I’m fascinated by what readers take a away from my book. A few have mentioned how much they disliked the heroine Rebecca’s father.
He is a minor character, but his actions and attitudes – his unrestrained angry outbursts – have shaped and colored Rebecca’s views of love, faith, femininity, and sexuality.
Dysfunctional families > Fiction.
Man-woman relationships > Fiction.
Fathers and daughters > Fiction.
Fresh from reading Julie Lessman’s latest release, Isle of Hope, I was struck by the similarity of the father/daughter relationship in our books. That relationship plays a more integral role in Isle of Hope’s themes and plots than in Stay With Me‘s, but in both books, it’s obvious that anger kills.
Here are ten ways the anger can kill, many of which are obvious in both Stay With Me and Isle of Hope:
(Note: I’m not referring here to righteous anger nor occasional outbursts that are part and parcel of being human. No one’s expected to behave like Mr. Spock, immune to pressures, stressors, and life in general. I’m talking here about the kind of recurrent, consuming anger that becomes a person’s default response to even the smallest triggers.)
- Anger kills love. It’s like a cancer that slowly eats away at both the angry person and the object of the anger, squashing every impetus to love and forgive.
- Anger kills humor. Finding the humor in difficulty is a great coping mechanism. A person consumed with wrath can’t find it. Lightheartedness is difficult to come by.
- Anger kills peace. The sense of serenity you should normally feel in the presence of loved ones is absent when you live on edge, waiting for the next spontaneous outburst.
- Anger kills security. Similar to the absence of peace, a sense of security is lost, too, when a person worries how their feelings, their needs, their actions will be met. Met with harsh words or worse time and again, security is eroded.
- Anger kills unity. Anger pits one against the other so that where natural camaraderie should exist between lovers, spouses, parents, or siblings, disharmony reigns and they become opponents rather than allies.
- Anger kills trust. Faith in another person is hard to come by when you never know – or know too well – how you’ll be received.
- Anger kills hope. Like other recurrent sins, anger’s relentless cycle diminishes hope – for both the person struggling to overcome it and those affected by it.
- Anger kills creativity. When your bucket is depleted of love, humor, peace, security, trust, and especially hope, there is little from which creativity can grow or flourish.
- Anger kills confidence. With anger, there is often blame of self and others. Confidence takes a hit from a seeming inability to change.
- Anger kills self-respect. Like hope, this attribute is weakened on both sides of the anger equation. Mired in the ugliness of anger, a person’s sense of self-worth tanks.
The good news is, we don’t have to let anger consume our relationships. Love and hope are stronger. Counseling can help both the person struggling with anger and their loved ones learn how to help recognize and reduce triggers.
Isle of Hope beautifully details the role that faith and forgiveness play in healing relationships wounded by sin and anger. Julie Lessman deftly demonstrates how Jesus heals us in ways big and small when we open our hearts to Him.
What tips do you have for overcoming anger? What can you do to help loved ones who seek freedom from relentless anger and rage?