Some of you know that we obtained a dog, who is two years old, house trained, and generally a sweet, well-tempered dog. She’s not perfect. She has a bad habit of chewing up stuffed animals and blocks, pencils and crayons. She’s been sitting next to the school table, ready to catch anything that drops. If it gets in her mouth, it takes only a second for a pencil or crayon to be ruined.
She’s also energetic, which means that when she wants to play she nips at people’s feet.
Lately, I heard myself yelling at the dog. It didn’t do any good, but then I was convicted about my anger.
Was my anger at the dog sinful?
She doesn’t have a sin nature, so I cannot justify my anger as righteous anger, anger against that which displeases God. Moreover, there’s no social reason to withhold or hide anger at an animal, really, so I was able to see my unrestrained anger for what it was.
My conclusion is that I was sinning when I yelled at the dog. I was revealing my anger when she didn’t do what I wanted her to do (regardless that she was acting within her nature, and regardless that my anger did nothing to help the situation).
When I’m angry at my children, I am much better at justifying it, renaming it, giving excuses, and so on. I might deceive myself into thinking I’m angry because they’re disobedient, because they’re offending a holy God.
From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. James 4:1-10
Note: Lee’s Grandma Brock passed away (this was not unexpected), and we’ll be traveling to the funeral this weekend. I’ll resume posting next Tuesday. Keep in the Word, and pray that I’ll do the same!