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Anger That Does Me Well

Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don t stay angry. –Ephesians 4:26

As the father to three children, I often get angry. I get angry at dumb things, and I get angry at really important things. I get angry at some of the right things, and sometimes I get angry at the wrong things. In fact, I often have to deal with the anger of my kids. Anger they have towards me, or towards their siblings, or toward themselves.

My kids often get angry at each other over perfectly normal things. If my 4 year old steals something from my 6 year old, then the 6 year old has been wronged and becomes angry. This scenario plays out a few dozen times each day (mostly because my 4 year old knows that it will incite anger out of my 6 year old.) What I’ve tried to help my kids learn is that sometimes it’s alright to be angry about something, but it’s never alright to act out of anger. So it’s alright for my 4 year old to feel angry that his sister broke his favorite color of crayon, but it’s not alright for him to crack her across the face with the nearest object. So I have to correct the behavior of my 4 year old and affirm that it is alright to be angry about what his sister did, but it’s never alright to hit someone (or speak to someone) out of that same anger.

It sound so simple, doesn’t it? Then how come as a 33-year old adult, I can’t always apply the same lessons? I want to be angry about somethings, and not be so angry about others. I’ve challenged myself to not be so apathetic about the wrongs and injustices in the world, and to fight for what is right. I want to have anger for those things, and have my anger spurn me towards acts of love and righteousness. I don’t want to let the only actions that come from my anger be ill or discouraging words to those around me.

Lord

Help me to learn to separate being angry from acting angry, and help me to be angry about those things that deserve my anger

Amen

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.