The Case Against Anger – Part 1

I had sent Joseph (12), John (11), and Jesse (7) downstairs to pick up in their bedroom. They were given a half hour of time we would normally get to spend reading out loud together for this task because they hadn’t done it during their assigned time. When I went to check on their progress, I heard one son fussing at another that he hadn’t been working at all. The other son made an unkind comment in reply. As I listened to this verbal interaction between my sons, I found the emotion of anger rising up within me.

Tonight we had a busy “breakfast” supper. There was much preparation, and most of it needed to be completed at the last minute. We started with salads, but then moved into bacon, pancakes, eggs, and biscuits. While everyone else was beginning to eat, I was still frying bacon and cooking pancakes. After a little while, Steve kindly offered to take over the kitchen work so I could sit down to have a bite to eat. I poured six more pancakes and said, “Here are the last of the pancakes. Please keep an eye on them.”

After eating a pancake, I returned to the kitchen. “Yikes, who’s watching the pancakes?”

“What pancakes?” Steve questioned. “All you said to do was finish frying the bacon.”

“No. Before I sat down, I told you I was putting in the last of the pancakes,” was my response.

“I didn’t hear that.”

I could tell, again, I was beginning to feel angry. While I have come a long way in dealing with anger—from yelling and door slamming to irritated tones in my voice—I still have much to learn in this area. I also have a tremendous desire to be constantly characterized by a meek and quiet spirit.

I am concerned about truly conquering anger in my life, and I know many other moms are as well. I don’t want to simply control it on the outside, although that is a starting place. I pray that there would be no anger at all in my reactions.

Scripture has strong words to say about anger. “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (James 1:20). I believe as Christian homeschooling moms, we are seeking for the righteousness of God to be manifested. God clearly says that our anger does not bring about His righteousness.

It is easy to justify anger, and that is a very dangerous temptation. May we never, never allow ourselves to do this. We must not make excuses for our anger but rather see it as sin. As long as my thoughts say that I have a reason to be angry, I am not going to deal with that anger properly or gain victory over it.

In the situation where my boys were bickering, they were sinning. I had a choice set before me. I could allow myself to let the angry thoughts and feelings progress, telling myself that my anger is righteous anger and that they deserve it. After all, when I am angry, I get their attention.

However, to be totally honest, while I am disappointed that my boys are not being kind to each other, my anger is more related to my inconveniences. I am angry that they aren’t getting their work done, that I will have to correct them for their unkindness, that we work on their attitudes toward one another but they still are bickering, etc. My anger is focused on the impact of their behavior on me.

If I were truly concerned about the issue of sin in my boys’ lives, I would not be angry. I would be pleased that the Lord has given me another opportunity to share God’s truth with my sons. I would once again turn their hearts and thoughts to Jesus Christ, the One Who can give them victory over sin. No, that is not the focus of my heart when I am becoming angry. Rather, my heart is selfish.

What happens in my children’s lives when I respond to them angrily? First, they, in turn, learn to react with anger. While anger is certainly a part of our sin nature, how often do we hear our own angry voices and see our hard facial expressions mirrored in our children? Our children have picked up angry responses from watching their mothers!

Scripture says, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). Therefore, when I respond angrily to my child, I am fueling his anger as well. We then have an angry, sinful confrontation on our hands. This is most certainly a no-win situation.

Now let’s consider the anger I felt inside when the pancakes were being overcooked. This is a simple matter. What difference does it make if I said something and no one heard me? What difference does it make if the pancakes were burned? (They weren’t.) Yet my pride over wanting to be paid attention to and not have distasteful food allowed angry feelings to fester.

Here again, is there anything beneficial or positive that might come from anger over pancakes? Of course not! However, there is great negative potential if I let that anger progress. What would my children see in my relationship with Steve if I respond angrily—or even at all? Where do they see my priority if a burned pancake is more important than a sweet spirit?

Next month I want to delve further into this area of anger and dealing with it. I have a whole chapter on anger in Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit. My desire in these Corners is not to repeat what I have written there, but to continue, in different ways, to evaluate anger and keep our focus on the need to refuse it any place in our lives.

Sisters, we have a myriad of daily interactions that can cause us to feel angry. May we see anger as God sees it. May we hate the anger in our lives and the consequences it brings about as well. May we consistently be asking the Lord for a heart that not only doesn’t let our anger spill out on our family members, but one that doesn’t even have angry feelings.

To read the rest of the series, please click here and scroll down, as Part 4 is at the top.