We won’t take up anymore time in class talking about anger right now. Next week we’re moving on with the third emotion we have to handle well in order to keep our hearts whole and healthy.
But one thing I [Tim] failed to reiterate in class is this: while forgiving is essential to removing anger from our hearts, and we should be very conscious of forgiving every time we are angry, there is an additional process we need to go through. It’s what Paul mentioned in Ephesians 4:32 – “…be kind and compassionate…“. Getting rid of the anger — and the slander, gossip, evil thoughts, etc. that go with anger — is not enough. Canceling the debt is critical, but if we stop there, we haven’t done enough.
In fact, if we simply cancel the debt, but don’t take proactive steps to be kind and compassionate to those that have hurt us, we will find that we are continually reminding ourselves of our decision to cancel the debt. It’s like a farmer preparing his field. Imagine the farmer tilling the soil, removing all the weeds, but never planting anything. Kindness and compassion have to be planted or the relationship will never yield a harvest for either of you.
This is where we usually let our feelings stop us. We “cancel the debt”, but we wait for our feelings to settle down before we try to be kind and compassionate. Kindness and compassion will be as much of a decision as canceling the debt was.