(See Part 1 if you haven’t read it.) “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman” (Proverbs 21:19). Ouch! This verse hits home with me when we read it in our family Bible time. I always pick it as the one that God is telling me to beware of. Walking on the road toward a heart that is not easily angered is a good road to be on. I am so grateful the Lord has moved me away from being a mom who yells at her children. As you know, though, my earnest prayer is that I would be so filled with the fruit of the Spirit that even angry thoughts or feelings would seldom, if ever, arise within me.
As I evaluate my angry responses to situations, I believe it does me the most good to see what Scripture has to say about anger. It is when my evaluation of anger lines up with what God says that I will stop justifying and excusing it.
Please keep in mind that I write the Mom’s Corner articles based on Titus 2:3-5, “The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” At forty-six, I am older than many who read the Corners. My goal through the Corners is to pass on what God has been teaching me in the subjects listed in Titus 2:4-5.
I would like to recommend a powerful resource on anger by a solid Bible teacher. Dr. S. M. Davis’ teaching audio, called Freedom from the Spirit of Anger, has had a profound, positive impact on Steve and me in the area of overcoming anger. It gives a detailed look at anger in the Bible, delves into whether anger is ever justified, and concludes with practical steps to conquering anger. I highly recommend that each mom reading this article listen to Freedom from the Spirit of Anger.
When I allow anger in my life, I am hurting my family members who must either face or watch my angry responses—even if it is simply a tone in my voice. How do you feel when your husband speaks to you in anger? If he isn’t yelling at you, but you discern anger within him, is your heart open to what he is saying? Do you feel loved and accepted?
Personally, I would much rather my husband speak to me in a normal tone of voice, rather than an angry one, if he has something negative to present. As soon as I sense anger in him, I become defensive. My spirit closes down, and I justify myself to him for whatever the anger is pointed toward. To be honest, even if I thought my husband had angry feelings about me that he wasn’t expressing, it would make me sad as I desire his unconditional love. It has to be the same way with my children. My anger toward them is not what they want to face. It puts them on the defensive, closing their hearts and ears to what I am saying. It also must convey to them a lack of love on my part.
Ephesians 4:31: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.” To me this says that ALL anger is to be put away from me. This is my heart’s desire!
“A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife” (Proverbs 15:18). This verse indicates that our anger can actually cause additional problems. Often when I become angry it is because I want to see a change that isn’t happening. Rather than my anger facilitating the change—whether it is harmony among siblings or pancakes that aren’t burned—it stirs up more strife!
“He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly . . .” (Proverbs 14:17). It was 8:30 p.m., time for the children to do their picking up before bedtime. My two youngest children, and biggest mess makers, Jesse (7) and Mary (5), had been reminded several times through the day to put away their playthings before moving to another activity. When I walked into Jesse’s bedroom, where they had played that morning, the floor was literally covered with toys. They had obviously disobeyed my earlier reminders, and there was certainly not sufficient time left before bed to put away that quantity of toys.
I felt the anger within. You probably wouldn’t have recognized it in me, but I did, and I expect that Jesse and Mary did, too. I then acted foolishly just as Proverbs says. I lectured them with that “tone” in my voice. Then I filled their arms with toys and marched them to the places those items belonged.
Understand, the children did need to put away their toys. They needed consequences for their disobedience. What they didn’t need, and what was “dealing foolishly” on my part, was my angry reaction.
As the Holy Spirit convicted me of my anger, I went to each of them after they were tucked into bed. I asked them to forgive Mommy for not being sweet and gentle at pickup time. Children are so quick to forgive! Even though they weren’t together when I asked their forgiveness, they both said almost the same words, “Oh yes, Mommy. I forgive you. Will you please forgive me for not putting my toys away earlier today when you told me to?” There had been no remorse over their disobedience while they were in my angry presence. However, as soon as I humbled myself to each of them, their spirits were also humbled and convicted.
Next month we will continue this series on anger by looking at practical steps we can take to gain victory over anger. In the meantime, listen to Dr. Davis’ audio, and you may have anger under control before the next Corner is out! May we be women who desire not to have angry reactions in our lives—ever!