Fictional Story – Anna was sharing a story about her friend, Cara. She said Cara was venting over something that was done to her. There was some legitimacy to Cara’s story. She was hurt. Because Anna was filtering Cara’s response through an unbiblical filter, she gave her poor advice.
- “Oh my, I’m so sorry for you. They were wrong for doing that.”
- Anna then took up an offense for her friend.
- She began to uncharitably judge those who hurt Cara.
- Cara was validated, but not biblically helped.
Suppose the same story happened, but instead of letting Cara respond sinfully to her hurt, Anna filtered the conversation through a biblical filter. She would not only hear and respond to her suffering, but she would hear and respond to her sin too.
While you never want to minimize or push aside the hurt a person is experiencing, it would be just as wrong to ignore their sinfulness while they are hurting. Cara was legitimately suffering and biblically sinning–a complex duo.
Because Anna avoided speaking the truth in love to Cara (Ephesians 4:15), she missed an opportunity to truly and fully help her. Her enabling of Cara disqualified her from helping her in her suffering or her anger.
A biblical re-do
What if we replayed the same scenario, but instead enabling a hurting friend, Anna takes a more biblically thoughtful and helpful approach.
- Oh my, I feel so sad and sorrowful for you. Can I pray for you? I’m grateful you would feel comfortable enough to share with me. That speaks much to your trust in me. I’m glad I can care for you.
- Can I ask you a question?
- It sounds to me, though I could be wrong, that you are not only hurting, which I understand, but you are angry as well. Am I hearing you correctly? Are you angry? Am I missing something?
Because she is filtering the situation through a biblical filter, she is able to care for her friend in her suffering, while loving her through her sin.
How we listen to others will determine how we respond to others. If you train yourself to think and respond in biblical categories, then your care can have more of a transformative effect.
As for whether anger is sinful or not, please read my articles on anger, as well as review our anger spectrum slide.