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Dealing with Anger over Unemployment

  • Len M. Allen Crosswalk.com contributor
  • 2011 8 Aug
  • COMMENTS
Dealing with Anger over Unemployment

You've lost your job.  It's hard.  And, there seems to be no progress in finding a new place to work. In anger and frustration it's easy to look for people to blame. You begin to think it's all the fault of that person who fired you, or laid you off, or closed the business, or made you quit. 

You can also begin to blame impersonal things like the economy, the monetary system, banks, big business or the government. That blame, builds into more and more anger and you begin to make plans.  You're so angry you could…  What? Get even?

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Ephesians 4:31 (New Living Translation)

But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Colossians 3:8 (NLT)

Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, "I will take revenge; I will pay them back," says the Lord. Romans 12:19 (NLT)

Wanting to "get even" is a natural reaction to feeling wronged.  How many times have we read tragic headlines about people who, in their rage at a perceived wrong, have gone into their old workplace and hurt old friends, work associates, and even themselves? 

But taking matters into our own hands and taking action to punish people who we think have "done us wrong" leads to the most fleeting satisfaction and the most lasting repercussions.  The lists in Ephesians 4 and Colossians 3, mentioned above, contain words that we who are unemployed struggle with every day.  Words like bitterness, anger, rage, and harsh words are familiar to the jobless, especially if the period of unemployment has been lengthy.  Our enemy, the devil, would prompt us to take action.  He whispers, "Revenge is sweet" into our ears and we believe him, just as Eve believed him in the garden.  Remember in John 8:44, the devil is called the "Father of lies."

A good example of the boomerang effects of "getting even" is found in the book of Esther.  Because of a slight to Haman's ego, Esther 3:5 says that Haman was, "filled with rage."  Life was good for Haman but he couldn't appreciate it because of his rage at Mordecai (Esther 5:11,12).  Because of that overpowering anger, Haman planned to get even, not only with Mordecai personally but with his entire race.  But it backfired as most attempts at vengeance do.  And God allowed his scheme of vengeance to boomerang.

But when it came to the king's attention, he commanded by letter that his [Haman's] wicked scheme which he had devised against the Jews, should return on his own head and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows. Esther 9:25 (NASB)

The boomerang from your anger even negatively affects your search for a new job.  When unresolved anger is in your heart, it cannot help but be reflected in your body language and conversation.  That includes conversation with hiring officials.  No one wants to bring an angry person into their workplace.  When you flash anger in the course of your interview it boomerangs back and you don't get the job -- so, you become even angrier.  The cycle grows and Satan wins.

God has given us many commands about anger and revenge.  In the verses above, God clearly commands us to "get rid of bitterness, anger, and rage."  He also commands us to "never take revenge."  We read these commands and ask ourselves, "Okay, but how do I release my rage and bitterness?" And, "How do I leave the vengeance to God?"

First we need to recognize our feelings for what they are… sin.  Then, we need to admit those emotions to God.  That's what the word "confess" means.  We "agree" with God that those feelings are wrong but admit we have them and we need His help.  1 John 1:9 makes it clear that when we admit or confess our sins He is faithful to forgive them and cleanse us of them.

The only way you can set aside your anger, rage, bitterness and plans of vengeance is with God's help.  He is ready to help you right now. 

Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28 (NLT)

Proverbs 14:17 (NLT) says, "Short-tempered people do foolish things, and schemers are hated."  Then in 14:29 it continues, "People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness."  Now ask yourself if you are about to do a foolish thing or launch a scheme that will only lead to an action displeasing to God. Then, read 1 John 1:9 and tell God about what you're thinking.

Jesus said, "I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid."  John 14:27(NLT)

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. James 1:19-20 (NLT)

Now THAT is a plan!  Peace!

Originally posted December 10, 2010


 Born and raised in South Dakota, Len Allen began college at South Dakota State University. He transferred to the University of Hawaii in Honolulu where he attended for 3 years majoring in commercial art and art history. In 1972 he graduated from Sioux Falls University back in his home state of South Dakota.

He returned to Hawaii where he began his career as a ditch-digger and met his wife, Beverly. Because of Bev's influence, Len went from ditch-digger to corporate Vice President within one and a half years and his career was off and running. They have lived and worked in Hawaii, California, South Dakota, Tennessee, New Mexico, and Texas and are now back in their old home of Chattanooga. They have been married 36 years and have a 21 year-old son attending college.