Guess what???? A new round of Blogging Through the Alphabet has began and I can’t wait to write again – it gives me something when, I’m drawing a blank or if I’m so behind on reviews I need to break those up (which has happened a lot lately) so it’s with great pleasure I write about “A”
A is for Abstaining from Anger (thank you to my Facebook friend Amy A.)
I don’t know why lately but it seems as if my children, specifically my 7 and 9 year old are fighting constantly. Not just arguing. But hurting each other, one will pinch, the other will hit, one will bit the other will throw something…..my 11 year old just tends to yell (yep, wonder where she gets that from 😦 )
I’m going crazy, or feel like it – there are days where it is a struggle to get school done, to clean the house or even get out of the house to go to the store – because I’m tired of refereeing. I’ve spanked, I’ve done time out, I’ve yelled, I’ve taken away privileges, dance and martial arts, favorite toys, they’ve lost Wii, computer time and all electronics. I’ve even threatened to put them both in public school, but then I realize I will just have to deal with the pent up energy AND the fighting when they get home.
It’s making me angry…….I find myself in their faces, yelling, and them with a scared and terrified look on their faces. I don’t want them to be scared of me, but I guess if it looked like a demon was coming out at me I’d be scared to. What I want is peace, what I want is my throat not to hurt at night because I’ve yelled so much during the day and what I want is when I’m gone that my children will get along and be able to rely on each – unlike how my husband’s and I’s family is.
Merriam-Webster defines Abstain as:
to refrain deliberately and often with an effort of self-denial from an action or practice
and anger as:
: filled with anger : having a strong feeling of being upset or annoyed
: showing anger
: seeming to show anger : threatening or menacing
If Merriam-Webster’s definition isn’t convicting enough I have to go to the source of everything, the Holy Bible. If we look at I Thessalonians 5:22 (ESV) which says “Abstain from every form of evil.” Is anger evil? I’ll look at that in a moment. Then there is 1 Peter 2:11 which says, “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.” Am I a sojourner? Yes, I’m only passing through this world until I go Home to my mansion. Is anger a passion of the flesh? I’ll look at that as well in a moment. Of course, there are many more references to abstaining from things in the Bible such as foods sacrificed to idols, sexual immorality and more but just from these two verses anything that is evil or that is waging war in our souls should be abstained from.
Galatians 5:18-21 says “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Then there is Ephesians 6:4 which says fathers to not provoke their children to anger but that easily goes for mother’s as well. Ephesians 4:26-27 says, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” Then there is James 1:19-20 that says, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce righteousness of God.“
As I asked above, is anger evil? I must say yes – we can see from reading Scripture that anger is a fleshly passion, and we must die to our flesh daily. Anger does not bear good fruit, usually anger moves people to murder, to destroy, and produces more anger, it’s like a cancer, spreading and spreading and never truly being cut out and removed. Of course there is a righteous anger – anger beacuse of the innocents slaughtered before they have a chance to enter the world, anger at abuses of governmental powers, even anger when a loved one dies – it’s what we do with that anger. All too often my anger is not righteous – it is from Satan himself who is seeking to destroy that which I so long for in my family and house, he wants to destroy peace, he wants to destroy godliness, he wants my soul, my children’s soul, my husband’s soul.
Anger not only poisons those around us but it poison us from the inside – how do you feel when you’re angry? I know I feel hot, out of control and mean – is that the fruit that the Lord would want us to bear? Let me be clear – being angry at the dog using the bathroom on the floor isn’t a sin or evil. Being angry because your children are fighting for the 1,000th time today isn’t sin or evil. It’s what you do with that anger that is the evil, that is the sin. I’m just as guilty – I was thinking today what would I think of myself if I could see myself in a mirror in a fit of rage, yelling at my children, ready to spank? I don’t think I want to see that!
I want to be a peaceful mom, I want to be the mom that when I raise my hand my child doesn’t shrink in fear (one reason why I hate spanking, but it did work for my oldest), I want to be the mom whose child loves to be with them without wondering if mom is going to turn into the ‘screamin’ demon’ at the drop of the hat or a cup of milk. I don’t have it all figured out but I do know that if let Him and give Him the reigns and really take James 1:19-20 to heart and be slow to speak (do I need to address the issue right now? obviously if hitting or pinching is going on, yes but a spilled cup of milk?), quick to hear (listen to their side of the story without interrupting), and slow to anger (count to 10? or 100?) then maybe our house and I can be more peaceful.
I want the righteousness of the Lord – I want my children, my husband and others to see God through me – His love and His grace exuding through my life, they can’t see that and neither can the Lord if all they see is anger. Trust me, even if you have a smile on your face you can still exude anger – and of course, the Lord can see us, the real us – inside and out. No matter how many books I read on how to parent, no matter how many Bible studies one does, no matter how many friends offering parental support, no matter how many times I try to stop the fighting – it won’t matter, it won’t matter because God isn’t there. Yes that may be a Christian parenting book, yes it may be a Christian friend, yes it’s a Christian Bible study – but those are all things on the outside. Unless you and I take what God is offering and we let Him work on the inside out, on our hearts and our brains, letting His Word sink in, basking in talking with Him and knowing that we are His Beloved, then it won’t matter. It will all be for moot. I want to pass on a godly heritage to my children, not a Baptist, not a Catholic, not an Anabaptist but a truly godly, Biblical heritage to my children and the only way I can do that is to let God do His work in me.
(c) 2013, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws