Tag Archives: Dad’s Anger

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?



Would You Work There?

Someone once told me about a sign he read on the wall of a business: “We want employees who want to work here, not just for a paycheck.”

That sentiment is similar to a common corporate mission statement that proudly proclaims: “Our employees are our best asset!”

Don’t both of those statements sound good? Wouldn’t you want to work there? Well, maybe yes or maybe no. Doesn’t it depend upon whether management actually makes decisions for the good of the employee consistent with those statements? One question would be: Is the company investing in their employees?

We could say something similar about our homes. A father may desire that each member of the family wants to live in his home, or he might say that his family is his greatest treasure on earth. The question is: What is he doing to make those statements a reality? Is he making decisions for the good of his wife and children? Is he investing in his wife and children?

Have we evicted anger from our lives and ushered in love, gentleness, and patience? Let’s tally how much time we spend with our wife and children each week. Why isn’t it more? Might that fact be the difference between words that sound good and reality?

“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (1 Corinthians 3:13).

Let’s make our homes a place of nurturing and love. It begins with a choice. Will we make good choices and then implement them?



Aspects of Being a Good Leader – Part 7

(Prior parts to this series can be found here.) I was looking for my glasses in the kitchen when I realized and then said that they were still in the van. John immediately headed for the door to the garage, announcing that he would get them for me. I was grateful for his desire to serve, but told him that I had better retrieve them because I didn’t want them dropped. He assured me that he would be careful, and off he went.

Seconds later John came flying back into the kitchen with the glasses in hand. As he closed the door with the hand holding the glasses, the handle caused him to loosen his tender grip on the glasses, and they headed for the floor. The speed at which he was coming in the door gave the glasses momentum. I watched with no little distress as they went sliding across the tile floor—lens down.

I have been working at laying down anger in my life. Therefore, when I felt anger welling up inside of me, I turned to the wall behind me. I raised my hand and placed my palm against the wall. I didn’t smack the wall, but it was obvious that I would have liked to. With my anger now under control, I turned to face a sweet eleven-year-old who had tears brimming in his eyes. He apologized and said he didn’t mean to do it. He was very sorry.

I told him that was why I didn’t want him to get the glasses as he is always in a hurry and prone to accidents like that. I said it was okay and thanked him for his desire to help. He had something to do after that and went off.

Most would say I did a great job of controlling my anger. I was not harsh, and I didn’t discipline him. Yet, I was angry. Teri observed the situation and could tell I was angry. Several days later I spoke to John about it. I asked him if he thought I was angry. He said, “Yes,” and that was why he started to cry, because he was afraid. Ughhh! How that broke my heart.

Dads, that is why if we want to be good leaders of our homes, we must, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away . . .” (Ephesians 4:31). Our children know when we are angry, and it drives a wedge between them and us. They are afraid of us when we are angry, which is not conducive for having them turn their hearts to us.

The fact is, at that moment, I thought more of my glasses than I did of my son. That is something to repent of before God. Doesn’t that sound ridiculous to you? Yet I wonder how often that happens with other dads as well.

What causes you to respond angrily? Maybe it is a glass of spilled milk, the refrigerator door left open, tools lying in the yard, bikes in the middle of the driveway, lots of screaming and yelling, toys left out and tripped on, doors slammed, a child hurting another child, a child being disrespectful to you or your wife, a child not obeying you, a child mocking you, or any of a limitless list of ways a child could make us angry. We need to step back and ask ourselves, “Does anger achieve God’s results and make us good leaders?” “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (James 1:20).

There was a time when I allowed myself to be visibly angry because the children responded so much better when I told them to do something. But it soon became apparent that I was driving a wedge between their hearts and mine. If we desire to raise up godly seed (Malachi 2:15), then anger—visible or invisible—must have no part in our lives.

I expect if we were to put our heads together we could write down a fairly lengthy list of ways our spouses can make us angry. I have noticed that when I’m angry with Teri, it does nothing to improve our relationship. Have you experienced that in your marriage as well? There is something about anger that causes the other person to pull back. They don’t want to open up and become close, because they don’t know that they can relax and not be on the defensive. Anger, even a spirit of anger, will cause the one receiving the anger to put up a shield of emotional protection.

My controlled anger with John that night was as harmful to our relationship as if I had yelled at him. He sensed the internal anger and admitted to me that he was afraid. He had no reason to be afraid as I was calm on the outside, but he sensed my spirit. It was angry. We have everything to win and nothing to lose if we will purpose, by God’s grace, to put away all anger.

Scripture is very clear about putting away anger. Read the following verses.

“Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil” (Psalms 37:8).

“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). Even if there was to be a cause, we need to consider Romans 12:19, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”

“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31). Notice all anger is to be put away.

“But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth” (Colossians 3:8). Again, all anger is to be put away.

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21). Look at the other qualities that wrath (anger) is listed among. Would we excuse any of the others in our home?

“I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” (1 Timothy 2:8). Do we want to pray effectively?

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20). Our anger will not lead to righteousness in our life or those to whom our anger is directed at.

Out of all the verses in the Bible telling us to put away anger, some will still cling to Ephesians 4:26, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath,” as giving them freedom to be angry. Yet, they ignore that five verses later we are told to put away ALL anger. When we look at the above verses, it makes it extremely difficult to justify any anger.

As I said earlier, I have purposed to put away all anger by God’s grace. If there is such a thing as anger, with a cause that the Lord would approve of, I can’t imagine experiencing it. I can see what Scripture says about anger and how anger destroys intimacy in the home. It is difficult enough to win the hearts of my family members; I do not want to allow something in my life that will destroy what I’ve worked so hard for.

How about you? What place does anger have in your life? Have you seen anger’s harmful effects on relationships in your family? One resource that was very helpful in my life was Dr. S. M. Davis’ audio, titled Freedom from the Spirit of Anger. Dads, this really is a serious issue. Will you ask the Lord to search your heart and discover how He might remove anger from it? Will you trust Him to give you the grace needed?

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.