Foolish Anger

“He that is soon angry dealeth (acts) foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.”

Proverbs 14:17

I was talking with a friend the other day about how quickly kids grow up, in what seems like a blink of an eye. My friend has three little ones and I remember when my kids were the age of his kids. I see old photos and it takes me back to the days when they depended on me and Rebekah for most things, even though they sought their own independence. As I reflect back on those days, I see things I could have done better, and remember times when I grew angry over things that did not really matter.

I typically cut my dad’s grass every Saturday, and I have been doing this for many years. I used to long for the day when Nate was finally old enough to help me with the grass. He was around 10 or so, and I figured the time for him to learn had come. My dad taught me, and I was excited to pass this knowledge down to Nate. When I was young, my dad had certain expectations for me, particularly that I cut the grass with care and that I do my best. He would not accept little grass strands sticking up, and he always examined my work when I was done to make sure the job was done right.

I took this same approach when I was teaching Nate, and I gave him clear instructions on how I wanted him to cut the grass. The sun was setting and I wanted him to hurry and get the job done before we lost our light. I did not take into account that this was his first time, and I showed no mercy in critiquing his work. I grew angry at him for not going in straight lines and for missing clumps of grass. The lighting was not the best, but I demanded perfection from him and cut him no slack regardless of his novice pedigree.

I was quite hard on Nate, and in my anger, I yelled at him for his less-than-stellar performance. I am sure the neighbors thought I was a fool yelling at someone who did not know how to cut grass. Although the neighbors did not say anything, my wife shared her own private thoughts with me as she was displeased with how angry I got with our son. I asked Nate to forgive me for being so short-tempered with him, and now he is a pro at the grass. I wish I could say this was the only time my temper got the best of me, but my family can attest to many more incidents. If we aren’t careful, we can be quick to anger against those we love most and act like a fool. We are called to protect our family, but yet we dismantle them with our foolish and prideful anger.

Where are you in the anger department? Are you one who “flies off the handle?” Have you ruined relationships with your anger? Do others avoid you because you are a walking time bomb? Who have you lashed out in anger against that you need to make it right with? Will you ask God to help you with your temper or will you succumb to the sinful attitude of “that is just the way I am”? May we allow God to sanctify us in this area, and may we act godly instead of foolishly.

Stay in the Fight!

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