Anger is a toxic sin that results in broken relationships.
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 what he wants. A middle-schooler is angry because others are not kind to her. A teenager struggles with anger because he believes no one really cares about him. Children of any age 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. In other words, personal anger needs to flow into righteous, godly anger or it must quickly yield to repentance. Righteous anger leads to humility. 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)
This leads us to the reality that 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 takes time from families. There are appointments, schedules, school, church and the many other things that demand to be done. This allows the toxicity of anger to spread and damage relationships. Unresolved anger provides a foothold for the enemy. Toxic 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 to address anger can result in losing years to its aftermath.
What can you do?
Follow the Holy Spirit’s direction:
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. (Ephesians 4:31)
Get rid of toxic anger by listening well. Listen for attitudes as well as words. Listen for hurt, disappointment, indifference and despair. Listen for a troubled heart.
After you have listened speak with a heart of compassion. 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 earnestly for God’s help!
Live in humility before God and your children. Don’t be dominated by anger in your heart. Be dominated by bringing the love of Christ to those that you love.