…I wonder

Old Yeller (TFM #9)

Old YellerThe Fighting Man (Part 9)

Not the dog… Us! Do we yell? What is the effect of yelling or shouting in anger? Does it accomplish anything? Are we easily irritated? Do we get angry a little too often?

Let’s take a look at it.

Explosive anger does accomplish some things. Supposedly it releases the pressure that has mounted up in you for some infraction committed. But in actuality, once you get going it seems to propel the emotion further until you are angrier than when you first started. It also helps your blood pressure to increase, which might not be a healthy physical reaction. The other thing it accomplishes is the closing of a door. And I don’t mean the slamming of a door. What door? I’ll explain.

Let’s start with the basic emotion of anger. Is anger an okay emotion to feel? Absolutely! Anger is a healthy emotion that God blessed us with. God got angry with the Israelites when they continued to rebel against Him. I read many times in the Old Testament when the Lord’s anger burned against them.

Jesus got angry also. He was angry with the Pharisees when they carefully watched Jesus to see if He would heal the man with a shriveled hand on the Sabbath. He was angry with the money changers at the Temple. How did He handle His anger?

In the first scene, He handled it this way:

Mark 3:5 NIV He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored.

He was angry with the Pharisees, so He healed the man’s hand. He did it knowing full well that they were waiting to see if He would do it on the Sabbath, thus accusing Him of “working” on this sacred day.

In the second scene, He went about it this way:

John 2:14-16 NIV 14In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!”

How did Jesus handle His anger then? In a very controlled, methodical manner. He took the time to make a whip first, then He went about cleaning house! He knew exactly what He was doing when He overturned the tables and chased the animals out. He was not out of control.

The Biggest Loss to Uncontrollable Anger

Ephesians 4:26 “In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.

When in our anger we lose control and yell, and even possibly get physical, we have just lost. We’ve lost the ability to reach the other person’s heart. We’ve lost the ability to learn. We’ve lost the ability to grow in the relationship with the other person. We’ve lost the ability to teach. WE’VE LOST.

As soon as you raise your voice, the other person shuts the door to their heart. They are no longer listening, they are in “defense” mode. Nothing gets accomplished except more anger. And sadly, the teaching moment that was most needed is lost.

If you are trying to teach your children by yelling, your children are not listening! They are growing roots of rebellion, anger, hardness, and bitterness; they are losing that feeling of love. They are also getting desensitized to your raised voice, and when you really need it, it won’t be effective.

How do I know? I saw it myself in my own children. I used to lose control and yell, too. I could see my children’s eyes flash in either anger or fear. Either way, nothing was taught and our relationship was damaged. I could not effectively reach them.

It’s A Relay Race

Anger likes to keep moving, it won’t stay put! Once you’ve handed it off to someone, they will hand it off to somebody else.

I remember once Pete yelled at Erin. Later, with anger simmering in her heart, she yelled at Preston. Preston picked up on the mood and was walking around grumbling. Within a little while, Preston disrespected me and I, tired already from having to deal with these issues, yelled at all three of them, and sent them to their rooms! Then I had a very good cry. LOL!

When I am yelled at, I can feel anger simmering underneath the surface. It only takes a minor infraction to then set me off on someone else! Unless, I overcome that anger by taking the steps described in the article And Now I Must Forgive.

It Affects Their Love

A young boy (we’ll call him Jeremy) came to my home once and told me that it was tough at his house. He was clearly broken-hearted and he didn’t want to live there any more.

From what I gathered, a rule had been made and that rule got broken by a guest. When Jeremy tried to correct the infraction by reminding the guest of the rule, he got yelled at by his mom and dad. The visitor got to break the rule at the expense of this young boy getting chewed out.

Jeremy went on to tell me about his mother’s treatment of him – it seems like she is always mad at him, and he is constantly getting into trouble. In her eyes, he can do no right. He said that, while sitting right there with him, she speaks bad about him to his father and the father allows it.

What it the result of all this criticism, anger and yelling towards him?

Well, my little friend summed it up quite nicely when in tears, he said, “I’m not feeling much love towards my Mom or my Dad right now and I don’t like to feel that way. Can you pray with me?”

We talked about forgiveness, but he really struggled with forgiving them.

What’s the Answer?

First You…

1. Step back. If your child has disobeyed or broken a rule, and you find yourself extremely angry, send them to their room immediately. But do so in a calm tone of voice, “You need to be disciplined, go to your room until I get there.”

2. Get on your knees; you need God’s help. Pray for His Wisdom in the situation. Never discipline your child without first talking to the Father. He wants both of you to succeed, so use Him. If needed, open the scriptures and go in armed. And never walk in the room when you find yourself so angry that you may raise your voice.

Remember, a raised voice will close all door of communication to that child’s heart. You may make them feel repentant by yelling, but I promise you that constant yelling will close off all feelings of love and respect that they may have towards you. In addition, you have begun a cycle that will affect future generations.

There’s a reason that God says:

Ephesians 6:4 Amplified Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord.

When you plant a seed in early spring to be transplanted later, you must carefully nourish that delicate plant. You cannot be harsh with it by putting it out in the cold, or transplanting before it’s tall enough to withstand the harsher weather outside. They are young, tender plants that need to be nurtured, and carefully taken care of until they are strong plants with a firm trunk that can withstand whatever the outside has to throw at it.

In the same way, our children are to be reared tenderly “in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord.”

3. While you are on your knees, ask God if you are being unreasonable. Are your expectations too high? Are you wanting perfection out of your child? Are you expecting her to reason like an adult? Have you stepped back and looked at the developmental stage he is currently in? Could your child be hungry? Tired?

Ecclesiastes 7:9 Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.

4. Think of a suitable punishment that matches the crime. A family I know saw their son being too rough on a girl that he was wrestling with, leaving her in tears. Their punishment was that this boy needed to do acts of service for this girl after apologizing to her. That was a great way to teach him that the way we treat people is with love, and not with physical violence.

…Now Them

1. You are calm.

Proverbs 29:11 A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.

2. You have the Lord with you, and the benefit of His Wise Counsel.

John 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard…

3. You are armed with scripture – nothing talks to the heart more than The Word. I can give my opinion until I’m blue in the face and see just a little result, but when the Word is used, things really happen.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

4. You use love to discipline. Let your child know that you love him and you want him to succeed in life; his behavior will affect his future. I prefer to use the following scripture.

Ephesians 6:1-3 NLT 1 Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. 2 “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: 3 If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”

Powerful Words there! I let my child know that I love them so much that I want them to have a long life, and a good life.

5. Reason with your child. Talk but then listen. Find out more about why they behaved that way. Try to dig deeper and read between the lines. Keep Ephesians 6:4 in mind as you reason with your child:

“but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord.”

You are training them.

You are disciplining them. (For more on discipline see the article: A Discipline Moment located at Kids-Faith)

You are counseling them.

You are admonishing them in the Lord.

6. End it with a prayer, forgive them, hug, rejoice. You have just done the Lord’s work!

What is my success rate in dealing with anger this way? 100% success. I have never yet, Praise the Lord, left a child’s room without leaving them in tears and repentant. But more importantly, I have never left them without their hearts changed. Why? Because I did not go in on my own strength. I relied on the Lord for everything!

Younger Kids

Toddlers are a different creature altogether. I first take my steps in dealing with my anger as described above, quickly and on the fly. I have a prayer in my heart, I’m aware of the developmental stage they are in, and I’m asking God for His Wisdom.

If they are tired, I lay down with them. If they are hungry, I feed them. If it’s just a regular old temper tantrum, I hold them… and hold them…. and hold them… until they are in control again. Then we have a chat about it.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit will prompt me to do something out of the ordinary. When a child is yelling, God has told me to get down to their level and say, “I know how you feel.” Or tell them something that I admire about them. Or just hug them and tell them that I love them.

If there is a behavior that I want changed, then I sit them in the POWER Chair. It’s a little chair with a star on it. I tell them they have the POWER to obey their mom or the POWER to exhibit a certain behavior. I sit them in this chair until they get their POWER.

This is a very positive way to deal with unwanted behaviors.

When my two year old grandson displays his little tantrums, I laugh because it’s so darn cute and so consistent with the age he is in. He looks at me and smiles, then laughs and it’s over. But the other day it did not work. So I calmly picked him up and put him in his car seat, all the while talking gently and lovingly with him. I won. 🙂

Not Just for Kids

This applies to all of my relationships.

A few months ago, I had to deal with a very difficult adult, whose explosive anger and emotional manipulations were very evident. By handling the situation without anger or fighting back, a seed was planted. Stay tuned for The Planting of a Seed. In the meantime, check out the results of Three Battles.

Psalm 86:15 But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

Let us walk in the footsteps of our Lord – God bless you with His Wisdom!

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