Ever felt aggravated by your children or lost your temper in front of them? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Here are some words of encouragements from someone who has been in your shoes.How do we control our anger before our children, and what does the Bible have to teach us? One mother shares her reflections, and the lessons that she has learned about how to rein in her anger.
I am ashamed to admit it, but I used to be both quick- and hot-tempered. One day in the distant past, God called my attention.
I was in the kitchen. My child was in the living room. Suddenly, a kitchen implement flew out of my hand. Although nobody got hurt, I needed no further convincing to rein in my anger.
As Christian parents, we are to teach our children about God and His words. The way we do this is through our day-to-day life (Deut 6:7). However, parents who let their anger get the better of them make it difficult for themselves to carry out their God-given responsibility.
Instead of bringing their children closer to God, out-of-control parents drive them away from Him. To save them and ourselves, we must trust in divine intervention and rely on divine instruction.
RESOLVE TO CHANGE
When God catches your attention, He has opened a way for you to break free from your old way of life. Anger that is not reined in has a way of escalating and spinning out of control.
It creates a vicious cycle in the home for a family and its subsequent generation(s). Children who are born and raised in such a home become enslaved to the notion that out-of-control anger is acceptable behavior.
You can put a stop to this. Confront your problem and look it in the face. The truth will set you free (Jn 8:31, 32). If you deny that you have a problem managing your anger, you have no reason to live your life differently.
You may even be satisfied that it gets you what you want, even if only temporarily. But you know otherwise. Resolve to change. Give God a chance to help you.
I shudder to think what would have happened if our Lord had not intervened. I did not know any better, but our Lord put the brakes on what was clearly anger that was spinning out of control.
Although I had begun reading the Bible, I did not realize that giving in to anger was not a good thing. The Lord made me aware that it was unacceptable behavior. Knowing how close I came to hurting my child was the beginning to a fresh start.
TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY
According to Paul, “outbursts of anger” are “works of the flesh” (Gal 5:19-21). He categorized these with “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like...”
Paul understood that all works of the flesh are sinful, which, left unchecked, will lead to certain death and eternal condemnation.
Our understanding of sin is less clear. In a society where the difference between right and wrong is left to the individual to define, few people can understand how outbursts of anger can be placed in the same category as adultery, idolatry, and murder.
Yet the mom or dad who professes Christ knows in his or her heart that by whatever names a sin is called, it is nevertheless a sin in God’s book.
When God put the brakes on my outburst of anger that day, I screeched to a halt. However, this did not mean that my problem was fixed right away. The incident motivated me to put my mind in gear and learn to live a new life.
For example, in those early days, when I felt my anger meter rising, I would warn my children to quit squabbling before I blew up. But over time, I realized that God would not give me a pass on judgment day if I told Him that my children made me do it.
I also did not think He would let it go if I said I was tired and cranky because I had a long day. I learned to quit threatening my children and be responsible for my conduct.
When I found myself in a jam, I tried to remember to call for divine reinforcement instead. I would say in my heart, “O Lord, I’m going to blow it again. Help me!”
PRACTICE SELF CONTROL
If we profess a Christian faith and believe in Jesus Christ, the one and only living God, we must live differently than we used to. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are now engaged in spiritual warfare for the rest of our natural life.
This is played out in the theater of everyday living where our words and actions reflect the nature of this war. Each time we give in to an outburst of anger, we have lost another spiritual battle. For example, when we are angry, our brain shuts down and our mouth opens. Hurtful words roll off our tongue.
People in Bible times knew this. James, an elder in the early church called the tongue an “unruly evil, full of deadly poison…Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing” (Jas 3:8-10).
I know such battles. When my daughter walks to school in the morning, I make it a point to send her off with the words, “God be with you.” One day, when she was running late again, I felt a surge of anger rising in my chest.
Although I walked her to the door and saw her off as usual, it occurred to me a few minutes later that I had not done so in good faith. Immediately, I fell on my knees and begged God to forgive me.
Since then, I do my best to take my eyes off the clock in the morning and keep busy until she lets me know that she is ready to leave.
DO IT FOR YOUR CHILDREN
God has a special place in His heart for children (Gen 18:19; Deut 6:4-7). He has much to offer them, and He wants them close to Him (Mt 19:13-15; Mk 10:13-16; Lk 18:15-17). All that our Lord asks of parents is that they bring their children to Him.
If we understand the gist of His commandments to the Israelites, we know this to mean twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, or 24/7 in our vernacular—which is all the time.
As Christian moms and dads, we want nothing better than this. Sometimes, however, without meaning to, we may actually be making it difficult for our children to walk with the Lord.
In two letters to the early churches, Paul had some stern words for fathers. After he had reminded the children to obey their parents in the Lord, he instructed fathers to “not provoke [their] children to wrath” (Eph 6:1-4; Col 3:20, 21).
These fathers were apparently giving their children a very hard time. While we do not know what exactly was these fathers’ problem, we can tell that it got in the way of good parenting.
The lesson we can take away from this warning is the reminder that our words and actions affect our children one way or the other.
The window of opportunity to “bring [our] children up in the training and admonition of the Lord” is very small. Little ones grow up very quickly. Mine are nearly all grown.
On looking back over the years, I am certain that if the Lord had not intervened, I would have lost my opportunity and lived to regret my folly. I thank God that He helped me make the most of this time.
Kitchen implements do not fly out of my hands, but I still watch myself and dispatch calls of distress to the Lord. I know of no more effective way to curb my anger and keep it from escalating and spinning out of control.
May God’s name be forever praised.