The Healing of Anger, By Kayla Helmer (Danville, IN)

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.” -C. S. Lewis

My anger and self protectiveness have always been a part of me, from my childhood in a broken home, through college where I was a high achiever, and into my marriage. Then, our friends at the Redeemer plant in Winston-Salem, NC, introduced my husband and I to the sermons of Tim Keller.

Those sermons transformed how I see Jesus. I began to love Him for the first time, instead of feeling like a failure before Him.  I heard the sermon, “The Healing of Anger,” and it shocked me. For the first time in my life, I realized there was a cure for anger.  The cure is Jesus.

For the first time in my life, I realized there was a cure for anger. The cure is Jesus.

I listened to the sermon over and over, trying to understand, yearning to be the sort of person who, like Martin Luther King, Jr, could “win a double victory” over my enemies and my angry heart.

Keller clearly explained to me that when God came to humanity, they crucified Him. They were angry just like I get angry. Yet, when Jesus was on the cross, He did not leave. He could have fled, but He stayed even when the people He came to save were so angry that they screamed, “crucify Him,” and betrayed Him with a kiss. He took their anger without leaving. The gospel went from an abstraction to a salve; the most personal answer to my anger that I had ever heard.

How could I still be angry in the face of such great love?

My fears of abandonment and failure are melting, and as a result, I can love differently. Instead of shutting down when somebody rejects me, I am learning to have compassion and empathy. My marriage has improved. I have more intimate friends in the church than I have ever had before. I am able to serve those around me in need without my former hopelessness. I even love animals now.

My heart continues to heal, and I am grateful.

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