others make a choice and that choice results in consequences. (I’m not explaining this well, I’m sure).

 

I believe in God because I know that someone is in control of the world. I feel that and I see evidence of it in how God’s creation is – everything just right for us to exist and have intelligence. I see God in my life and how he’s blessed me, even in times that are difficult. I’ve lost people I cared for but I’ve always had a support system of one kind or another and I know that God has put me where I need to be so that I can get through those difficult time.

 

Miranda confides to you that she is feeling emotionally attached to Peter.  She wants to feel that way with Jason, but feels like she hasn’t been able to talk with him for a long time. She asks you if this is wrong, what do you tell her?

Miranda needs to remember why she loved Jason in the first place. Why did she marry him? What are his good features? She can use these as a stepping off point.

She also needs to talk to him and tell her how she’s feeling, without pointing fingers or accusing him. She needs to let go of his past wrongs and start fresh, not holding onto her anger with him and giving their relationship and honest try.

The sage continues for Jason and Miranda.  Jason bursts in on Miranda (thinking that he’d convince her that his view was the correct one.  he finds that she’s packing and realizes what this means so he prays out loud, stating how he loves his wife and wants this to work out an only God can open the way for him.

Miranda goes on the defensive and states that she’s hurt and feeling betrayed and lied to.  She also calls out Jason for manipulating her with that Bible stuff.  He cuts the BS and settles on the bed, asking her if they can talk things over without yelling at each other (for my part that would depend on how late it was.  I get cranky when I’m tired.)  He pours out his feelings to her – how he realizes that he’s messed up and he feels like he’s let her down and run away from his responsibilities.

We were invited to use Matthew 18:15-17 to resolve conflicts.  I’ve never tried that personally but it seems to me that it might work (Well, that was probably why it was in there.  Jesus was pretty smart.)  Conflict resolution is something i’m new at, actually.  My usual reaction to someone making me angry is to hold it all inside and then blow up when it gets too much.

We were also invited to use the Wesleyan Quadrilateral (Scripture, Tradition, Reason, Experience) to decide if maybe, just this once we should let the sun set on our anger.  Scripture… “He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated. Proverbs 14:17 (KJV)”  So you might deal foolishly if you’re angry.  That makes sense, I know I make poor choices when I’m angry.  Traditionally, I go to bed early.  If dealing with this right here and now is going to keep me up until one in the morning, it might be better for me to get some shut-eye.  Reason: there are studies that show how bad people think and how much more inclined they are to argue about little things that really aren’t the topic at hand (does it really matter in the long run how you squeeze the toothpaste out of the tube?).  Experience: Personal experience tells me my brains down at eight o’clock at night.  Working without a net (so to speak) is not the time you want to climb the high-wire and lay it all on the line.

It seems as though Jason and Miranda are making some steps in the right direction.  How might Jason show he is sincere about the things he has said?  What can Miranda do to work through the feelings of anger she is having toward Jason?

It’s good that Jason has acknowledged both Miranda’s feelings and her right to them. He might also ask Miranda what she thinks he could do.   Since she feels that he is not listening to her and he’s being selfish, showing that he is willing to follow her advice might help with that.

Miranda should take a moment to pray about her anger. She has every right to feel hurt and betrayed. If she wants the relationship to work, she needs to take a moment and calm down – close her eyes and focus on her breathing for a moment. She’s told him how she feels and what her needs are (she’s feeling hurt and betrayed and feels like their relationship is one sided) and that’s an important step in the right direction. She also needs to hear his side of things, as he truly needs to hear hers. Only by working together and coming together can they get through this as a couple.

 Matthew 21:12 gives us an example of righteous indignation.  Would you classify the anger Jason and Miranda are experiencing as Righteous Indignation?  Explain.

In Matthew 21:12 is the part in Matthew where Jesus cleanses the temple. The moneychangers and sellers at the booths are making God’s temple into a place where people get swindled, as Jesus calls it “a robber’s den.” He’s angry with them because they are sinning and drawing others to sin as well by their very presence, which is why they are driven out.

Jason is not experiencing righteous indignation. He’s angry and feels like he’s been treated unfairly. He let his temper lead him into doing something foolish. No one has sinned or been drawn to it by the actions of his managers. Miranda, while she has every right to feel the way she does, is justifiably upset, not righteously indignant.

On a more personal note, I had a chance to practice what we’ve been learning about this week.  I drove our carpool to work on Friday and one of the ladies has been criticizing my driving (indirectly, she told another member of the carpool that she was concerned and asked if she should perhaps offer to drive my car up on days when it’s my turn).  I told her, you can sit beside me when I drive up and tell me what you think I’m doing wrong.

I’ve been driving for twenty years but I’m not too old to increase my skills.  She chattered the whole way up, giving advice and being actually rather patronizing.  I didn’t even get frustrated with her.  I just listened to the instructions, smoothed out how I took corners or changed lanes and maybe now she won’t complain so much when I drive.  Conflict resolution… don’t get mad, listen to criticism and don’t take it personally.  It was a learning experience and I’m guardedly optimistic.  My sister got some practice in too.  She counted to ten and focused on her breathing instead of getting angry.  Altogether, I think my anger issues are much improved for this Bible study experience.

We continued the story of Jason and his wife, Miranda, this week.  He’d broken a rule in their marriage: He’d made a big decision without her.  She gets home before he does (because he stopped and got her favorite flowers to “make things up to her”) and makes his favorite meal, because she knows how very stressed he’s been at work.  He feels guilty that he made the unilateral decision to quit his job and tells her what happened and she realizes that the flowers were his way of apologizing and throws them out.  He plans on going after her to “explain his side of things.”

Ephesians 4:26 New International Version (NIV)

26 “In your anger do not sin”[a]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.

It’s funny because I was just thinking about this verse while writing a story this week. Read straight, it seems to imply that Jason should confront Miranda right then and there. After all, don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry seems pretty direct – take care of those things that anger you before you go to bed – even if it takes all night.

I don’t think it means that though. I tend to think that it means we should let go of the things that are making us angry before bed – not fight it out; but just prayerfully let it go. A lot of times if it’s late at night, and you’re tired, your mind doesn’t work as well and you just keep getting angrier and angrier.

In fact things can seem much worse if your tired and you’ll fight over things you might ordinarily not fight over if you keep going after you’re tired.

What Jason should do is go to Miranda and tell her he’s sorry. He should thank her for the consideration of making his favorite dinner and then tell her that they’ll discuss the situation with his job in the morning when they’re both rested and clear-headed. It’s important to have the conversation but right before bed is not the time to do it.

How might Jason approach a conversation with Miranda using 1 Corinthians 13

That chapter is one of my favorites because it reminds us the value of love. It’s often used at weddings for that reason – to remind the newly married couple how they should treat one another.

In verse 13 it says, “It [love] is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

In this situation both Jason and Miranda need to be reminded of this. Jason has been behaving in a very selfish manner in all of this and doesn’t even seem to be realizing it. He’s dissatisfied with how he’s been treated at work and doesn’t think that Miranda appreciates the stress he’s been under (though that was why she made him dinner). Miranda needs to keep this verse in mind if she feels tempted to bring up Jason’s “record of wrongs” in his handling of this situation.

This, in my mind ties into the next question: What are some of the potential consequences of allowing the anger and tension between Jason and Miranda to fester.

If they don’t deal with their anger both with the situation and with one another, then they’re marriage might be torn apart by it. Both of them need to talk out what’s been happening, while avoiding casting blame on one another – choices were made, what are you going to do about them now?

Monica Ferris

an author with many hats

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