FamilyLife Today® Podcast

One Change = Better Life: Brant Hansen

with Brant Hansen | June 21, 2024
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Could there be one thing in your life blinding you from living in freedom? After unearthing that 'one thing,' Brant Hansen goes further to talk about elusive forgiveness and letting go of intractable anger. What's that 'one thing' you could be missing to make your life better?

  • Show Notes

  • About the Host

  • About the Guest

  • Dave and Ann Wilson

    Dave and Ann Wilson are hosts of FamilyLife Today®, FamilyLife’s nationally-syndicated radio program. Dave and Ann have been married for more than 38 years and have spent the last 33 teaching and mentoring couples and parents across the country. They have been featured speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway since 1993 and have also hosted their own marriage conferences across the country. Cofounders of Kensington Church—a national, multicampus church that hosts more than 14,000 visitors every weekend—the Wilsons are the creative force behind DVD teaching series Rock Your Marriage and The Survival Guide To Parenting, as well as authors of the recently released book Vertical Marriage (Zondervan, 2019). Dave is a graduate of the International School of Theology, where he received a Master of Divinity degree. A Ball State University Hall of Fame quarterback, Dave served the Detroit Lions as chaplain for 33 years. Ann attended the University of Kentucky. She has been active alongside Dave in ministry as a speaker, writer, small-group leader, and mentor to countless wives of professional athletes. The Wilsons live in the Detroit area. They have three grown sons, CJ, Austin, and Cody, three daughters-in-law, and a growing number of grandchildren.

One thing blinding you from freedom? Brant Hansen explores elusive forgiveness and releasing anger’s intractable hold. What’s your missing piece?

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One Change = Better Life: Brant Hansen

With Brant Hansen
June 21, 2024
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Brant: Be intentional at the beginning of the day: “I’m not being shocked by the same people doing the stuff they do.” Second thing; question your anger: “What’s really going on?” Thirdly: remind yourself of the limits of your own knowledge. Fourthly, if you’re a praying person, pray for the people you are angry with. Pray for them to have peace.

Shelby: Welcome to FamilyLife Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I’m Shelby Abbott, and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. You can find us at

Ann: This is FamilyLife Today!

Dave: Well, today, we get to hear Part Two of a talk that Brant Hansen gave on the Love Like You Mean It® cruise. We ended yesterday in the middle of the talk he gave on the cruise on forgiveness and being unoffendable.

Ann: This is from his book, Unoffendable.

Dave: It’s literally life-changing thinking and action.

Ann: Yes. So, if you haven’t listened to that, as Dave said, go back. He gave this talk on the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise back in February.

Dave: Yes, last February.

Ann: Yes. Maybe you’re thinking, “Should we do that?” Maybe you haven’t heard about it, or maybe you’ve been wanting to do it. So, let us give you a little incentive.

Dave: By the way, the answer is” “Yes, you should do it. We’ll be there with you.” [Laughter] It’s life-changing. It’s great. It’s a great, great week.

Ann: There’s a “Seas the Savings” sale.

Dave: Can you say that again? I want to hear that again.

Ann: Seas—as in S-E-A; “Seas the Savings” sale that’s going on until the 25th. If you go to, you can use a promo code, Seas—"SEAS25.” You’ll save big. I really hope that you’ll sign up, because every single marriage needs renewal, needs romance. We need to laugh; we need to get off on these ports of call.

Dave: —and eat great food,—

Ann: —yes!

Dave: —really great food; and great music, and comedians,—

Ann: —great speakers.

Dave: —and illusionists—

Ann: —it’s just fun.

Dave: —and Dave and Ann being crazy; all that stuff.

By the way, some of you are like, “I don’t do the internet. I’d rather make a phone call.” If you want to sign up, you can call 855-208-8822.

Ann: So, let me ask you: yesterday, after listening to Brant give the first part of this talk, were you convicted at all?

Dave: No, I wasn’t convicted. I was reminded of how important forgiveness is. I was reminded that, when I went on the journey, decades ago, in my 30s, to forgive my dad, it was a life-changing moment, not just for me—because it was a journey; I didn’t forgive him in a day or a week but over like a three- or four-year period—and I needed to, but I didn’t know at that moment that that choice—and it was a choice to forgive my dad—set me free, and that freedom was going to be passed down into our legacy. My boys, I think, are different men now because—

Ann: —I agree.

Dave: —their dad, me, forgave their grandpa.

Ann: I totally agree, and you’re more spiritual than I am. That’s a big thing.

Mine is, I look at Facebook® or Instagram®, and I’m like, “These people are crazy! What is happening?!” I get judgmental of the things that they say. “What is happening?!” I can go there. So, when I listened to that, I was super convicted—

Dave: —about being offended.

Ann: —by being offended by people: the things they do; the things they say, especially, in the name of Christ. I’m like, “Come on, people!” [Laughter] So, this was really good for me.

Dave: Alright. You’re going to hear Part Two of Brant Hansen’s talk. We’re going to let you hear it right now.

[Recorded Message]

Brant: I got a vision of this; of why we should be thankful. My wife Carolyn and I went to our son. He was about this tall [motioning with hand]. I don’t know if he was nine; but she said, “Hey, we need to get him”—he’s a bookworm like me; he’s a nerd, and she’s like—“We need to get him into some sports.” I was like, “Yes! Sports.” I said, “Justice, we’re going to get you into some sports.” He says, “Why?!” [Laughter] “Because this is America, young man.” [Laughter]

We signed him up for flag football. His team was named the Rams. They didn’t have a coach. We went to the first practice. I was dropping him off; there were all these other teams spread out. They all had matching shirt colors and stuff. I could see, over here, the yellow team was already doing drills, and they had seven assistant coaches. They already had electronic things. I’m not kidding! It was unbelievable.

They were out there doing stuff, and his team was like, “We’re trying to get the ball inflated over here.” [Laughter] No coach. I’m not doing it. My wife said, “Please, could you coach?” I said, “I don’t want to. I’m not going to be good at it. I don’t have time.” Park District called me: “We still don’t have a coach. Mr. Hansen, could you please coach?” I said, “No, no, no, no, no.”

I went back to the next practice; still no coach. I’m playing catch with this little kid named Jarrod. He’s like this tall; stringy hair. I’m throwing the ball to him. He says, “Hey! Are you going to be our coach?!” [Laughter] I said, “Nope.” [Laughter] “No, sir.” He stops with the ball—I’m not kidding—he says, “Well, can I at least call you ‘Coach,’ because I’ve always wanted to call somebody ‘Coach’?” [“Aww!” audience response]

I come home, dragging all these footballs, and stuff, and pylons. I coached the Rams. I coached 0-12. [Laughter] 0-12. We did not score. My offensive coordination was offensive. [Laughter] It really was; it was. The last game of the season was against the yellow team, with all the assistant coaches. They were 12-0. I’m like, “Oh, my goodness. We’re going to get murdered our last game of the year. How fun.” They kicked off to us—last game of the year—kicked off; a kid named Christian, on our team—again, we have not scored all year; kid on our team—picks it up after a couple of bounces and weaves his way all the way back to the house for a touchdown. [“Woo!” audience response] We’re up 6-0. I’m thinking, “This is going to be one of those Christian movies! Coach of the Year.” [Laughter]

Final score was 72-6. [Laughter] I kid you not. They rang up 72 unanswered on us, and the game ended. When the game ended, our kids were like, “Well, we finished 0-13.” I said, “Well, guys, you tried really hard.”

I forgot that one of the moms was arranging for a party afterward. I did not see this coming! Onto the grass came a white stretch limousine. It drove onto the grass, and it had Rams flags on the front. Our kids just finished 0-13. They were horrible, and they see this limo, and they’re like, “Is that for us?!” “Yes! Mrs. Dagenais arranged this party. We’re going to the pool. We’re going to get pizza and everything. That is for you.” The chauffer gets out, opens the door, and the kids say, “Oh, my goodness!” They run. They’re giggling like kids, not losers; they’re giggling and high-fiving, and they’re jumping in. You can hear them, like, “Oh, my goodness!” That limo pulls away. I can just see the yellow team, like, “Whaaattt?” [Laughter]

The neat thing—honestly, I really did think this in the moment—I saw that limo pulling off with the 0-13 team celebrating, and I thought, “That’s the best picture of the Kingdom of God I’ve ever seen in my life.” We bumble, and the limo’s coming anyway. “I’m going to prepare a place for you. I know who you are, and I want to be with you.” [John 14:3] That’s amazing! I feel like, if we live in light of that gratitude—that deep gratitude, that security, we start to extend forgiveness to other broken humans.

This is a marriage thing, too; it’s a kid thing, too. Someone’s going to ask me, “Should I not be angry with my kids?” I think you should work on that so that you’re not responding out of anger, but you’re doing the right thing to enforce what you need to enforce. But it’s not out of anger; it’s because, “This is the way it’s going to be. I’m rooting for you, but here’s the rules…” That’s a much better way of parenting—it’s a much scarier way of parenting, because they’re like, “[We] can’t get you.” But you’re calm, cool, and you make the call: “This is the way it’s going to be.”

In marriage, having a huge well of forgiveness to draw on is invaluable. My wife knows this; we both know. We all know this. It’s every day, but we grow in this. This will change your character. Once you start doing this—immediately, you’ll still have immediate reactions—but after a while, when somebody cuts you off, you’ve disciplined yourself so much, it’s not going to tick you off anymore. You become a different sort of person. It’s called spiritual formation. It’s called becoming more like Jesus; actually doing the stuff He told us to do. This is a good thing.


Dave: This is FamilyLife Today, and we’ve been listening to a portion of Brant Hansen’s talk on the Love Like You Mean It cruise back in February. I tell you what, he’s talking about stuff right where we live. We all struggle with bitterness, and being offended by people, and being hurt by people. He’s saying, “Man, God uses our choice to forgive to grow us spiritually.” That’s true, and that’s good thinking. And we need to hear more of it, so let’s go back to Brant Hansen.

[Recorded Message]

Brant: We have time, I’m sure. Any other questions? Any thoughts?

Man #1: How would you handle—which I have a lot of reaction toward a reaction—I feel a negative reaction, and I’m going to give a negative reaction.

Brant: Yes. He was saying, “What do I do about reactions to reactions?” Again, I think this is a practice. I think you can arrest those cycles. My wife’s really been good about this lately. We’ve been married 33 years. She’s been really good, the last few years, about arresting this cycle. She can tell we’re going into that mode again, where we argue about the same thing every time; it’s the same way. And then, we argue about how we’re arguing. And then, “But you said—the tone of voice—” And then, “But you’re the one who got sarcastic first.”

But just stopping it, and saying, “You know what?”—just have fun—"Can we skip this?” I think you can do that. Look, I’m just learning this after 33 years, and it’s been helpful to say, “Actually, I’m not going to let us do this—us; we’re not doing this.”

Carolyn and I just started ballroom dance lessons recently. It’s kind of neat because we’re doing something together, and one of us can mess up, but we’re both rooting for us to get this right. That’s kind of a neat analogy for marriage: “It’s just us. Let’s go through this evening without that happening again. Let’s stop it here. Let me say something kind, in this moment, because a gentle answer will turn away both of our wrath right now.” Especially, if you’ve been married a while, you know this doesn’t need to happen: “This is dumb. Let’s just enjoy this.”

Woman #1: Brant?

Brant: Yes.

Woman #1: I love what you’re talking about. I love your books, and I’ve heard your podcasts on FamilyLife®. I agree with what you’re saying, and it’s helped my husband and me in our marriage; but I think there are different levels of anger due to trauma that occurs to people. It happened to my daughter in college. She was sexually assaulted. Sometimes, we need Christian counselors—

Brant: —oh, sure! Absolutely, we do need Christian counselors.

Woman #1: —to work through the anger, because I don’t think we know how to work through it if we’ve been traumatized—the fight or flight—

Brant: --right, exactly.

Woman #1: Trauma can occur.

Brant: Yes. Oh, totally! I’ve been through it, actually, my entire upbringing. When I’m talking about it for myself, like having to forgive my dad—my dad’s a pastor and very fundamental. Also, violent in our home; a big guy, 6’3”; scary. I thought we were going to die. They got divorced, finally, [when I was] in middle school. I was happy, but then, we had to leave our home. We didn’t have a house; but at least, I had peace. And then, they got remarried to each other, over my objections. I begged, “Please don’t,” because I knew he was a fraud. But they did. A year later, they got divorced again. I literally just grew up so nervous. I thought we were going to die.

I’m big on counseling. I love it! The work is done after you realize, “I have to get past this anger;” once you realize you have to get past it rather than saying, “I need to hang onto this for the rest of my life.” The counseling will be helpful, like, “How in the world do I move past this? How do I extend this?”

I tell a story in Unoffendable about a guy who had 11 members of his family killed at the same time in Cambodia. He survived because they thought he was dead; they threw him into the same hole. He had to crawl out at night. He went on a vengeance terror; but then, he became a believer. He realized, “I have to actually forgive these people.” It takes time, but it’s the willingness to let go of that right to anger [that is] what I’m talking about.

Rachael Denhollander is someone else I quote in the book. She was one of the victims of Larry Nassar at Michigan State, the gymnastics doctor. She was abused by him. She gets up in the court and says, “I forgive you, but justice has to happen. My forgiveness is an act of my heart saying, ‘In light of what God’s done for me, I have to let go of my anger against you.’ But justice will take its course.” She’s a lawyer, by the way.

I do think—even in cases of extreme crime, extreme trauma, extreme—it’s still the best thing for us to let go of anger rather than to have to do it for the rest of our lives. Counselors can be incredibly helpful; in fact, absolutely necessary in situations like that.

Moderator: One last question back here, Brant.

Man #2: I am a Christian counselor, and I’m also a certified anger management person.

Brant: Oh, wow!

Man #2: I spend more time with couples, teaching them how to release anger and how to extend forgiveness. I do teach this: “What Is Good About Anger?” I want to see what you think.

As a normal human emotion, I think it tells us what we care about. If I have a couple, and she says, “I’m angry with him,” I’m like, “Good! Because you still care.” I think the second thing—see what you think—[is], I think anger can motivate us to change. The feeling of anger can cause us to go out and make change.

Brant: I totally appreciate that. That’s the normal way of thinking about it. I get it. I just can’t find that in the Bible. I know it seems extreme, but I think that’s for a reason. Again, it happens to us, but we are supposed to get rid of it today. It’s a burning fire, repeatedly in Scripture. It’s natural, and it’s a good warning light to say, “Why? What’s really going on here?” I do agree with that.

With that in mind, I want to do one more thing before we are done: how to actually do this, because this kind of intersects with what you are talking about. No one can read this font now that I think about it. I’m sorry about that. The people are like, “That sounds like a really good idea, but come on!”

No, this can become a way of life. Some ideas:

Be intentional at the beginning of the day: “I’m not going to be shocked by the same people doing the stuff they do.” So, there’s intentionality, at the beginning of the day: “As a disciple of Jesus, this is the way I am going to live.”

Second thing, which gets at what you are saying: question your anger: “What’s really going on? “Why do I feel threatened?” “What is happening in our marriage?” “What is the threat?’” That’s good to analyze: “Why am I responding this way?” It’s totally a great idea.

Thirdly, I have: remind yourself of the limits of your own knowledge. We talked about that humility, about what we know and what we don’t.

Fourthly, if you’re a praying person—I wrote this to a group of people who were not all believers; if you’re a praying person—pray for the people you are angry with; pray for them to have peace or do something kind for them. This will arrest your anger very quickly, if you bless your enemies; somebody you’re frustrated with. If you do something nice, that’s love. That’s remarkable.


Ann: This is FamilyLife Today. We’ve been listening to Brant Hansen give a talk that was from the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise.

Man, this is so good. I think this part, when Jesus says to “bless those who hurt you,” that is other-worldly, isn’t it?

Dave: That’s supernatural.

Ann: It is!

Dave: The natural is to curse those who hurt you—not, literally, curse them—but they get you; you get them back. It’s supernatural—it’s beyond what we can even do in our own strength—to bless our enemies.

Ann: I remember having heard this talk—soon after we got home from the cruise, we had to go to a funeral for a very wonderful lady. I was sitting there, and somebody came in, that I was really mad at, because they had hurt you. All I could think of was Brant’s words—not Brant’s words—Jesus’s words, but Brant had already convicted me: “I need to bless him. I need to be kind to him. I need to be loving to him.” This is where the power of the Holy Spirit comes into play, because it becomes an act of obedience: “Lord, bless them. Lord, help me to be kind,” you know?

Dave: It is true. You’ve been on that journey; I’ve been on that journey. What Brant said there, really at the end, about anger—I mean, you know, we’ve written about this—I carried a lot of anger around in my life, that I sort of lashed out on you and even on the boys, and they were little toddlers then; not inappropriate anger but anger that was—

Ann: —displaced.

Dave: —displaced and stronger than it should have been. I had never connected it to: “This is connected to my relationship with my dad.” I needed to forgive my dad.

Again, I didn’t even realize that, as I went on that journey to forgive my dad, it was not an easy journey; it was a struggle. I got to the point where I realized God had done spiritual surgery on my own heart and softened a hardened heart to be soft and to love my dad, I was able to release that anger; not that I never have anger anymore, but it’s not inappropriate; it’s not out of whack. It’s not—like the day you came out, and I had a—what was it?—a sledge hammer, pounding on the lawn mower, because it wouldn’t start. [Laughter] You were like, “Okay, you’ve got problems, Dude. You’re beating your lawn mower, because it won’t start. [Laughter] This is not a gas problem with your lawn mower. This is a heart issue.”

I couldn’t even see it, but that’s what Brant is getting at. It’s like, ”Man, when you live offended all the time, you’re an angry person. When you allow God to do a supernatural work in your own heart to help you be unoffendable, we release anger—

Ann: —that’s good.

Dave: —and we’re the kind of husbands, and dads, and wives, and moms that our kids want to be around. You don’t want to pass that on [being an angry person] to your kids.

Ann: Okay, I’ve got a little homework for us tonight, whether you are by yourself, get with a friend; if you’re married, with your spouse; and if you have a family with kids old enough to be able to have this conversation, I think this would be a great dinner question: “What offends you? What’s going on in the world today, or in school, or on sports teams, or with friends, or work that you’re offended by?”

I think that would be a really good conversation. But then, you have to go a little deeper than that. How do you think they could go deeper?

Dave: I think identify it—maybe, even write it down—and then, talk about it. You’ve got to talk about it—

Ann: —yes—

Dave: —because the thing we do is, we hold it. And then, as we hold it, we play out scenarios in our head of what we’d like to say or do to this person. And it just leads us to a dark place. You need to talk to your spouse; [for singles] I would say a guy talk to another guy, a woman talk to another woman; maybe couples talk to couples, and say, “Here’s something I’m holding onto. I need to talk about this so that I can release this and become unoffendable.”

Ann: Wouldn’t it be cool—I have this picture, as a family, of all of us at a dinner table, praying, “Who do you need to pray for?” Somebody who has offended you; and as a family, be praying for our hearts and for the hearts of those whom we have been offended by or have offended us.

Dave: That would be a great assignment tonight. Don’t wait until tomorrow. Start that conversation tonight.

Ann: Hey, see you next year, on the 2025—

Dave and Ann: Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise.

Shelby: I’m Shelby Abbott, and you’ve been listening to Dave and Ann Wilson on FamilyLife Today with Brant Hansen from the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. I love the Wilsons. Aren’t they just the best?

You know, we heard from Brant today, and he’s actually written a book. If you want to dive deeper into this subject of being unoffendable, he’s actually written a book called Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better. You can get your copy right now, of Brant’s book, by going online to, or you can find it in our show notes. Or just give us a call and request your copy at 800-358-6329; again, that number is 800-“F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then the word, “TODAY.”

We’ve been talking all week about the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, because we’ve been listening to messages from the 2024 Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. Right now, you can book and save during our “Seas the Savings” sale—say that five times fast!—for the 2025 marriage cruise. Again, it’s coming up next year. The promo code to use to save big on the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise for next year is “SEAS25”—S-E-A-S-2-5. You can head over to and click on the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise banner to learn more.

Now, this sale is going to end on June 25th, so talk it over with your spouse, hop online quickly, and book your stateroom for next year. The Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise is a getaway for married couples looking for renewal and romance and memory-building; and most importantly, re-connection with God. Again, you can learn more at Just click on the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise banner.

Now, coming up next week, how do we overcome the bitterness that we can feel inside toward events, circumstances, or other people? Well, pastor and author Stephen Viars is going to be here with Dave and Ann Wilson to talk about the power in lamenting, learning to forgive, and helping others to do the same. That’s next week. We hope you’ll join us.

On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I’m Shelby Abbott. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

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