On a sunny Wednesday I met my good friend at a local park where our kids could run and play in cool water fountains and on the playground. It’s a place that swarms with moms and their children all summer long; an escape from the house and a nice change of scenery for the kids.
I was there early, so I set up my chair underneath a small but shady tree. My children had already taken off splashing through the fountains, and I sat back in my chair and closed my eyes and was about to relax when:
“Get over here! What do you think you are doing!? I said ‘NO’ already and I guess I’m a robot because now I have to repeat myself! We’re leaving if you can’t just take ‘NO’ for an answer!”
Another mom, here with her two boys, storms across the grassy area in front of me shouting at her son, her words laced with profanities.
What can be done about it?
Now, most of us tend to behave ourselves in public. When our children act out or don’t follow instructions in public, we don’t act as we would behind closed doors because we don’t want to cause more of a scene, and quite frankly, we don’t want to come across to others as bad, impatient parents.
Though her behaviour was certainly not appropriate and there were definitely better ways to handle the situation, I couldn’t help but sympathize with this angry, frustrated mother. I recognize those exact same feelings and tendencies in myself on a daily basis, and though I maybe don’t yell profanity at my children, the feeling of everything inside of me welling up into ill-controlled anger is not totally unfamiliar to me. Why is this? What can be done about it?
Some more than others are born with an angry and impatient nature. The situations of life, whether it’s dealing with my children, spouse, or people at work, or when things simply don’t go my way cause this anger and impatience to rise up within me.
“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?” James 4:1.
Why do I get angry? Because my will is crossed. The way that I saw the situation playing out is not happening. My peace and quiet, my comfort was disrupted, and there it is, this gripping frustration at things not working out the way I wanted. It’s important to know that the way I react to situations is NEVER the fault of the others. My reaction is based completely on my own decision of how I will take it when others do or say things that bring up all the ugly that is in my nature.
Something in me needs to be dealt with
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in the time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19.
God’s word makes it clear that if I want to be a disciple and live a Godly life, this tendency in me needs to be dealt with. This is something that, from experience, I know I cannot do in my own strength. But there is a way!
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16.
Grace means help. If I acknowledge my weakness in this area and pray to Him for help, I can get strength from God to react differently, regardless of what tendencies or nature I was born with. By faith that He will help me and give me the strength I have asked for in His name, I no longer have to react in anger.
This is not to say I will not be tempted to it any longer. But when I believe in God’s word and make use of it faithfully, I can come to the point where the temptation to react in anger is no longer even a temptation. In it’s place will be peace and patience!
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control.” Galatians 5:22.
By walking in the Spirit (having a continual acknowledgement of my own wretched condition and actively pursuing grace from God to help me), these fruits of the Spirit can be my very own. I can be transformed from someone who is always on edge to someone who has peace and warmth toward those around me.