I’m writing about anger. Ho hum. There is a lot out there on that topic. Yes, there are numerous articles, books, blogs, and counselors doing a far better job of plumbing the depths of anger. They’ll help you to see how it’s really a surface sin and that you need to get to the root level sin. I completely agree and affirm that they are of better value. But in the meantime, I just wanted to give an exhortation on the side to men like myself in one specific area.
Simple point – get angry; lose credibility.
I’ve talked with many men over the years and heard their stories as dads and husbands. I’m also finally starting to hear the message from my own wife and children – I hope I’m listening well. We tend to have this misconception from somewhere that getting mad when we’ve been offended or have not been respected demands a response where anger serves as the exclamation point. But that’s just the point. That exclamation point means essentially 2 things: 1) Children can have their way until Dad gets angry, or close to it. Until then, he doesn’t really mean it. 2) Our lack of self-control results in a huge lack of credibility with our family, especially our wives. It’s not a reflection of strength; it’s weakness, and causes them to respect us less.
Women so often desire a few things in the home – peace and security being among those. When men, who are the ones who should be seeking to provide that, provide the opposite, we become “another child” whom the wife is now appointed to parent. This complete role reversal and abdication of responsibility can be very difficult to overcome.
The good news is that hope certainly is not lost. Our Lord Jesus stands before us both as the perfect example and the perfect justification. As the perfect example, He is the picture of humility. The one who had every right and power to respond from the cross “We’ll see how you like being mocked when you’re in hell!” instead “reviled them not.” More than our example, he is also our justification. Our anger so often results from a desire to be justified – i.e., “I am so angry about this issue and my anger at you is my attempt at justifying that YOU are the problem.” No. As GK Chesterton said, “I am” the problem. Christ is my only hope for justification.
With any sin, there is a need for put off and put on. Put off the anger. Put on and embrace and care for the ones provided to us to shepherd.