You know, before I had kids I didn’t even really know what it felt like to get angry! Before I had kids, I was definitely an even-tempered, go-with-the-flow, laid back kind of girl. What other people did just didn’t affect me and I really didn’t get too stirred up about the circumstances in my life.
But then I had kids…
Who knew that milk spilled for the umpteenth time could make someone crazy? I never realized that constant questions, continual touching, repeated demands, and an assortment of weird and annoying noises could turn my “Don’t worry, be happy” self into a wild-eyed mess!
Have you been there? Are you surprised by the anger your children’s misbehavior can incite in your heart? Are you taken aback that those precious babies you brought home from the hospital can cause such intense emotions by simply being what they are… Children?
We’ve talked to so many parents who are dealing with the issue of anger in their homes. In fact, the level of irritation in their homes has become so normal to them that they don’t even realize just what an angry atmosphere they’re setting. Because issues, arguments, disobedience, and poor habits of communication have been left unresolved, their home is no longer a sanctuary, and sadly, at times feels like a prison.
What’s the answer? Well, thankfully the Word of God does not leave us floundering when it comes to dealing with the daily irritations of life and the anger those irritations can cause. As always, God knows our struggles and He provides a practical way to deal with those struggles, while at the same time bringing glory to Him.
The most well known verse in the scriptures when it comes to discussing anger is Ephesians 4:26. It says this:
“Be angry and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.”
Many of us heard this verse first during our pre-marital counseling. Now, when it comes to our marriages, we often strive to conscientiously apply this verse by dealing with any major marital conflicts before we go to bed. Although that’s a good, simple application of this verse, understanding the verse’s deeper meaning will help us to not only control our anger, but that understanding will also give us the tools we need to destroy anger’s impact in our homes. When we widen the scope of this verse to include our interactions with our children, their childishness will no longer have the power to cause us to sin through our anger.
In Ephesians 4:26, the word anger is used twice. Both times, the same Greek word is used to describe the type of anger that Paul is addressing in this scripture. The Greek word he chose is the word, “Perorgismos.” Perorgismos is defined as “mild irritation.”
In other words, this verse isn’t talking about those times that we lose our temper and erupt. It isn’t referring to yelling, or glaring in rage, or those circumstances that cause us to lose our cool. Instead, the verse, simply stated, says that when we are “mildly irritated,” we must not sin. In fact, we must deal with that mild irritation by not allowing the day to end without resolving whatever issue has caused the mild irritation.
Does that change how you think about this verse? Instead of waiting until our children’s misbehavior or simple childishness has incited us to anger, according to the Word of God, we are to quickly and effectively deal with the irritation. Then, when we are swift to handle mild irritations, we will never get to the point of ugly, out-of-control anger.
When we are committed in our hearts to pro-actively dealing with mild irritations as soon as they occur, instead of allowing them to accumulate into a pile of unresolved conflict, we will make our homes a place of peaceful resolution… NOT angry outbursts!
God certainly understands that we will face irritations in our parenting that have the potential to cause us to become angry. However, He has given us a way to ensure that those mild irritations and the anger that can ensue won’t take us down the destructive road of sin.
If we are carefully obedient to follow God’s instructions to deal with mild irritations before they become something more, we will reap the benefits of a peaceful family and the blessings of our understanding God!