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Parenting Moment: Anger & Compassion


Not again. They know better!

Kids have a way of pushing buttons over and over again. Sometimes they do it accidentally, and other times quite deliberately.

But how do we respond? We might feel justified in being angry—after all, our child is breaking the rule and disobeying…yet again. The problem is, we’re not just lovingly worried for them and their sin; we’re also angry at how it affects us. We have to stay up late, be late, deal with a mess, etc. Our self-focus can lead to a wrong kind of anger.

It’s all-to-easy to fall into sin patterns ourselves, raising our voices, exasperating our children, etc. When we do, we’re not modeling Godly responses ourselves.

I’ve just finished reading Controlling Anger: Responding Constructively When Life Goes Wrong by David Powlison. In it, he points out that sinful anger is connected with pride.

Acting as if you are God—pride—is the beating heart of what it means to be a sinner. This insight into anger is hugely freeing and very sobering. Anger going wrong testifies to our pride.

David Powlison

While there is a godly anger at sin, there’s also an ungodly one that’s us wanting to control the world—to be in charge. If we’re honest, how much of our anger at our children’s behavior is because it goes against our plans?

What would it look like if we followed Colossians and put anger to death, instead putting on compassion, humility, love, peace, and thankfulness? Perhaps, when we feel the urge to yell, we could take a deep breath and choose humility, recognizing that God is over everything and has allowed this to mess up our plans. We can surrender to Him. We can thank God for how very patient He’s been with our sin. We can beg Him to give us the same compassionate heart through which He sees us. We can do it today…and tomorrow…and the next day. We need Christ every day.

“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you…now you must put them all away: anger…Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…above all these put on love…let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…be thankful.”
Colossians 3:5,8,12-15 (ESV)
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