Stage 2 & 3 – Anger/Bargaining

Kubler-Ross Model:

Anger (Stage 2)

Sometimes, anger feels more manageable than pain. Anger has a power that keeps us going. Pain, on the other hand, feels too.  . . well. . . painful to deal with and usually weakens us, taking away our drive to go on with life.

Anger often masks the feeling of pain in our hearts. For this cause, some continue on in anger so they don’t have to feel pain. Over time this anger will become debilitating, not only personally but for the people surrounding the one harboring it.   Also, in our anger, we often lash out at those around us, in the hopes that we might hurt the person responsible for our pain.

Bargaining (Stage 3)

Sometimes, we believe that God has “punished” us because of something that we did or didn’t do.  Because of this, we think that if we promise to do something differently, God will change His mind.

Examples of bargaining may be:

“God, if you give me a baby I promise I will never ask for anything again as long as I live.”

“God, if you let my baby live, I will get my life right with you.”  “God, if you give me a child, I’ll never ask you for another child.”  “I’ll do whatever you want me to, just give me a baby.”

In some cases bargaining doesn’t even make sense. An individual may beg and plead for the lost baby or child to be returned to life, making promises in return.

Bargaining often leads to depression, when we do not see any results.

The Seven Stages of Grief:

Anger/Bargaining (Stage 3)

Same as above in the Kubler-Ross model

A Biblical Response:

Anger is not always a sin. However, we can sin in our anger.  There is the righteous indignation of God, and then, there is the unrighteous wrath of man.  One is due to an injustice or a sin against the sovereign God of all, and the other is due to what we perceive as an injustice against us.  This is another area that we must search absolute truth to determine that fine line for ourselves.

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger and give no opportunity to the devil. Ephesians 4:26-27
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.  James 1:19
For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:20

We sin in our anger when we blaspheme God, when we deliberately decide to no longer trust or follow Him, when we lash out at those around us, wounding their hearts, and when we turn our hearts off and enter in a self-centered, numbed-up way of life.

As we fill our minds and hearts with the truth of God’s Word, our initial reaction will often be different.  The more we grow to be like Christ, the more we will learn how to respond instead of just simply reacting to circumstances in our lives, and, in time, those responses will be more Godly.

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.  Psalm 37:8
Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.  Proverbs 14:29
Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.  Proverbs 16:32
Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.  Proverbs 19:11

Bargaining, also known as bribery, is immature foolishness.  Even though we may be tempted to try anything to get our way, we must remember that we are speaking to the God of the Universe and the creator and ruler of all things.  His way is always best, even when we cannot understand it.

For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe.  Deuteronomy 10:17

Now then, let the fear of the LORD be upon you. Be careful what you do, for there is no injustice with the LORD our God, or partiality or taking bribes.  2 Chronicles 19:7

We must remember also that we must trust God, not only in the good times, but also in the difficult ones.  He is good all the time!

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.   Job 2:9-11

For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  Matthew 5:45b

Original material by Melissa J Carswell, MA, BCCC. Holly M Besser. Perfect Joy Ministries ©2012. May not be used or re-printed without permission. bsbp004p09-06-12

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