Monday, April 26, 2010

Anger "Management," Part One

As I read through DMMCTT a couple weeks ago, I had to admit, finally, that I was becoming an angry mother.
I know, I know.  It's a strong word, angry.  And for a few weeks I used many other terms that didn't sound so ugly. 
I was frustratedIrritableImpatient
These terms are far more comfortable to use, aren't they? 

But we need to challenge ourselves to say things the way God says them.  And according to His Word, I was often just plain ol' angry with my children--scolding them, disciplining them without spending the time required to train them properly, raising my voice, using a biting tone, desiring that they "suffer" for their behavior, and so on.
(All you people who are on a Keepin'-It-Real kick
should be loving this!)
So I began to study anger in my quiet time. 

I'm so glad to report that the Lord is doing a work in my heart, friends!  "Anger Management" is an incorrect title, however; I find it impossible to manage or control my anger.  It's always my anger managing me! 
May I share some of the lessons I'm learning?

What is Anger?
The Bible uses two main words for this deeply-rooted problem:  anger and wrath.  According to Webster, anger comes from the Latin word angere, meaning "to strangle."  (gulp!)  It's described as "a strong feeling of displeasure and usually of antagonism." 

Wrath is even nastier.  It means "strong, vengeful anger; intensely angry, retributory punishment."
As I considered the definitions of wrath and anger, I had to admit that, too often, these were precisely the issues of my heart.  
Anger:  Case Study I      Cain, Genesis 4
The Background
Cain & Abel, 2 brothers, each offered a sacrifice to the Lord.  Abel's sacrifice pleased God; Cain's did not.  The Scriptures aren't specific as to why this is--perhaps it was the mode of sacrifice, or maybe the motive behind it.  Regardless, verse 5 tells us that "unto Cain and to his offering [God] had not respect." 

And Cain got angry. 

The Heart Issue
Cain was angry because someone else (Abel) got the respect and approval which he felt he deserved.  Sound familiar?  Cain's heart issue was envy.  Evidently, Cain truly expected God to approve of his unacceptable offering... and then he became angry when God didn't!  To make matters worse, Abel's offering was firmly stamped, "APPROVED!"  Cain had to have known the requirements for sacrifice, and yet he still believed he could impress God with his false or incorrect worship.  When his plans were foiled, he let his envy toward Abel fester and grow.

The (Attempt at) Resolution
What a merciful and gracious God we serve!  God tried to draw out Cain's angry, envious heart in verses 6 & 7.  He gave Cain the opportunity to right his wrong and try again.  But Cain refused. 

The Result of Envious Anger
What an unnecessarily tragic ending--only four chapters into the Scriptures, and we read of the first murder.  Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.  As a result, God placed a curse on Cain and his descendants.  Proverbs 19:19 reads, "A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment..."  And oh, how Cain suffered!

Oh Lord, give me the grace to overcome the stronghold of anger!


Stacey said...

What a great lesson. Thank you for sharing and being so transparent.

Praying for you.

Living At Choice said...

Great post...thanks for sharing it.