Summary: How not to provoke your children to anger, and how to build faith into them

Parenting With Grace October 27, 2002

Grace Based Relationships Part 3

Ephesians 6:4

On the first week we looked at relationships where grace is not in place

We talked about how when we try to control those around us for our own purposes we are living in the curse that Adam and Eve received when they sinned. (And though you may desire to control your husband, he will be your master.” Gen. 3:16 NLT with footnote) And we are trying to take over God’s job – to shape and mold people according to his good purpose.

We talked about how we are born with a “Holy Spirit shaped hole” in our hearts, and in order to fill that emptiness, we often concentrate on the exterior, performance orientated areas of our life. After awhile, we realize that no amount of success or sin can fill that hole, so we go looking for someone else to fill the hole – usually a mate or family member. They look good on the outside, but because they are just as empty on the inside as we are, they can’t fill our emptiness, and we cannot fill theirs. So we start to try to shape them into the type of person that can fill our emptiness.

We talked about how this is idolatry. Whenever we go to another person or thing to do for us what only God can do for us, we are treating them as another god, and it is idolatry.

Last time we looked at how when we are filled with the Spirit, and living our lives by the power of the Spirit, we no longer need to look to others to fill our emptiness, and we do not have to manipulate and control them so that they will fill our emptiness!

So because we are strengthened in our inner being by the Holy Spirit, we have the strength to submit to one another!

It is one of those Christian paradoxes – God gives us strength, not so we can rule over, but so we can serve!

Parents (fathers) do not provoke your children to anger

Three Words for Anger

“Perigismos” = “seething hostility” -anger that is forced to exist beneath the surface or suppressed anger

“Thumas” = “outbursts of anger”

“orgay” = “anger” “in you anger do not sin” Ephessians 4:26. This means that having this kind of anger is not automatically a sin! Orgay comes the closest to the pure experience of anger. This kind of anger is not good or bad. It is simply a signal that something important to us has been threatened or damaged

So what does it mean, then to be angry but not sin? In the context, Paul says, “therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth, each one of you, with his neighbour, for we are members of one another. Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity’ Jeff teaches then that Paul is telling us that when we are angry with someone, we are to go and talk to that person.

Consequently, being angry at someone and telling others instead is to be angry and to sin. Being angry at someone and spreading rumors, giving negative hints in a conversation or insulting them, is to be angry and to sin. In fact, the text demonstrates that being angry and doing nothing – letting “the sun go down on your anger” - is sinning. Ignored anger can grow into perigismos – seething hostility, or thumas – an outburst of anger, neither of which is good. If yo are angry with someone, talk to them.

The word that is used in Ephesians 6:4 is perigismos – seething anger – do not provoke your children to seething anger. Jeff gives us some of the ways that we do provoke them to seething anger.

Not allowing our children to express their anger

The most obvious way to provoke children into a state of repressed anger is to not let them express it. If you ask your child to stop watching television and perform a chore they were supposed to be doing, you may get an answer something like: "I’m really angry that I have to do this," or the child may simply show his anger by stomping or complaining. In response, many Christian parents would say, "Don’t you ever let me hear you talk like that, [ or act like that] ," or "You are making Jesus sad by being angry," or "Go to your room and don’t come out until you can be polite." If so, you are provoking them to seethe. They may decide to hide their anger in order to avoid the consequences of displeasing you-or because they think it’s their job to make sure Jesus has a good day-or so that they can avoid having to go to their room. And when they respond to this kind of pressure, and do not show their anger, you may praise them and praise the Lord that you don’t have an angry child-but don’t get too excited. You simply have an angry kid with perigismos - that is, an expert at letting the sun go down on anger.

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