Mama, Do Not Sin in Your Anger
“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.” Ephesians 4:26-27
They did it again, didn’t they? Your toddler spilled their drink for the hundredth time. Your eight-year-old was sent home with a note for the same behavior you’ve corrected them on what feels like a millions times. Your teen talked back to you, and after a shouting match, you grounded them, yet they made idle threats about how they will “run away" and it’s all your fault. Do you feel the indignation rising and the temptation to lose it? Those things, and more, would cause anyone frustration. The desire to explode, complain, grieve, grumble, and just throw in the towel hit you all at once. Are you justified in these feelings? Can you react to what’s been happening because of all the pressure you’ve been feeling?
In Ephesians 4, the Apostle Paul lays out a engaging exhortation of the beauty of the newness in Christ. He urges us to walk in unity (v. 1-6) and gives insight to spiritual gifts that build up the body (v. 7-16). He teaches us about the new man alive in Christ (v. 17-24) and how we are to not grieve the Spirit that dwells within us (v. 25-32). And in this exhortation, he reminds us that we can be angry, but we are not to sin.
How does one even do that? Our anger usually resolves around a selfish desire for retribution. But here, we are encouraged to be angry, as to hate what God hates, but not to sin (or to react in an ungodly manner). The enemy is not far from our ear when we are angry, tempting and lulling us to react in a way that dishonors God and hurts others. This is why we would do well to heed Paul’s call and seek the Spirit’s help in how to deal with our anger.
Your children will make you angry, mama. They will test and challenge every nerve in your body. When they exhibit ungodly behavior, you can rightly be angry because sin deserves righteous indignation. But in that indignation, check your own heart and ask God for the graciousness to deal with your child. When you have lost your cool and your anger cuts deep, do not wallow in shame and defeat. Instead, remember that we serve a God who has taken our sins—yes, even that one—and placed them on His Son for our forgiveness and atonement.
Seek forgiveness from Him, and seek forgiveness from your little ones. What a wonderful display of how much you need Christ everyday and how they do, too. He was faithful to give you these little souls to raise. He will be faithful in the process and in every moment—even the hard ones.
Father God, even our littlest neighbors, our children, can cause us anger. We know that they were brought forth in a sinful world with sinful desires, and they sin against us. As You have commanded us to love one another, help us to love our children in a way that honors You. Help our anger and frustration with them. And we pray mercy on their little souls, that one day, they may call You Lord as well. In Jesus name, Amen.
Have you found yourself intentionally or unintentionally holding bitterness or anger towards your children? Repent, and ask God and others that you trust for help!
Born and raised in Texas, Emerald Zimny enjoys coffee, books, and spending time with loved ones. Her favorite breed of dog is a Corgi, and she loves listening to smooth jazz while learning a new word a day from the dictionary. Her heroes in the faith are Elisabeth Elliot, R.C. Sproul Sr., and John MacArthur.