I have two stories on anger today.
Yesterday I was attempting to troubleshoot our computer, so I could print out a bird template for my scissor-happy children. It was moving extraordinarily slow, and I had already bypassed the “safe boot” once in hopes that a simple solution would suffice. David casually walked up and punched the reset button (as he had seen his father and mother do a number of times before), not what I wanted, to say the least. I yelled, and David and Bethel scattered. From the hallway, David asked in a small voice, Mom, are you mad at me? I took a deep breath. Answering yes means a lot. Was I angry, at that moment? Was I merely irritated or frustrated, making my response of no sinful matter? While I was thinking, Bethel answered for him, Yes, she is. God worked in my heart and I gathered my little boy in my arms and told him, Yes. Mommy was angry, but I do not wish to be controlled by anger. Man’s anger does not work the righteousness of God (James 1:20). Will you forgive me? He did, and we made it right.
Later, I found a Christmas tree ornament on the floor, far away from the tree. Now, baby is still learning about the Christmas tree. I’m still teaching her about it (interpretation: no consequences other than redirection at this point). But our almost three year old knows very well not to play with the ornaments. She’s been told it is an obedience offense multiple times, and I’ve even explained why I don’t want them touching the tree. I asked Bethel about the ornament. After some brief questioning, she admitted that she had disobeyed and played with it. So I spanked her. As I was holding her, she asked me the same question David had, Are you mad at me?
Now, I’ve disciplined in anger before, but I am so thankful I was able to answer truthfully, No, Bethel. Mommy is not angry with you at all. Mommy wants to help you understand that obeying God is the most important lesson for you to learn. God tells Mommy I must teach you to obey. [Note: I do not say “spank”.] When you do not obey God, you are not safe. Mommy wants you to remember to obey so you will be safe.
I’ve disciplined in anger enough to realize that it is God’s grace when I do not. I need God’s strength and power to discipline calmly and lovingly. I must be in God’s Word, and searching for wisdom that is essential in determining when and how to administer consequences for misbehavior.