ANGER: how?

repost 05.11.11

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.


Last week we discussed the Biblical view that anger is more than simply an unfortunate response to external circumstances, but is actually a sin rooted in the heart. As disciples of Jesus Christ we orient our thinking around the truths presented in the Word of God.

The world’s studies in psychology and psychiatry can only offer us Band-Aids, not cures for what ails us deep inside. They can only give us strategies to control the angry behavior we encounter in our children.

And that’s not all bad! Sometimes I need a Band-Aid for a while to protect the wound while I am healing.  But none of these methods will create lasting change in the heart.

I know that you wish I would give you an easy 1-2-3 plan right here and now. Do these three things and all those temper tantrums will disappear in less than 10 days! Guaranteed or your money back!

But I can’t and I won’t. Sin has no easy solutions.

However, there is one man who learned to tame his temper. Like the rest of us, he had to learn the hard way. And like some of your children, he had a reputation for volatility. In fact, Jesus, in that appealing way of His, named this man’s sin by nicknaming him and his brother, Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder,[1] a not-so-subtle reference to their tendency towards ferocious outbursts. Yet towards the end of his life, this same man was re-titled, the Apostle of Love.

How did that happen? Well, let’s take a look at what John himself had to say about sin entrenched in our hearts:

“If we say that we have no sin,

we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

If we confess our sins,

He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins

And to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

I John 1:8,9


Do you hear that? John’s sin of intense anger was overcome by this ridiculously simple “method”.

Here’s what happened:

  1. He acknowledged his sin. No covering up or excusing it or blaming it on others. He was honest about the sin that defined him.
  2. He confessed his sin. First of all to God, but then to those he had blasted with his tongue. James 5:16 urges us to confess our sins to one another. David, when dying inside because of his sexual sin, wrote:

“I acknowledged my sin to Thee, and my iniquity I did not hide;

I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”;

And Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin.”

Psalm 32:5

  1. God forgave his sin. Right then and there. No penance, no shame. The Greek word’s more thorough definition has to do with letting go of the power of sin. It involves liberating a person from the vice grip of sin.
  2. God cleansed him of his sin. He freed him from the residual filth of his anger.


This is about as straightforward as it gets. By helping your child to acknowledge and name his sin of anger, and then to confess it to the Lord and whomever he lashed out at, he will be both forgiven and freed. Every time.

Easy? Not on your life. But simple- absolutely. Even a 2 year old can understand this.

And so can you.

From my heart,


P.S. Next week I’ll share with you the steps of discipline we took when dealing with our children’s anger in order to help them arrive at this place of repentance.

[1] Mark 3:17