Just to be clear, I understand there are times for righteous anger. We could stand to experience more of this type of anger. But this post is not about righteous anger. It is about the anger that deceives, that makes you think your anger is justified, something to feel good about. So when a child, a teenager, a spouse, or a coworker crosses an arbitrary line we feel totally justified in letting them “have it.” We cover our sin by saying, “I know I shouldn’t be angry, but sometimes you just have to say enough is enough.”
This sort of language and rationalization will receive a hearty amen from the Satanic cheering section. We think we have been strong, when in fact we have been weak. This is the coward’s way out. This is indulges our flesh. We do what seems right at the moment; we do what is right in our own eyes.
Parents, God calls you to be shepherds, not enforcers. You may feel regret at your anger, but until you repent and embrace the role of a servant / shepherd you will be aiding and abetting the enemy.
Letting someone “have it” is easy. It requires no courage, just pride, to let loose and give others what you foolishly think they deserve. Your children are careful observers of your actions. When you let someone “have it”, you are providing a powerfully negative example of self-righteousness. Expect your children to model this behavior. The day may come when your own children will think it is time to let you “have it”. If that day comes it will not be a happy one. This is why the path of love found in I Corinthians 13:4-7 is an essential weapon in fighting for the spiritual lives of your children. Speaking the truth in love applies directly to parents!
Ephesians 4:31 & 32 are seldom used as parenting guidelines. This is unfortunate. There is a powerful put off / put on dynamic in these verses to help shepherd your children towards Christ:
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Don’t capitulate! Don’t give in to self-justifying anger. There is hypocrisy in treating others as their sins deserve, in letting others “have it.” Suppose God treated you as your sins deserve? Not a pleasant thought is it?
Model the love of Christ to your children. Engage the enemy using the weapons of the Spirit of God!
10 thoughts on “Anger: Giving in to the enemy”
Ouch! I needed that (as I see the apple not falling far from the tree).
Thank you so much for this piece, I need to repent as I feel like I have been a bit hard on my daughter who is going through a rebellious phase. I stumbled on your article just when I finished having a conversation with my husband about our role in our daughter’s life, and how God wants us to approach it. Parenting is a delicate balancing act, on one hard you don’t want your kids to get away with things and on the other you feel like you being too much. May God help us.
I, too, am going through some parenting challenges where my patience is tested constantly. Curbing anger prevents me from doing something I will regret, yet in the moment of high emotions I need to summon all of my strength to retain good self-control. Good article, thank you!
This article has opened my eyes I see now that I was in error using my anger and most importantly my justification to discipline my children, I must repent.
Naomi, Eph. 6:4 has the balance you are talking about. Yes, a shepherd disciplines, but it is in the context of love, and pleasant words Pro. 16:20-24. We are to live God’s commands before our children. We are not to treat them as their sins deserve, just as God does not treat us that way. This is why the term shepherd works well for a parents job description.
omgosh I just saw your comment Sarah -so sorry ! Thanks so much !
I don’t have children of my own, however I’ve got some nephews and nieces that challenge me enough… At times, I’m frustrated with the resistance that I’m faced with when I try to correct some wrongs with simple explanation. Sometimes I get a response that I consider is disrespectful… At that point, I can see myself tensing up and getting frustrated… What would your recommendation be before I get to this point? What can I do differently?t
I also have question regarding what you said about how “parents are not supposed to treat their children according to their sins.” Does this mean that children are not suppose to face the quenseqences of their wrong-doing or “their sins” to use the term used in this article? How should one discipline a child who is doing something wrong? I understand that God has forgiven me so much and will continue to as long as I remain in His love, but I also know that He does not remove the consequences of my wrong doings… Something’s might stop at stopping the wrong doing, but others I might have to live with the rest of my natural life.
Hanna, first you want to make sure that anger is not part of your response. It sounds like you have enough interaction with your nephews and nieces to anticipate their responses. Try and head of their responses with addressing what would be the right way to handle the issue. Ask them before hand how they think the issue in question should be addressed. Pleasant words and loving anticipation can go along way to help. Regarding the consequences. My point is that God does not treat us with the full measure that we deserve. I was not speaking against consequences, just that we use the measured appropriate use of consequences. And while, consequences are important, more significantly children to need be confronted with grace of God and their need to reach out for that grace and to realize that no consequence can settle the debt caused by their sin. Only Christ can do that.
Thank you very much for taking the time to address my questions. I understand what you are saying. In my part, I feel like I’ve more growing up to do in terms of what it means to correct a wrong with love and kind words… At times, I feel at loss seeing the differences in how we (children of my age group/generation and also background) responded to correction as compared to the children of my siblings and friends born and raised in America. At times, the gap is too big that I feel like there is nothing I can do other than praying for God’s grace and the blood of Jesus Christ to cover us all…