"A" is for A Soft Answer
I am working through the alphabet in Bible verses with our sons and it should not amaze me how the simple truths that I am teaching them are so rich and applicable to me.
The verse that God keeps bringing back to me over and over is letter “A” - “A soft answer turns anger away.” Sometimes I find myself reminding the boys that if they are nice to one another, it keeps them from getting angry and fighting, which is no fun at all! However, much more often, I remind myself that if I am gentle in my approach with my children, I will not provoke them to anger, leaving us in an even bigger and very unpleasant battle.
Ephesians 6 : 4 says,
“Fathers [and Mothers], do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
There is a place for righteous anger and certainly discipline but, I feel quite sure that it is not usually provoked by the inability to find clean socks as we are trying to run out the door already 5 minutes late or because the dog got into the trash again, really!?
You can be mad, but you can't be mean!
I want the boys to understand that anger is an emotion they have because it is a characteristic of God in whose image they were created. With this should also come the understanding of how and when God is angered. Praise God that he does not yell and scream over dirty socks and trash on the kitchen floor.
God does get mad, but he is not mean. His anger is righteous and justified and does not come easily!
Psalm 103 : 8 reminds us,
“The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
So when is God provoked to anger?
In my study, I have found that the majority of times God was provoked to anger in the Bible was because a false idol was taking his rightful place in the hearts of his people, which is not glorifying to him and is harmful to us!
“Do not go after other gods to serve and worship them, or provoke me to anger with the work of your hands. Then I will do you no harm.’ Yet you have not listened to me, declares the LORD, that you might provoke me to anger with the work of your hands to your own harm.”
Jeremiah 25 : 6-7
Often, when I get angry for foolish reasons, it is because there is an idol in my life. Often this idol is my own image before others because I want to look like the kind of mother that has her kids put together (right down to their socks)! Or perhaps the idol is time because I actually cleaned our kitchen floor and now I am inconvenienced by the fact that I have to do it again when I have a million other things on my list.
No matter what it is, if God is not the center and first in my life it is folly.
Being Sanctified in the Round,
“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."