Thursday, February 20, 2014

Anger confession

I was slapped across the face by this poem from Wendell Berry yesterday:
Do not think me gentle
because I speak in praise
of gentleness, or elegant
because I honor the grace
that keeps this world. I am
a man crude as any,
gross of speech, intolerant,
stubborn, angry, full
of fits and furies. That I
may have spoken well
at times, is not natural.
A wonder is what it is.
- Wendell Berry

 Yep, that's me. I have to confess: I am an angry man. I don't want to be; I hate it when it gets the best of me; but I don't know how to change; I simply don't know how to get over the hurt and pain of some events that happened this last year.

I have accepted, and am even somewhat grateful, for the fact that I am no longer pastoring my old church. At least I think so. But I don't understand why people had to completely turn their backs on us, ignore us, and refuse to have any more to do with us. What has me the most perplexed, and angry, is that I can understand people not liking me, but for the life of me I cannot understand why they would do this to my wife and daughter. I know I can be an ass. I don't want to be, but I can at least see that. But how could people that were supposedly our best friends turn against us so, refuse to give us any explanation, and then say things that were completely untrue? It just boggles my mind.

I was thinking of just laying this out here last night. I don't think I can sink any lower, and I don't know what to do. I am mad at people for not talking to me, and the more they don't talk to me the madder I get; and the madder I get - I suppose - the more they don't want to talk to me. And I don't know what to do. I have tried reaching out to them, I've tried asking my denominational superiors, I've asked friends, I've asked GOD for help... Everyone either says nothing, or that I "just need to get over it." I KNOW THAT... but I don't know how.

So I sink further. I have actually started smoking cigarettes again after having quit 25 years ago. That totally discourages me - not to mention drinking way too much. I am not proud. I am anything but. In fact, I'm about at the end of my rope. So when I read Psalm 32 this morning... I just figured I might as well try this - just putting it out there for God and everybody. This is how I feel; this is where I am. Won't someone please help?

Psalm 32 says...
Blessed is the one
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
    whose sin the Lord does not count against them
    and in whose spirit is no deceit.

When I kept silent,
    my bones wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
For day and night
    your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
    as in the heat of summer.[b]
Then I acknowledged my sin to you
    and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
    my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
    the guilt of my sin.

 I confess my anger. I am mad and I can't seem to get over it. I want to, but I keep on sinning in my anger and I don't know how to stop. I don't want to hate people. I also don't want to see my family suffer anymore hurt. Please forgive me, Lord.

And if you happen to run across this as a reader, and you're a praying type of person, I would appreciate your prayers for me and my wife and daughter.


Anonymous said...


I want you to know that I am praying for you. I ASK EVEN NOW THAT God sustain you, your wife, daughter and grandchildren. I pray that he is with your son also.

I am sorry for what has happened to you. There is more that I could say, but I won’t. Prayer is what you asked for, prayer is what I give you.

I am Lutheran now. My devotions have me looking at Luther’s Small Catechism. The other day I was reading something that might pertain to you:

“For no one believes how the devil opposes and resists them, and cannot suffer that any one teach or believe aright. And it hurts him beyond measure to suffer his lies and abominations, that have been honored under the most specious pretexts of the divine name, to be exposed, and to be disgraced himself, and, besides, be driven out of the heart, and suffer such a breach to be made in his kingdom.

Therefore he chafes and rages as a fierce enemy with all his power and might, and marshals all his subjects, and, in addition, enlists the world and our own flesh as his allies. For our flesh is in itself indolent and inclined to evil, even though we have accepted and believe the Word of God. The world, however, is perverse and wicked; this he incites against us, fans and stirs the fire, that he may hinder and drive us back, cause us to fall, and again bring us under his power. Such is all his will, mind, and thought, for which he strives day and night, and never rests a moment, employing all arts, wiles, ways, and means whichever he can invent.

If we would be Christians, therefore, we must surely expect and reckon upon having the devil with all his angels and the world as our enemies who will bring every possible misfortune and grief upon us. For where the Word of God is preached, accepted, or believed, and produces fruit, there the holy cross cannot be wanting. And let no one think that he shall have peace; but he must risk whatever he has upon earth-possessions, honor, house and estate, wife and children, body and life. Now, this hurts our flesh and the old Adam; for the test is to be steadfast and to suffer with patience in whatever way we are assailed, and to let go whatever is taken from us.”

Dan, although peace is illusive in this world in which we live, Christ has died for you. He has done everything necessary to reconcile you with God. Your sins are forgiven. If God is for you, who can be against you. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Your old classmate,

Ken Zitsch

MR said...

I think I'll skip the parable citations since communication is the problem to begin with. As you know, I have also had to deal with people who will not communicate and, you're just right on the money man, that is f%^&* infuriating! Luckily my memory was good enough that diving into the past provided me with all the information I needed. I think the commonality here is that we're both dealing with passive-aggressive people. The good news is that there's no point prying into them, all you'll get is synonyms for "not my fault" anyway. So, some very plain talk: I think you just posted the reason you're not getting over it. "I don't want to hate people". Wool... why NOT?! What if they're BAD people? I think you're internalizing this thing, assuming it's about you. I think people looking for leadership are called a "flock" for a reason. They just needed to know whose butt to kiss next. You were frustrated with getting more participation, I think, because either you didn't have any leaders or they were just putting in their time. To a person like that, I bet it doesn't make a heck of a lot of difference who's telling them what to do. You don't want to hate them for being weak... but I would. On top of that, I wouldn't feel GUILTY about hating them for being weak either. I think if you had a compassion knob you could turn down from 9 to say...6, that anger would flow better and they would get their share of the blame instead of you trying to contain it like a pressure cooker. There's just fake people out there who act like they think they're supposed to act. Maybe they doubt their sanity, who knows. But they're not people you should ever invest in emotionally, or rely on for anything. The only thing you need to do with that type of person is AVOID them. And believe me, you're doing a world of good as a civilian.

Pastor D said...

When God pardons, He does not say He understands your weakness or make allowances for your errors. Rather, He disposes of, finishes with, the whole of your dead life and raises you up with a new one. He does not so much deal with your failures as does He drop them down the black hole of Jesus' death. He forgets your sins in the darkness of the tomb. He remembers your iniquities no more in the forgetfulness of Jesus' death. He finds you in the desert of death, not in the garden of improvement. And in the power of Jesus' resurrection, He puts you on His shoulders, rejoicing, and brings you home!
-Robert Farrar Capon, Parables of Grace, pg. 39

When you feel you’re drowning in life’s situations, take heart your life guard walks on water.

dan horwedel said...

Thank you, gentlemen. I greatly appreciate it.

Toviah said...

Dan, I know we haven't talked for a long time, and it would be silly for me to claim to understand what you're going through or how you're feeling.

Yesterday, though, I had a glimpse. I went through a bleakness that was so raw it hurt. Unlike you, I had no reason to feel that way. But I certainly needed grace. And so I pray that God's grace that is sufficient for every need will be poured out over you, in you, and through you.

God bless you, Dan.


dan horwedel said...

Thanks, Ben. I appreciate it. I definitely need it.