Loving God enough to end rage, anger, inner seething, and resentment is not a matter of simply saying no to bad behavior. If you or your children have been controlled by patterns of anger, there is only one way to address this attitude of the heart that will bring lasting change. When anger becomes a way of life you know It is wrong. You can deeply want to change. You know your anger hurts others. But just knowing these facts will not remove anger from your heart and life.
In the last post we looked at Ephesians 4:31 and 32 as a model for addressing anger.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Verse 31 states the obvious. You must get rid of anger and its byproducts. Verse 32 provides the new heart attitudes that God commands. When obedience is restricted to physical behavior, the Christian life and parenting becomes a curse rather than a blessing. The power of the gospel must extend to attitudes as well.
When directed to be kind and compassionate, the angry heart says, “you must be kidding – be kind to him after all he has done to me?” The gospel teaches that we are not kind and compassionate because someone deserves to be treated this way. We are kind and compassionate because that is what God has commanded. This is the stunning truth that verse 32 is based upon – I am to be kind and compassionate because this is how Christ treats me. Is Christ kind to me because I deserve his kindness? Of course not!
By making Christ the standard, Paul totally turns our world and our self-righteousness upside down. The person that made you so angry is not the reason you should be kind. Jesus is the reason you should be kind.
Think about this. The other person’s behavior is not to determine the way I treat him. God’s Spirit through his written word is the one who makes that call. As long as you only see all the faults and flaws in others, your anger will remain. See the compassionate love of Christ instead of the faults of others. Now you have hope to end the rule anger. Your heart can be ruled by the compassion of Christ.