The venting isn't typically purposeful; instead, it's a self-sustaining anger machine. I get myself worked up and more unhappy, and I make my husband miserable by making myself upset, calling his attention to things that might not have bothered him, and by being angry with his family. It's not like I can say, "This bothered me," and be done with it. Books I've read by both John Bevere and Joyce Meyer have addressed this issue and made me see that the godly way of dealing with these situations is a) forgive, b) try to see others as God sees them and maybe then be more understanding of them, and c) leave it to God to deal with the situation. I guess I should add d) pray.
Well, these same issues reared their ugly heads last night. Despite my good intentions and silent prayers to God at the time for understanding and acceptance, I could feel myself closing off from the people who had hurt me, and once home I gave in to the desire to vent about the situation. Of course, it didn't help at all.
So, today in my email was the daily devotion from Proverbs31.org (right now yesterday's devotion is at the top. Hopefully soon they'll have the new one posted). The topic? When friends disappoint you. Some of the things Renee wrote about really hit at the heart of my struggle:
I considered sharing my feelings with her, but that could lead to other problems. Maybe this was an unhealthy friendship that I should let go of? Unsure about what to do, I prayed again. God responded by speaking to me through the verses above from Psalm 103.
God pointed out that He has been merciful, gracious, and slow to anger with me. God does not constantly accuse me of my wrongdoings, and He doesn’t stay mad when I anger Him. He hasn’t punished me for all my sins, and thank goodness He doesn’t punish me as I deserve!
In contrast, I had been easily angered when my feelings were hurt. I continued to mentally accuse my friend of what I considered wrong doings. It was time to let my hurt feelings go and look past the ways my friend had unknowingly disappointed me.
God’s solution was to treat my friend the same way my loving Father treats me. After all, she’s His child, too, and deserves the same love and grace that’s been given to me.
Once again, when I needed the reminder and encouragement, there it was. Much like when I go to church and the message hits right on target. Now that I am watching for and more aware of His hand in my life, I see it so frequently. God is so good! Hopefully with His help I can train myself to act as He would rather than react according to my feelings.