I need to write to you. I don’t know how else to deal with what has been stirring in my heart and churning in my stomach other than to write about it. I wasn’t even sure for a long time what it was, but now I think I finally know. It’s anger.
Months of built-up anger has seeped through me, like the smell of garlic and onion seeps through the skin. I remember so clearly the conversations we had when we first met. We talked about the heaviness of words and the weight of promises. I asked you genuinely to never share words with me you didn’t absolutely mean or make promises you didn’t seriously intend to keep. I saw the sincerity in your eyes when you told me you wouldn’t.
It wasn't long at all before words were shared and promises were made. You filled time and space with your beautiful words: all the ways you felt about me, what I meant to you, how I was absolutely and beyond a doubt the one for you. It amazed me how convinced you were of that. You filled me to the brim, to overflowing, to the point where I was melted into a puddle at your words.
I know you have a good heart. I believe even still that in those moments, you really meant those words. But honestly, I wish you hadn’t said them at all. I wish those words had never been spoken to my fragile heart.
So many promises were made to me. I was promised a proposal, a marriage, and a family. I was promised to be provided for and to be taken care of. I was promised security and a life with you. Countless times, I was promised. I was convinced there was no way those promises would be anything but a reality in our lives.
Maybe you still think those promises might someday come true. But honestly, I wish you hadn’t made them to begin with. I wish you hadn’t promised such serious things back when they were just desires and passing feelings. Even though I know that’s how you felt at the time, and I believe it’s truly what you wanted in that moment, I still wish you hadn’t made those promises without being able to substantiate them with realistic, tangible plans and genuine, fervent prayer.
I’m angry because I’ve been left feeling like those promises have been taken from me. Those words, I can never get them back. The life I was promised and the words I was given are gone.
The truth is, I could write a book about all of the wonderful things I think about you. I could write about all the sweet things you did for me, all the incredible ways you made me feel, how I sincerely and truly loved you and your family, and the enormous and real potential I see in you through Christ alone.
But I needed to write this letter. This letter is about exposing my own anger so that it loses the power it has had over me.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32
Anger is established when we don’t get something we want. I wanted fulfilled promises. I wanted lasting words. I wanted my heart to be taken care of. I feel as though I am owed for what I rightly deserved.
But when I think of what I owed in my sin and how Jesus paid for what I rightly deserved on the cross, my eyes well up with tears. I realize that forgiveness is a gift I decide to give in light of the forgiveness I was given. Like that scripture says—just as in Christ God forgave me, so I am to forgive also.
At Calvary, Jesus sweetly stepped in and freely, willingly gave Himself to pay the price and cancel my debt. He didn't have to, but He wanted to out of love for me. Jesus chose to die on the cross, to bear my sickness, sin and shame, so that I would be forgiven.
Because of what Jesus did, I have no right to hold anger towards you in my heart. The weight of what I feel is owed to me in the loss of those words and promises, is no comparison to the weight of what Christ bore to ransom me. Far be it from me to not extend to you the forgiveness that has freely been given to me.
Anger loses its power over my life when I expose it in the light of day. That’s what this letter is. Forgiveness takes place in my heart when I recognize the debt that was paid for me. That’s what I’m doing. Whether you read this or not, whether you care or not, whether we ever speak again or not, I hope you understand why I had to write this.
I am forgiven, and so are you.
“In the shadow of my hurt, forgiveness feels like a decision to reward my enemy. But in the shadow of the cross, forgiveness is merely a gift from one undeserving soul to another.” —Andy Stanley, Enemies of the Heart.