ANGER: when?

repost 04.27.11

For the past several weeks I have been getting a flood of questions about dealing with anger in our children. It seems that the more we look at this issue from a Biblical perspective, the more we need to relearn.

Much of what we have learned apart from the Scriptures has to do with either suppressing or excusing anger in our children. Yet the Bible does neither. For the next few weeks we are going to take a look into the Word of God to examine the Who, What, Why, When, Where, and How of dealing with anger in our children… and ourselves.

I would suggest that every mother/woman/parent take some time to look up the Scriptures quoted, perhaps writing them out on a 3x5 card, in order to readjust the way you think and feel and believe about the very real problem of anger.


When is it imperative and appropriate for a mother or father to deal with the anger that rises to the surface and spills out over into a child’s life and relationships?

Always. Every time. Every single time.

This is one of the few issues that come with a sort of no-tolerance clause attached. Remember the story of Moses? He was assigned by God to lead the nation of Israel out of their cruel bondage in Egypt into the Promised Land. He was a hero— a brave man and a fearless leader.  The Israelites should have trusted him after all they’d seen God do through him in convincing Pharaoh to let them go. Instead, they grumbled and complained and balked at every instruction he gave them.

Sound a little like your two year old? Or your teenager?

Moses finally got fed up when he returned from his holy encounter with God on top of Mt. Sinai, that tablet of Ten Commandments tucked under his arm. As he walked down the mountain, the repulsive sight of his redeemed people worshipping a golden calf shocked him. They had melted all the gold that God had provided for them in order to do the one thing He’d entreated them never to do: prostitute themselves to a man-made idol.

When Moses saw how angry God became at their sin he begged the Lord to hold off from wiping them out for the sake of His own reputation amongst the nations.

“So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said he would do to His people.”

Moses’ intervention actually changed God’s mind!

When Moses realized that God had actually stayed His hand of punishment, he sang this song:

“The Lord, the Lord God,

compassionate and gracious,

slow to anger,

and abounding in lovingkindness and truth;

who keeps lovingkindness for thousands,

who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin…

and Moses made hast to bow low toward the earth and worship.”

Exodus 34:6,7,8

Yet with all that, Moses later lost his temper with the people when yet one more time they grumbled and complained and tested him sorely.  In one grand display of anger, Moses cut himself off from God’s blessing and cut himself out of the Promised Land by slamming his staff against the rock, calling the Israelites “you rebels[1]”, and lambasting them for their stubbornness. Rather than excuse him, God permanently banned him from entering the place he had spent all those years leading his people to. Because of his sin he was destined to die alone on a mountaintop just within sight of his dream.

God takes anger seriously.

He doesn’t excuse it.

He never ignores it.

He always disciplines it.


And that’s a lot to think about.

From my heart,


[1]See how seriously God takes name calling in Matthew 5:21,22