Anger is a difficult sin. Like an ice-breaker pushing huge chunks of ice in all directions, anger leaves a trail of broken pieces in its wake. Broken chunks of ice are good thing. Broken pieces of life – not so much.
Anger is often a response to injustice. With God this is good. His motives and reasons for anger are always pure and right. Your child’s anger is also often a response to injustice. But his motives and reasons are seldom pure and right.
A young child thinks he has been wronged because someone else has his toy. A middle-schooler is angry because others are not kind to her. A teenager struggles with anger because of guilt as a result of being entangled in the web of pornography. Children of any age can experience anger when they believe their parents do not understand them.
Paul in Ephesians 4: 26-27, has important things to teach about anger.
First, anger is a part of life. Because your children live in a fallen world, there will always be things to be angry about. Sinful anger results when God is separated from personal anger. There must be a deep confidence that God sees all that is wrong. He has promised he will make all things right in his time (Romans 12:17-21 & 8:28)
Second, human anger must be quickly resolved. Paul says do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. Ignoring anger leads to more anger. If your child, middle-schooler or teenager is angry, don’t settle for a quick solution. Do whatever it takes to get to the underlying problem.
Whatever it takes!
Modern life steals time from families. There are appointments, schedules, school, church and the many other things that demand to be done. Time is essential to address anger.
Unresolved anger provides a foothold for the enemy. Anger is like cancer, it doesn’t stop growing unless it is removed. If you only clean up the broken pieces of life caused by anger, the root problem remains.
Please hear me! Anger covered over and not resolved will grow into an ugly, tragic mess. Failing to take time now can result in losing years to the aftermath of anger later on.
What can you do?
Listen well. Listen for attitudes as well as words. Listen for hurt, disappointment, indifference and despair. Listen for a troubled heart.
Speak with words that address your children’s heart and not only their actions. Use pleasant words, avoid harsh, sharp responses. Know your children well enough to say words that will truly build them up.
Remember that you have to be a refuge before you can be a resource. Pray eagerly for God’s help!
These things take time. There is no substitute!
Live in humility before God and your children. Don’t be dominated by anger in your heart. Take the time needed to address anger.