Tag Archives: Overcoming Anger

What If?

Let’s suppose you had a friend who has struggled with lust for most of his life. He reads what Jesus said in Matthew 5:28: “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Then he thinks to himself, “Wow, Jesus didn’t condemn my enjoyment of looking at women. It’s just sin when I allow it to go to lust.” So he decides that as long as he just enjoys looking at women all is fine. He just can’t let the looking turn into lusting.

My guess is that you would tell your friend that he will not be successful in not lusting. The flesh is the flesh, and no matter what his good intentions are, he will lust. When it comes to truth, the question is: How do we apply it to our life?

Tools to help you stamp out anger.

Likewise, the practical application of Ephesians 4:26 regarding anger presents a challenge for some. “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” It can be read as “in your anger, when you begin to feel angry, don’t sin.” The problem is what a person does with his anger. Isn’t that similar to enjoying looking at women but not lusting? That is likely why God tells us to “cease from anger” (Psalm 37:8) and to “put off all these; anger…” (Colossians 3:8). Then in Ephesians 4:31 we find this: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger … be put away from you.” What is it that we don’t understand about ceasing and putting off?

Lust and anger are both powerful in the flesh. That is why Proverbs 6:25a says, “Lust not after her beauty in thine heart.” A man’s heart will quickly move from appreciating her beauty to lusting. In a similar way, might it be wise to abhor anger because of how easily it leads to sin as opposed to allowing it and then trying not to sin in it? Some sin dies hard, and man is reluctant to let it go.



I feel led to share a testimony I received in response to the January 28 Seriously “What Could Be Worse Than Ebola?” This brother knows firsthand the devastation a man’s anger can bring.

“I hate my anger now as I look in the mirror. I have to live with the past mistakes that were made (mistake is the word most folks use instead of saying my sin.) So much anger and so much evil.

“Anger is like a virus that is dormant in your blood (from a previous illness). It takes a few seconds for that dormant virus to begin attacking its host given the right circumstances.

“Dads, do everything you can to shun anger. It is hard, I know. I fight it daily. My wife will forget something important, or my child interrupts me or refuses to do what I have asked. Anger seems to solve things so quickly. But then when I stop and think about the hurt that I saw in their eyes, when I think back about particular instances, I realize it was not worth the quick fix.

“But to see the eyes of my wife or child light up when they receive grace and patience is amazing. It lights a soft glowing fire in my heart that is kind of like a warm, quaint fire in the fireplace, on a cold snowy day with a cup of hot chocolate, and my wife smiling warmly as she cuddles next to me. Patience is far more effective in long term.
— A Brother

This brother understands the seriousness of anger and the devastation it brings, and he openly testifies of his desire to be free of it. May that be true of every one of us. Would you pray for him? Now, what about you? Does anger have a place in your life? If so, be committed to removing it.

“But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” Colossians 3:8


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What Could Be Worse than Ebola?

It seems like the concern over Ebola is waning a bit. Many were very fearful of its coming to the States, and an outbreak would be terrible for sure. What would you think if I said there is something on par with Ebola in many professing Christian homes? What is it? Anger. Anger kills relationships and is highly contagious.

“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” (Proverbs 22:24-25). The relationships in a home are far stronger than friendship, and our anger will be strongly, deeply impressed on the souls of our family members and yield devastating consequences.

I recall one dad who talked about how bad his anger was and acknowledged it had an impact on his 18-year-old son’s not being saved. This man’s anger was a key factor in his son’s rejecting both him and Christ, and yet he referred to his anger in a fairly casual way, much as someone would who had given someone his cold. If you want to drive your children away from you—and possibly away from the Lord: be angry.

I wonder if there is any other sin—that’s right sinthat is so widely justified. “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).

Would your family say you get angry? Would they describe you as an angry man? If so, isn’t it time to forsake it before there are casualties?



Overcoming Anger for Homeschool Dads – Part 2

Last month I shared how I have struggled with anger. Not fits of rage, yelling, or other demonstrations of anger usually considered forbidden for Christians, but at times a spirit of irritation was heard in my voice.

How I hate that tone. I had heard it for most of my childhood years, and now, as a parent, I had the same irritated tone. If something displeased me, I would have an edge on my voice that my family knew all too well.

Anger Should Not Be Accepted

Have you noticed that certain levels of anger seem to be acceptable in the church? Nearly any Sunday you can observe a parent “communicating” with their child. The face is tight, and the eyes are boring holes in the child. Even if you can’t hear the threatening tone, it is obvious the parent is not happy and is doing their best to evoke a change in the child’s behavior.

However, if a parent were to raise their voice at the child, it would generally be frowned upon, and others would feel they had “crossed the line.” That characterizes my experience with anger. As long as I avoided raising my voice, I could accept my response and not feel the need to confess it.

Last month after my Dad’s Corner, we received an e-mail from someone who said they had struggled with anger and that a message by Dr. S. M. Davis called Freedom from the Spirit of Anger had really helped them. We had listened to another message by Pastor S. M. Davis on anger, and it was excellent. Since we had heard the one, I felt no urgency in ordering it and listening to it. After all, I didn’t have a problem with anger, just an irritated tone.

The next week Teri and I were in Peoria, Illinois, giving workshops at the APACHE homeschool conference. Pastor Davis was also giving some workshops at the conference and had a table with audio and videotapes. It was wonderful; I was able to visit with him and purchase a number of resources.

Soon after Teri and I arrived home, I popped the audio called Freedom from the Spirit of Anger  into the player. Within fifteen minutes, God had broken my heart and convicted me that my “tone” was really a spirit of anger, and I knew it had to be dealt with. To my relief, Pastor Davis shared, during the remainder of the tape, how I could have victory. Isn’t the Lord Jesus so merciful? He will deal with sin in my life if I let Him. I have been rejoicing over finally having some relief from my spirit of anger. It is such a new experience for me. When something has been a way of life for years, a period of adjustment is necessary to overcome it. First, I’ve found that there are times when I am not aware of it. Then there are times when I’m correcting a child, and I’m not even sure how to speak to them. I feel like a child having to learn new behavior, but it is wonderful.

Today as I was pulling the van out of the garage, I had an opportunity to respond peacefully. Without thinking, one of the children picked up the garage door opener (yes, the opener is actually a closer as well) and pushed the button before we were all the way out of the garage. We managed to clear the door in time before it came down on the van, but it was close. Then, I began hearing a torrid of reasons why it wasn’t her fault. What makes it worse is, I have told the children never to pick the opener up while we are in the garage. I was trying to get her to stop and listen to me when I heard an angry tone in my voice. As soon as I recognized it, God gave me peace. I was able to calmly explain again, they are not to touch the “closer.” Later, she told her mother she thought I was really going to be angry and was surprised to find I wasn’t. Isn’t God good?

Unfortunately, I realize I have quite a long road ahead as I will have daily opportunities to yield my anger to the Lord. If He wants to get angry over something, then that is His business.

What about you? Have you been a “good Christian father” and attempted to control the angry outbursts and throttled your anger back to angry tones and searing looks? Praise God there is hope in the Lord Jesus. I will not attempt to share here what dear Brother Davis has done so powerfully.

Maybe I am the only one on the Corner list who has struggled with this. If not, you may be interested in knowing how to purchase a copy of the audio.

My spirit of anger had infected our family just as any father’s spirit of anger will infect his family. If a spirit of anger is a problem in your life, you might give them a call. May God bless and enable us to be the gentle, meek fathers He desires us to be.

Overcoming Anger for Homeschool Dads – Part 1

Mildred is probably in her seventies and has short, straight, gray hair. Her life is clearly displayed on her face as it is so often with the elderly. Her bottom lip protrudes sharply from her face as a young pouting child’s often does. However, hers is fixed there due to many unhappy years. I don’t believe I have ever seen her smile.

In spite of all that, I love Mildred. She has been a resident at the County Infirmary for the nine years our family has participated in a church service there on the first and third Saturdays of the month. For years, I asked Mildred if she would come to church. With lip out, she would shake her head back and forth and say, “I don’t want to.” I would pat her shoulder, maybe speak with her briefly, and go down the hallway.

Then, to my surprise, Mildred, one day a year or so ago, said, “Yes.” I couldn’t believe it, but not wanting her to change her mind I grabbed the wheelchair handles and whisked her away to the dayroom. Since then she faithfully answers, “yes,” and I push her down to church, patting her shoulder and talking to her all the way.

There are others I would share about as well, if we had time. By patiently expressing love and encouragement, we have seen God do a wonderful work in their lives. However, I’m convicted that I will often expend greater emotional effort and patience with these elderly friends than I do with my own children! It gets worse than that. I know that there are times when I’m more patient with our golden retriever than with the children! Truly, that is something I have pondered and am not very proud of.

Anger Damages Relationships

Anger has to be the most damaging emotion a father can pour out on his children, whether I raise my voice or simply have an irritated tone. I know that, and yet I still will choose to let myself get angry. It really is a choice. If we say it isn’t, we are lying to ourselves. A good test is if our children do something wrong when someone we want to impress is present (perhaps at church), versus when we are at home by ourselves. Do we respond in the same way? I know I frequently don’t. But unless I want to damage my relationship with my children, anger cannot be allowed.

To begin to overcome anger, I have to first acknowledge that my anger is wrong and simply a matter of choice. I will not control my temper unless I see it first as sin. “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. . .” (Matthew 5:22). It is clear that 99.9999% of our anger is sin. I know some will say that Jesus was angry, and the above verse referred to a “cause.” However, I believe that seldom, if ever, do we dads really have a just cause that Christ would agree with. I’m not referring to larger issues such as abortion, but matters of the home. Jesus’ anger was righteous anger, and I expect if we critically evaluated why we were angry at home we would see it is sin.

Disobedience is not an Excuse for Dad’s Anger

Perhaps I will get angry because the child did not obey me. That is pride. It is not out of concern that my child has broken God’s command for him or her to obey me. I want the child to obey me. Simple. If one child hurts another, and I am angry, is my anger because they sinned against God by not showing brotherly love? No. My anger would be due to my desire for peace in the home and it has been disturbed. Yes, it is possible that it could be righteous anger but ever so unlikely. We would be far better off to allow the Lord Jesus to be the One to demonstrate righteous anger.

“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath” (Ephesians 4:26). Even if it was righteous anger, the question is whether I will sin or not when I’m angry. We would not be commanded in Scripture to “sin not” if we couldn’t control it. I believe that even when I have an irritated tone in my voice, that is sin. I’m not being loving and patient, and God has called me to serve my family, not my own selfish pleasures.

Last weekend our family was returning from Teri’s grandmother’s funeral in Iowa, and I had a wonderful opportunity to be kind and patient. The children had had no naps for two days previously, and it was their naptime. They were all quite tired, and soon the situation was definitely not Christ-like. Complaining, crying, and other less admirable activities were taking place in the back of the van.

I was content to drive and did not want to have to pull off the side of the road to deal with it. It was laziness on my part, and as a result, I became angry. After a while, I was tired and wanted Nathan to drive while I got some rest. An amazing thing happened! As soon as I was in the back with the children, they settled down and there were no more problems. Had I been willing to stop earlier when it was needful, it would have been a far more pleasant trip, and I would not have gotten angry.

We have worked hard to teach our children proper table etiquette, but that had become a real source of frustration and anger for me. This may sound stupid to you, but it is true. I had one child in particular who would not chew with his lips together and others who would either eat with their elbows on the table or not sit up nicely. I would remind them and remind them, and eventually I would get angry. You can imagine that did not make for pleasant meals. God is so gracious though. When we desire to please Him and if we cry out for wisdom, He is faithful in answering our prayers.

Find Creative Consequences

I asked the Lord to help me train them without getting angry. The idea came to me that if a child is demonstrating poor manners I could catch their attention and then raise my pointer finger indicating the first mark. If I see another problem with the same child, I will raise two fingers indicating two marks. If I see a third occurrence, they are excused from the meal. I have found this very freeing. I have a way of communicating the problem without getting angry, and there are consequences that the children will work hard to avoid. Seldom has anyone had to be excused from the table, and I now have children who are striving to demonstrate proper manners. The best part of it is I don’t get angry any longer over training the children at the table.

I have found that if I confess my anger as sin, repent of it, and cry out to the Lord for ways to avoid it, He will meet me at my point of need. Anger and love will not coexist. I have to be willing to die to my own agenda to get a grip on anger. I know that I cannot go wrong by grieving and repenting over every occurrence of it. May we be men of God and turn our hearts to our children by choosing not to get angry. Christ will be glorified and our children will flourish in our love.