The Danger with Anger...
Have you ever noticed that anger only seems to separate? Our anger never achieves what God desires or intends. This really hit home for me, a while back, with one of my daughters. Some trivial matter had caused me to snap at one of my girls in an outburst of frustration. Later, when trying to teach her, she was completely non-compliant. This child who loved school suddenly had no interest. That's when I realized that she wasn't disinterested in school...my anger had caused a rift, a separation between us. "The anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of Christ." (Jas. 1:20) So, if my anger had separated us while simply studying math how much more so would it separate us when studying the gospel?!
God desires for us to be conduits of gospel love to our children (and husbands, but that's another post :) But this is never achieved through gritted teeth or bitter hearts. "The anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of Christ." Love does! Because love always unites, heals, strengthens, reconciles. Was it God's anger or His love that reconciled us , through Christ, to Himself? Was it not His tender mercies that won our hearts? Our children will receive our words when we are speaking them in love with gentleness and kindness (check our the Pr. 31 woman...the "teaching of kindness was on her tongue")
We've all heard it said that love is a verb...so what about loving when it's hard? I know we all love our children but I mean demonstrating love...all the time. Yes, there are sweet days with our children, full of laughter and learning and embraces...that's when love is easy. But there are also days in the trenches of rebellion and tears and stress. How do we choose to be conduits of gospel love, and refuse to let anger defeat us, on those days? We must keep on the forefront of our minds, that every moment holds the opportunity to share some glorious gospel truth with our child. Sometimes there are hard moments and we fail to see how God could possibly use them, but He will. Look past the outward behavior of your child and go right to their heart. What are they struggling with? Is there a hurt that needs to be addressed? A sin that needs to be rooted out? God gave you supernatural insight into the heart of your child, there is no one else who knows them better. Pray and ask God to redeem that moment and use it to transform hearts. Our greatest privilege is to continually minister the gospel to our children. Deuteronomy 6 tells us that we need to show them how God's word applies to every aspect of their lives. Anger crushes that opportunity. It robs us of those small moments which are meant to accumulate into something magnificent.
Titus 2:5 exhorts women in many things but one of which is as a "keeper of the home." According to the Greek, the phrase is more accurately translated as "guardian of the home." We are to guard our homes, ensuring that Christ's love is preeminent there. And we guard our homes by guarding our own hearts, our children's hearts and our marriages. "Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit" Proverbs 25:28. Moms, when we allow anger to lead us away from our post as "guardian" we leave ourselves, our marriages and our children completely exposed.
"But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips...as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."Col. 3:8 & 12. So, Paul says it is an intentional taking off and putting on. It's practice. It's choosing to be finished with unrighteous anger and to begin with godly compassion. And where He commands, He is always faithful to be our Help and our Strength. Let His joy become your joy and your strength.