Posts Tagged ‘anger’

That’s What God is For

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

For children to bicker and not get along is the natural human condition. That’s why we need transformation. That’s why we have God. God is able to do what we are not. In our own strength, nothing supernatural is possible. With God, I’ve seen miracles happen on a weekly basis in my home. The majority of those miracles happen inside my own heart as I lean on God. Yes, you have to have a desperation that causes you to throw your entire being upon God for Him to work.

The other day my kids were screaming at each other. I took one of my sons involved in the screaming to another room. Perspective. That’s what I said. He was talking in such a frantic manner, as if playing a game was an emergency. Peace and a yielding to God should rule our hearts, not this frantic screaming and demanding one’s own way. He said his brother was annoying him. (I have already addressed the fact that annoying others is like Satan because it causes someone else to sin, so it’s worse evil than the person who strikes back in self-defense.) But now I’m dealing with the one who strikes back, or in his screaming words he was attempting to strike back. I said, remember Jesus was insulted and struck, but He did not retaliate. My son said, “But that’s impossible.” His brother makes him so furious.

“Sweetheart, of course it’s impossible. That’s what God is for. Our God is the God of the impossible. God changes me all the time in ways that are impossible. That’s what’s incredible about it.” I gave several testimonies of my own life when I was struggling with a sin issue, and God transformed me, usually slowly over time because I wanted so badly to do God’s will, asked Him with all my heart, and tried (although imperfectly) to walk by His Spirit when the sin trigger happened.

My son sat there stunned. “You mean you were furious at my brother, too, for the same annoying mannerisms?” Yes. And God changed me. When I see the annoyances, I have a tranquility in my soul that is called patience. I did not drum it up myself. God gave it to me because I asked, tried really hard, and yielded to God so that He could do the work through me. Sometimes a Scripture verse helped. I could quote the verse to myself to remind me how God wanted me to act. “The anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God requires.” James 1:20

My son calmed down. I said, “Do you want God to change you? You have to want it. That is step one. Then you need to stop the next time you are annoyed by your brother and reach upward in your soul to God. God will do the rest. I promise you it’s true. God so badly wants to change our sinful tendencies. All we have to do is be willing.”

Leaving a Legacy

Blessing Others With Your Words

Is Anger Always a Display of Pride?

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011


I heard a statement recently that was really good: the amount of anger you have towards another person is equal to the amount of pride you have. A person who is humble believes he has no rights and therefore never gets offended. The speaker was talking about marriage, and he’s actually right. When people ask me how my marriage is so good, one of the reasons I tell them is that I don’t take offense by anything my husband says. I know that he does not intend to hurt me. So if I’m hurt by a statement, I must be twisting it somehow. We women do this. I don’t know why. Our minds just attribute wrong motives to people because we are so insecure about ourselves.

But this is my question: Is anger always a display of pride? I want to dive into my own life, to see whether my recent anger and lack of instant forgiveness might be attributable to pride, or whether it’s something else. Is anger ever justified? Can anger actually be right?

When it comes to being angry with my husband and children, I have to say no. (I actually can’t remember when I was last angry with my husband; it’s been so many years.) But I get angry with my kids all the time. Why? Because they’ve inconvenienced me mostly. My anger is inexcusable, and I know that it’s sin. God showed me that anger towards my children was a symptom of my idolatry of time. I think time is my own, and I’m sorely mistaken. My time belongs to God.

But what about being angry about someone else being attacked unjustly? Is God Himself ever angry? Was Jesus angry while on earth? And under what circumstances?

Jesus was furious and whipped people with a whip, people who had the audacity to sell stuff in a place that was holy. They were ripping people off. Poor people couldn’t even afford to make a sacrifice because these people made it impossible for them to obey God.

And yet Jesus never lashed out against anyone who was injuring His own body. He just took it. There was no anger.

Jesus was also furious at church leaders. They put yokes on people that the people couldn’t bear, and it drove people away from God. Jesus almost cussed at these church leaders; He was so mad. He called them whitewashed walls, a brood of vipers, and other bad names. He was mad. Livid.

It seems to me that if I saw a man raping a woman in a dark alleyway, the anger that I would feel towards the rapist would be murderous. I would defend that woman, and the thing that would make me fierce would be my anger at the injustice, at the outrage. And I believe God feels the same way.

Oddly, I never felt anger towards the rapist in my own life. I felt defeated, ripped open, and destroyed, but not angry. Later I discovered that I had bitterness toward God and an inability to trust Him, but that’s a very long story that would take a book to explain. I now trust God in a way that I never thought possible. But I wasn’t angry when injustice happened to me.

When my husband was attacked recently with slanderous allegations until he was utterly destroyed, was it okay for me to be furious? When I read the book of Revelation, I see a God of vengeance who cares deeply about injustice. At the marriage feast, we’re sitting there, and we actually cheer like a football game when Christ gallops with a scythe in His hand to destroy His enemies, and it’s quite brutal. He almost looks like the Grim Reaper, and my husband says that the Angel of Death in Exodus was none other than Christ. Don’t look into Revelation if you’re faint of heart. You will find out that God is fierce and holy, and the fear of God will take on a new dimension, as it’s supposed to include trembling.

I desperately want to purge anything from my life that is not pleasing to God. But I don’t want to purge things that aren’t even wrong, just to stifle my personality and make me more stoic. If my heart is open, I’m bound to be hurt. And hurt often includes anger, whether it’s right or not. I’d rather not build a wall. I’d rather love full blast, one way or the other, even if I get hurt again.

Feel free to tell me your thoughts. Is anger ever justified and righteous? Or am I making excuses for my sin?

What Love Meant

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

what-love-meantThis is a humbling story about a toddler who taught me what love meant.

One morning when my oldest son was 3 years old, I was lying down, exhausted from potty training a boy who was making no progress. I was tired of cleaning up pee, and the smell of Lysol permeated the house. I was frustrated and angry with my son. I prayed that God would help me not to be so exasperated.

I looked at my son, who was sitting next to me on the bed. Despite how bad the morning had gone, I wanted my son to know that I loved him. I said, “I love you.”

He hugged me and said, “I love you, too.”

It occurred to me that he didn’t know what love meant. I asked him, “Do you know what love is?”


“It’s more than that,” I said. I tried to think of how to explain it, when I Corinthians 13 came to mind. “Love is patient…”

Suddenly my 3-year-old son recited the rest of the passage, which he had learned when he was 2. “Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

There was a lump in my throat as I fought back tears. I felt convicted by the Word of God out of the mouth of my toddler. I knew I had not shown love that morning to my son, that I had disobeyed the majority of that passage. I realized that my “I love you” meant nothing because I hadn’t done it. I resolved within my heart that I would change.

Out of the mouths of babes…

Pros and Cons of Family-Integrated Churches

Sunday, July 4th, 2010


I am ashamed to admit that this morning I was so furious that I gathered my children and left in the middle of the church service. I’ve never done that before because I love church with all my heart and soul. But today I just didn’t have the energy to clock in all the work that was required in a family-integrated church. My husband wasn’t there because he was in the Czech Republic on a missions trip, so that also factored in.

Don’t get me wrong. The vast majority of the time, my children are completely silent and perfect. It’s true. I sometimes forget that they’re even there as I listen to the church sermon. (A family-integrated church has no Sunday school for the children, so the children sit with their parents during the entire church service.)

The fact that my children are completely self-controlled for an hour and a half is a miracle in itself if you understood the energetic nature of my children. This is one of the benefits of family-integrated churches. If the children can be completely silent and self-controlled for a full hour and a half during a church service, they are capable of being self-controlled in any circumstance. It is a good character quality to have at any age.

Another benefit of having a family-integrated church is that there is no negative peer pressure. Peer age segregation that happens in the schools is one reason many people homeschool their children. Sunday schools, and especially youth groups, have worldly conversation, and most youth groups have teenagers who are sleeping around, smoking, and rebellious to parents. The attitudes rub off on the other teenagers, who are then no better off than if they had gone to school.

Families also learn from the same passage in Scripture. There is a more mature message, and if your children are truly saved, many of them can have steak to eat spiritually instead of watery milk that is served in many Sunday schools.

Then there is the fact that many Sunday school teachers aren’t screened very well. I’m not just talking about sexual molestation. (This actually happened at one church I attended.) I’m also talking about the fact that most teachers don’t know the Word of God at a level where they should be teaching.

For example, when I was a child, my Sunday school teacher told me that Jesus sinned when He didn’t go with His parents when He was twelve. (He was at the temple instead.) The teacher told me this was the only time Jesus ever sinned. At the time I knew this was ludicrous, but I respected authority and didn’t speak up. I think I might have been six years old at the time. Nobody cares who teaches your children. Since they’re not paid, a church is happy if someone (anyone) volunteers.

So I find myself in a family-integrated church, and I’m really grateful, and I love all the people here so deeply. But sometimes I find myself wishing for a break, where I can be completely refreshed because I have no responsibilities next to me. I get so much more out of the sermon when my children are sick at home. (My spouse and I take turns going to church if the children are sick). And even though I teach my children the Bible at home, I find myself wishing that the children could learn a Bible lesson on their own level instead of being forced to sit through a boring (because it is above-their-heads) sermon that goes on and on (since time is perceived differently with young children).

It’s possible that if children sit through so many tiresome sermons, it might be ingrained in their minds that they never want to go to church again when they are out on their own. Why endure that when it can be avoided? So their love for church might not endure in such circumstances. I always try to alleviate this problem by allowing the children to have clipboards with paper and a pencil so that they can doodle, and the time goes by faster. For my toddlers and preschoolers, I always had a bag of goodies that included crayons, a small coloring book, picture books about God, and a story Bible.

So what happened this morning? My sons got the giggles. They were distracting people away from the sermon. Something they were drawing was hilarious. I saw it, and if we were at home, I would have laughed, too. The drawing was of a camping scene with lots of mayhem happening. But my boys just wouldn’t stop laughing. Another son started drawing a hilarious camping scene also, and I calmly took away his clipboard. That son burst into tears because he wasn’t finished with the drawing. I whispered for him to stop crying, but he cried on and on. People were looking over at us, wondering what on earth was going on. I finally was so exhausted by trying to control my children that I whispered that we were leaving. We all walked out.

Out in the car, I’m ashamed to say that I yelled at my children. “I must have poked you 10 times,” I said to one son. “If I poke you once, that means you are doing something wrong. 10 times?! Really?! And you,” I turned to another son, “I know that your pencil broke. You don’t have to keep showing me over and over. You are old enough to listen to the sermon. If the pencil is broken, it’s broken. And you,” I said to my smallest son, “How come you wouldn’t stop crying? This is just ridiculous!! Everyone is taking a nap when we get home. And it’s not over until I say so!”

When we pulled into the driveway, I was fully aware that I had sinned and was ruled by my flesh and not the Spirit. If I wasn’t clued in, I should have noticed when the kids were wailing. I asked God to forgive me. I felt remorse. I had commended my daughter, who had done a good job during the sermon. As the children changed out of their church clothes, I went to each of my sons, one by one, to ask forgiveness. Each of them said they were sorry for the way they had acted. We hugged.

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