This week the blog is sponsored by The Disciple-Making Parent and the post is written by Chap Bettis. Chap has just released a video-driven Bible study entitled Parenting with Patience and is offering the videos for free to readers of this blog. See details at the bottom of this article.
You lost it, you’re furious, and you feel like a total failure. You yelled, slammed the door, or hit the table. Then the shame and guilt set in. “These are my precious children. What am I thinking? What can I do?”
Anger and parenting.
Nothing reveals our sin like our own children. God has uniquely designed our children to shine a floodlight on the true state of our hearts. And at times, it is not pretty. We use words with an intensity that can surprise and even frighten us.
You might have thought of yourself as pretty patient person—until you started having children. I know I did. I remember thinking, “Wait, God commands me not to exasperate them? Shouldn’t that be his command for them?”
Living the Gospel at Home
I knew I wanted my children to follow the Lord as adults. And I also knew that the number-one reason young people walk away from the faith was because of hypocrisy they perceived in their parents or spiritual leaders.
Although I wanted to be a Disciple-Making Parent, anger was destroying my witness in front of my children.
This realization made me resolve to get to the bottom of this sinful response. By God’s grace, after searching the Scriptures in desperation to change, I found some help that allowed me to grow in patience.
The following three truths are meant for parents with anger in a normal range. They are not intended for a more abusive situation. For that, seek out help from spiritual and legal authorities in your life.
What were those three truths?
Understand What Anger Really Is
Dr. David Powlison’s definition of anger has helped me: “An active stance you take to oppose something you assess as important and wrong.” Note that anger is a response to something we believe is important and wrong.
This helps us understand one reason why God’s anger is righteous. He alone knows what is important and wrong. It also explains why my anger is usually sinful.
Understand Anger as Your Foe
Scripture is filled with commands that help us see how our anger is usually filled with sin. Sinful anger is actually described as miniature murder (Matt 5:21-22), it grieves the Spirit (Eph 4:30), and is driven by my flesh (Gal 5:20). Dr. Ed Welch has observed, “To be angry is to destroy.” My anger destroys the peace of my child, the trust of my child, and my testimony to her as a follower of Christ.
As a parent, it is easy to justify my anger as righteous and move on. Instead, I need to see sinful anger as a deadly foe. As John Owen observed, “Be killing sin or it will be killing you.”
But if that is the sum total of our thinking, we are setting ourselves up for failure.
Understand Anger as Your Friend
To grow in patience, we also need to see that anger can be a friend. To reference our definition again, it’s an indicator that something has happened that we experience as “important and wrong.”
Good parenting doesn’t occur in a placid Zen-like trance. A father who watches his teen son talk back to his mother and has no reaction reveals his own deficiency.
Rather than blowing up in the moment, we need to let that anger motivate us to ask, “What problem is this anger pointing me to? What is important? What is wrong? And what does God want me to do about it?”
This helps us understand James 4:1-2 more clearly. Sinful anger comes from our desires. But not all desires are sinful. There are good desires that we have as parents. Our daughter should obey us. Our son should have done his homework. Wise parents will let an upset motivate them to come up with a solution to the problem.
Do you see how these truths can help you overcome anger and grow in patience? Do you want to go deeper into this material?
Parenting with Patience Video Bible Study
Parenting with Patience is a 5-week, video-driven Bible study designed to help you dig deeper into these scriptural truths and help you change.
In this study you will discover:
- Foundational biblical teaching to understand what drives your anger.
- How anger is both a friend and a foe, and how it will motivate you to change.
- Seven parenting principles to help you see your situation differently.
- An anger journal template that will you toward real changes in your behavior.
- Twenty-five devotional studies to help you dig deeply into God’s Word.
- Online streaming videos to help you understand this vital subject.
The study and the videos are perfect for individual study at home or small groups. Click here to watch a sample video.
To help you out during this stressful time, we are offering the videos for free when you purchase the Bible study workbook.
But act today. This offer ends May 31, 2020.
- Purchase the workbook from Amazon.
- Send my assistant your electronic receipt. We will send you the coupon code and you can immediately begin enjoying the videos.
- For those of you who live beyond the reach of Amazon, simply send us a request letting us know where you live.
Still want more information? Check out this page for sample videos and more details.
Until Jesus returns, our home life will be messy. Mine certainly was. But we can and should make progress in becoming like Jesus. Our children are sanctification machines, providentially sent by God. We can become more patient leaders in our homes.