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Have you noticed that slowly a new normalcy is taking over our country? Lifestyles, actions, and attitudes, which in the past would have been automatically considered as wrong, are now gaining popular acceptance. A nation whose governing power was once balanced now seems to have shifted to ultimate rule by an oligarchy. Ungodly morals continue to spread from house to house, city to city, and state to state. For most of my childhood, I didn’t even know someone who had been divorced. Then in my mid-teen years, divorce came to my family, and now it is a sad reality of our society, crushing families and leaving a wake of broken hearts and mangled homes.
Depending on which survey you point to, professing Christians are divorcing as frequently as non-Christians. How can that be? Where is the power of life in Christ Jesus? Is it possible that professing Christians are feeding more on what the world has to say than the Word of God? “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Galatians 6:8). People become what they “feed” they hearts and minds. It would be a great exercise for every dad to perform a “diet” analysis of his family. What is he feeding his family, and how long do they spend “dining” on each? It will likely point to the root cause of many behavioral problems in the home.
One common issue that is rampant in homes today is anger. We might expect anger in homes where Jesus Christ isn’t dwelling, but sadly anger is alive and “well” in Christian homes too. Anger is having a huge adverse poisoning affect on the relationships in those homes.
Part of the problem is that anger is being seen as a part of this new normalcy, and it is not seen for the destructive force that it is. Unless it is recognized as sin and harmful, there is little hope the tide will be turned.
I remember speaking with a dad who calmly acknowledged his problem with anger. He could see how it hurt his relationships with his children and his ability to disciple them, but there seemed to be no remorse or emotion in his words. Later I learned from my children that his three oldest children openly confessed to have no relationship with Jesus. As I reflected back on my conversation with the dad, my heart broke for his family. Here were three young adult children who were likely headed for hell, unless something dramatic happened, largely due to their father’s anger. Why wasn’t the dad broken and weeping for his children? Where is the brokenness and grieving for our sin and the needs of our children?
The issue is that most don’t consider anger to be sin. What did Jesus say about anger? “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). People are very quick to embrace the supposed exception, “without a cause” and justify their anger because they feel they have a cause for it. Jesus also 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.” How many men consider “that look” lust? We can see clearly that the Lord does not judge things the same way as we do.
What would Scripture indicate would be a cause for our anger? Perhaps we would say when someone has hurt or persecuted us that we would then have a reason to be angry. However, we are told in Matthew 5:12 to rejoice when we are persecuted, so obviously that wouldn’t qualify as a cause for anger. From this example, we can see that what the Lord Jesus would deem a cause for anger is not going to be the way we see it.
We are quick to justify anger because of wrongs against us. Would Jesus agree that anger was with a cause? “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away” (Matthew 5:39-42). Our fleshly responses to these situations would normally be anger. We certainly wouldn’t naturally turn the other cheek, give a coat, or go the extra mile when someone had expressed evil toward us. However, since the Lord gives us the responses to these kinds of wrongs, it is evident they are not causes that would justify anger.