I’ve got some anger. I do. I admit it. I’ve managed to let go of a lot of it through patience, therapy, time and prayer. I am no longer angry with my parents, Munchkin’s birth father or my own health, or lack thereof, regarding my kidneys and my pregnancy. However, I have some residual anger at the agency (in case you’ve missed that), society at large and, of course, myself. Is that okay? As a Christian birth mother?
I don’t know.
In researching this topic for this post in the series, I came across an interesting site which answers the question, “What Does the Bible Say About Anger?” Knowing that our translations of the Bible don’t show differences, in English language, for the same words, I found this particular point quite interesting, accompanied by our dictionary definition of the word.
Two Greek words are used in the New Testament for our English word “anger.” One (orge) means “passion, energy;” the other (thumos) means “agitated, boiling.” Webster defines anger as “excessive emotion, passion aroused by a sense of injury or wrong;” this injury may be to us or to someone else. Biblically, anger is God-given energy intended to help us solve problems.
Interesting, no? The article goes on to state examples of Biblically sound anger and how those people incited change. It then steps into the part that I held in question: when does anger become a sin? Of course, being thoroughly researched, the article tackles that question as well.
But anger turns to sin when it is selfishly motivated (James 1:20), when God’s goal is distorted (1 Corinthians 10:31), or when anger is allowed to linger (Ephesians 4:26-27).
Okay, well then, let’s look at my own anger in relation to these points made here. I have anger for the agency. Sometimes I use that anger in good ways. I let other people who are researching agencies, adoptive and expecting families alike, the wrongs that were caused us by their unethical practices. I speak out against their practices in hopes of bringing about change in the adoption world. Obviously, my speaking out does not benefit me: my daughter will forever be raised by J & D no matter if my agency’s doors are eventually shut by my loud mouth. (Doubtful as that thought may be.) My goal is to help others avoid the loss, heartache, money gouging and unethical treatment that this agency imposes on unsuspecting parents of all types. That sounds like a “worthy goal,” right? So, is my anger “okay” in the eyes of God.
Well, looking at that last part, referencing Ephesians, about allowing anger to linger, I’m not necessarily sure.
“Be angry, and yet do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.”
How many times has the sun gone down on my anger? Three years worth of sunsets. Knowing the fact that I shouldn’t be letting my anger linger doesn’t magically make it disappear, however, and I sit here wondering what to do about it in relation to my faith.
I don’t feel that by stopping my attempts at speaking out against their unethical practices (of that specific agency and in general) will help that anger disappear. I actually think that is the healthy part of what I am doing. I have turned my bad experience into a hope of helping others avoid it. Yet, it’s obvious to me, by reading scripture and keeping this thought in prayer as of late, that I simply have to let go of the anger. Speaking out is one thing. Letting that anger affect my daily life is a whole other issue.
The website linked and quoted above provides a great list of how to Biblically cope with the anger we feel for situations and others. Personally, I feel a few of the points are speaking directly to me in how I should work to start moving past the anger I have for the agency. One specifically shows me some hope in overcoming this anger.
Lastly you must act to solve your part of the problem (Acts 12:18). You cannot control how others act or respond, but you can make changes that need to be made on your part. Overcoming one’s temper is not something that is usually accomplished overnight. But with reliance upon God through prayer for help, Bible study, and reliance upon God’s Holy Spirit, it can be overcome. As one has allowed anger to become entrenched in one’s life by habitual practice, one must also practice responding correctly until it too becomes a habit replacing the old ways.
I don’t expect to wake up tomorrow and say, “MY AGENCY WAS AWESOME! EVERYONE SHOULD USE THEM!” No, not at all. I will still never recommend their services to adoptive or expectant parents. I will continue to seek adoption reform in hopes that others will get to experience ethical treatment throughout the duration of their adoption processes, again considering both adoptive and expectant families who may eventually turn into birth families. However, with some of the Biblical tips from that page, I hope to wake up one day (not tomorrow) and realize that my anger has dissipated. I hope to no longer feel my skin clam up when someone mentions their name. I pray that I will be able to speak their name in peace, even if I am telling someone not to use them, instead of with heated, angry words and with malice. I hope to have the lives and hearts of the families that I would be speaking with in my heart instead of bringing hurt to the agency.
I pray to eventually release myself from the sinful parts of this anger and instead use the energy and passion for complete good with His blessing. (That said, I have a feeling the anger with myself will take a lot more time to deal with… )
Read more in the series of Faith and Adoption:
9. Forget? 03.11.07
8. Grief, Hope and Faith? 03/04/07
7. I’m Praying for You. 2.18.07
6. A Psalm for Darker Days. 2.11.07
5. Talking to My Pastor. 02.04.07
4. Praying for Your Placed Child. 01.28.07
3. Where is God in Placement? 01.21.07
2. Unwed Pregnancy Woes. 01.14.07
1. A New Series. 01.07.07