I didn’t have the words…
…all I felt was incredible anger towards my (now) ex-Father-In-Law.
That was my emotional state when I last encountered my xFIL.
I did not have the words to articulate why I was so angry with him. My spirit screamed within me that this man was evil and had wronged me gravely. But I was unable–in that moment–to capture what my spirit was telling me.
Revisiting those emotions and that past, I can now see and articulate what I could not then.
I was furious because:
- This “man” had attacked my character.
- This “man” had fed and supported his daughter’s contempt of me.
- This “man” had blasphemed God’s Name by using it–i.e. religious language–to attack me.
- This “man” had cursed my calling as a pastor.
- This “man” had directly attacked the marriage he had professed to support on my wedding day (e.g. He sent an email to me and his daughter entitled “Divorce” and then professed ignorance when I called him out for such sinful behavior).
- This “man” had invaded the privacy and sanctity of my marriage bed commenting on my sex life with his daughter.
- This “man” had betrayed my trust using my honest sharing to attack me with his daughter “watching.”
- This “man” had attempted to manipulate and control me.
- This “man” had arrogantly attempted to “correct” his seminary-educated son-in-law’s theology.
At the time, I could not have made this list. All I had was strong anger towards this “man.” Now, I am able to see my anger for what it was then:
God had given me this strong feeling to indicated that my boundaries had been grossly violated by this individual.*
Our feelings are such incredible gifts from our good God. While sometimes they are disordered affected by our sin nature, they are sometimes our best allies telling us very important information if we choose to listen to them.
I encourage you to listen to your emotions.
What are they telling you?
* I will note that I no longer have such a strong reaction regarding my xFIL. My anger served its purpose of warning me concerning the danger and boundary violations at the time. He now is God’s problem.