Kicking the anger can a little further down the road, I thought I’d write something about where this anger comes from in the first place. I doubt any of us gets up in the morning hoping to get angry at someone, especially someone near and dear to us.
The Bible is very clear about where our words come from: they come straight up from our hearts. So if something nasty comes out of our mouths, then our hearts have got some nastiness in them. No way to dodge this. In Matthew 12:4, Jesus says, “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” And again in Luke 6:45, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil; for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”
Now how can a sweet Christian woman get angry and say “evil” things to her children? Does that mean she has “evil” in her heart? Unfortunately, that’s what it means. We all have evil in our hearts. No one is good. So we all need gospel grace day in and day out.
Here are a couple of suggestions Think about when you are most likely to be tempted to be angry. Is it when the kids first get up in the morning? Then pray before you go to bed that you will be full of goodness and light at the breakfast table. Is it during nap time? Then pray ahead of time that you will not get angry during nap time. Expect to be tested, and be prepared. When you put the kids down for their naps, then pray, asking God to help you be obedient to Him, cheerfully correcting the children if they need it. It is entirely possible to correct with a mouth of goodness. So I’m recommending what I call preventative prayer.
But what about the times when you are blindsided? You were going along merrily and wham! you got hit by the unexpected and reacted badly. If this happens regularly, then ask God to open your eyes so you don’t have a blind side. Pray for a warning sign so you see it coming. Then expect a test and be ready for it.
If you have ongoing anger toward one person in particular, then it’s likely there may be some unconfessed bitterness and resentment toward that person, big or little, young or old. We get resentful over some of the dumbest things. Deal with the bitterness that is lodging in your heart. It’s poisoning everything! It feeds anger and needs anger.
Don’t take your children’s misbehavior personally. Don’t get into an adversarial relationship with your children. You are the mother; you are in authority over them. Don’t get your feelings hurt when they don’t listen or when they disobey. They are children! That’s what children do!
If we want wise tongues, we need wise hearts. Here are a few ways to get there.
1. Don’t be wise in your own eyes (Prov. 3:7). You may be wrong, incorrect, mistaken. Admit it.
2. Heed God’s Word. When you hear it or read it, do it. Apply it. (Prov. 16:20).
3. Be teachable (Prov. 10:8). Don’t assume you have nothing to learn.
4. Receive correction yourself (Prov. 10:17). Even when you don’t like the way the correction comes.
5. Seek knowledge and store it up (Prov. 15:14 and 10:14).
6. Let your heart be taught first, and it will teach your mouth (Prov. 16:23).
7. Don’t fake love (Prov. 10:18). Ask God for supernatural love; don’t rely on your own supply of human, fallible love.
8. Don’t talk too much. Weigh your words! (Prov. 10:19)
9. Feed people (build them up) with your mouth, and you will be fed yourself (Prov. 13:2).
10. Guard your mouth (Prov. 13:3). Pray with the psalmist: “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, and keep the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3