I want to take the opportunity to review a few points from the last article. Last time, we talked about how you lose the heart of a child. The most important key in child rearing is to get and keep the heart of the child. Pray for and ask God to give you your child’s heart. The heart can be lost, the heart can be hardened, and the heart can be stolen. The rebellion in a child happens in that order. The biggest thing that causes the parent to lose the heart of their child is ungodly sinful anger on the part of one or both of the parents.
I recently heard a story where a kindergarten teacher was helping a student with his boots. The child was struggling to get the boots on, so the teacher came over to help. After they finally got the boots on, the child said, “Teacher, they are on the wrong feet.” Sure enough, the teacher looked down and the boots were on the wrong feet. So, off they came and there was a struggle in getting them back on. Just as soon as the teacher got them on, the child said, “Teacher these are not my boots.” The teacher was starting to get upset, but knew she needed to be a good example to the child. So, off the boots came. As soon as they were off the child said, “These are my brother’s boots, and my mom made me wear them today.” By now the teacher is almost beside herself trying to control her frustration and anger started to grow. So, back on the boots went. When she finally got them on and it was a struggle, she asked the child, “Where are your mittens?” He said, “I put them in the toe of my boots!”
How we react to these types of everyday things will tell us if we have a sinful, angry spirit. The question is why would the teacher be angry? Because she was frustrated with the circumstances, impatient, and there is no room here to be angry. Think about how many times you have been irritated and reacted with your children and then think about trying to get their heart. If you wrestle with a temper, you may be laughing on the outside but crying on the inside. Anger has a way of disarming us and robbing us of our testimonies, husbands, wives, and our children.
I read about a Christian man who poured out his heart to his Pastor, he had battered his wife the night before. She was humiliated, bruised, and too embarrassed to come with him.
A Pastor sat in a jail cell with a young Christian father who had his face buried in his hands. Tears ran down his face and through his fingers as he told of his temper. He had just killed his infant daughter with his own hands in an uncontrollable rage. He had been irritated by the baby’s crying.
Folks, anger isn’t a humorous matter. It is something that must be understood, admitted, and kept under control, or it will literally slay us and our families. As a Pastor for more than 25 years, I have seen so much of this and it is scary.
Many Christian men jump on their wife or their children in anger and they will call it righteous anger or righteous indignation, when in reality it is nothing more than sin. There is nothing righteous about it. Many times women do the same thing. Folks, when you do that you are moving the heart of your child away from you.
The number of children that grow up in a Christian home and do not grow up to serve God is staggering. This matter of the heart is a serious matter that most Christians do not even think about let alone understand. The heart is way too fragile to with stand the ungodly anger of the parents.
Anger is an emotional reaction of hostility that brings personal displeasure either to ourselves or to someone else. Anger can begin with a mild irritation, which is nothing more than an experience of being upset, a mild feeling of discomfort brought about by someone or something. Then anger can turn from irritation to indignation, which is a feeling that something must be answered. There must be an avenging of that which is wrong. Both irritation and indignation can go unexpressed. If fed, indignation leads to wrath which never goes unexpressed. Wrath is a strong desire to avenge. As wrath increases, anger becomes fury. The word fury suggests violence, even a loss of emotional control. The last phase of anger is rage. Obviously, rage is the most dangerous form of anger. Rage is a temporary loss of control involving acts of violence; the angry person scarcely realizes what he has done.
I want to give you three thoughts about ungodly anger. First of all, anger is deceptive. Matthew 5:22-25,….”But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry at his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment…whosoever shall say to his brother Racca…” The word Racca means empty headed one.
How many parents call their children names in anger, and expect to see that child give them their heart or grow up to live for God. Many times an angry person feels justified about being angry. An angry man causes his children to be discouraged, Colossians 3:21 “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.”
Proverbs 14:17, “He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly; and a man of wicked devices is hated”. When you deal with your children in ungodly anger, it is foolish and it leads to being hated”.
Proverbs 22:24-25,”Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go; lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul”. The Bible here describes anger as a “snare to your soul!”
You as a parent, husband, or wife, have to conquer anger in your life before you will ever turn around your child whose heart you have lost.
I have seen many children who have grown up in the home of a strict disciplinarian who uses ungodly anger. The child obeys on the outside, but in the heart he is moving away from the parent. When, in fact, the parent wants the child to grow up to serve God, but the child does not. The parent is heartbroken and the child lives a life of wickedness. The parent is wondering what happened here.
Before anybody goes and says, what about discipline? There is nothing wrong with firm discipline done correctly. In the Bible, discipline is compassionate and firm, but not ungodly. There is nothing wrong with being firm and even forceful. There is plenty wrong with doing so in sinful anger. When our girls were younger and they had done something wrong, we as parents took them into another room and sat down on the bed with them and explained calmly, firmly, and lovingly, what they had done wrong. We told them we were displeased with it and Jesus was displeased with it and they needed to understand that. (I have talked extensively about proper discipline of the child in other articles. Please look at the family section of our web site under Proper Discipline of the Child). We told them they were going to receive a spanking. They received some whacks on the bottom with a rod and then we hugged them and told them that Jesus loved them and so did we. We also prayed together and they asked Jesus and their parents to forgive them.
Our goal was firm, godly, loving, and proper discipline. You do not scream at the child. You do not smack the child. You do not chase the child around the room with a belt. You do not explode at the child because you have something else going on inside of you. Many Christian parents get angry at their children or their spouses because they are irritated about something else and justify their behavior. One Christian lady stated she was afraid to bring the mail in because her husband would explode over receiving the bills in the mail. Their home is not an example of the love of Christ. In fact, it is a home that is dominated by the anger of one or both parents. Most of all, you have to remember you are dealing with the will and heart of the child and you want to get and keep the heart of the child, Proverbs 23:26. What I am talking about here does not mean you are a wimp and are being run over by a rebellious spouse or rebellious children. This article is talking about how to prevent that. A few articles in the future will talk about how you turn a situation around that is now a disaster.
Matthew 12:7, tells us we are to have a merciful Christ like spirit. Good parenting is calm, attentive, firmness. Anger is not caused by what is going on outside of you, but what is going on the inside of you.
I can hear someone say, “Is there ever a time for righteous anger in the life of a Christian?” Yes, but the purpose of this article is talk about dealing with ungodly anger, and what causes you to lose your child’s heart.
Secondly, let’s look at what the Bible describes as ungodly anger. In Proverbs 25:28, the Bible describes it as a city without walls. Anger takes away all our defenses; it breaks down the defense walls. In Proverbs 27:3, anger is described as an unbearable load. In Proverbs 27:4, the Bible describes this type of anger as cruel and outrageous.
I was reminded recently about a Pastor’s wife and family that were devastated by his anger. The wife and children were living in mortal fear of his next explosion. No one would do anything that they might think would possibly upset dad. The family had a dog they loved. The dog got out and did something the dad did not like. The father in anger told the wife and children, if the dog gets out and does that again, I will kill that dog. The wife had raised that dog from a pup and loved the dog. Well, the dog accidentally got out, and did the same thing again. In front of his wife and children he took a shot gun and killed their beloved pet. Even though they were crying and asked him not to do so and tried to stop him. He not only killed his dog that day, he killed the heart of his wife and his children. The family ended up in total disaster and none of the children grew up to serve God. When confronted about this, the Pastor did not see he had an anger problem and still does not to this day although he has lost everything, including his wife and his children. Folks, I have counseled with many Pastors who have lost their families and it always goes back to this area of anger which they fail to see. Anger is deceptive.
Many Christians deal with their children in ungodly anger when the child does not do what they want them to do. There is a very powerful verse about this in Proverbs 22:8, “He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.” Your ungodly anger makes the child worse and your discipline will fail.
Many times I have visited someone in jail. I ask this question, “Did your dad or mom ever discipline you?” Almost always a smile comes on their face and they will say something like, “Yeah the old man really laid it on me”. Did it work? Obviously not!
Many Christian parents believe that anger is the way to deal with their child. Ungodly anger in dealing with your child will fail and you will have a broken heart.
Thirdly, where does ungodly anger come from? Proverbs 21:24, “Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath”. Ungodly anger comes from pride. Who is the author of that? Keep in mind folks Satan is a deceiver and he has deceived many of God’s people into believing that using ungodly anger on their children will bring their children into line. When, in fact, it moves the child away from the heart of the parent and the parent away from the child. Proverbs 13:10, Proverbs 26:12, Psalm 10:4. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall”. This is why many parents believe they are doing all they can do to rear their child for Christ and they use anger in the home. When the fall (disaster) happens they are upset and angry because they have ran their home in ungodly anger expecting to produce spiritual results. It just does not happen, and many are deceived. It is a huge disaster in multitudes of Christian’s homes. I believe this is the main reason most children who grow up in a Christian home do not grow up to serve God. The pride and anger that is going on in Christian homes also leads to many other sins of the flesh.
Remember, your goal is to get the heart of the child and keep the heart of the child. Pride makes us forget how much God has forgiven us. A person of pride lashes out in anger at anyone who offends then including their wife, children, husband or parents.
Take responsibility for your anger by humbling yourself. Anger can also come from the tension of unresolved guilt. Proverbs 26:28, “A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin”. As an example, someone tells a lie about you and then gets mad at you. Guilt makes them angry.
Meekness is strength under control and ungodly anger is strength out of control.
How Do I Deal With Ungodly Anger?
- Quit justifying your anger. Anger is the justified sin of Christians.
- Accept personal responsibility for your anger.
- Remember the anger is inside of you. Quit fighting the consequences of anger.
- Confess anger as pride.
- Deal with any guilt of the past.
- Forgive others.
- Seek to become meek (humility).
- Think of the blessing when you quit being angry.
Some Practical Points
- Learn to ignore petty disagreements, Proverbs 19:11. In God’s eyes, it is glory if you are big enough to overlook an offense.
- Refrain from close association with anger prone people. Proverbs 22:24-25
- Keep a very close check on your tongue. Proverbs 15:1, Proverbs 21:23
- Cultivate honesty in communication; don’t let anger build up, Proverbs 27:4-6. There is no substitute for total honesty spoken in love, Ephesians 4:15.
Folks, the heart is much too delicate to survive the catastrophic situation of the ungodly anger of the parents.
When we are angry in an ungodly fashion, we give place to the devil, Ephesians 4:27. Then the devil reproduces his character through you. Jesus wants to reproduce His character through us. When we are under control of the Holy Spirit, then the character of Jesus flows freely through us, His love, His gentleness, His compassion, His joy, and His concern for others.
Ephesians 4:31, “Let ALL …wrath, and anger… be put away from you.” Ephesians 4:32, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you”.
Understanding what ungodly anger is and does is extremely important in getting and keeping your child’s heart. It is also a key in not allowing your child’s heart to be stolen.
If you have been angry with your wife, children, husband “without a cause”, you need to go confess and apologize for your ungodly anger. The first step in dealing with it is to humble yourself. James 4:10, “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” In dealing with your wife, husband or children, remember a spirit controlled people in Ephesians 5:21 the Bible tells us are, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God”. Ungodly anger has no place in it.