The Heat in the Kitchen
Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, for anger resides in the bosom of fools. ECCLESIASTES 7:9
We had asked two of our teenagers to clean the kitchen together. The first time I inspected their work, I found them arguing about who had done the most. I asked them kindly to keep working.
When I returned, they were bickering about who should sweep the floor. I intervened, got them quieted down and encouraged them to finish the job. Finally—the third time—after I’d inspected their halfhearted, mediocre work, they gave me the lame excuse that they didn’t really know what a clean kitchen should look like! My teenagers had been overtaken by some alien from another planet who had never seen a kitchen, let alone a clean one! That did it. This normally unflappable dad flipped. I went on a tirade about how disrespectful and disobedient they were. I flung a handy box of tissues at their feet in a burst of unsanctified rage.
Then I stormed out the front door, slamming it shut behind me. Standing there on the front porch, two profound thoughts came to me. The first: It’s really cold out here. Why are they in there warm? I own this house—they don’t! But the second thought pierced me in places deeper than the cold could reach: My anger has gotten the best of me, and I’m acting like a foolish child. I don’t recall the exact words of the apology I gave to my children. But I do recall coming to an important realization: If I’m going to help these kids grow up emotionally and know how to appropriately express their anger, then I need to grow up myself. God never said we shouldn’t get angry. But He did warn us not to let anger turn into sin. Or as Proverbs 14:29 cautions, “He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quickly-tempered exalts folly” (see also James 1:19).
What specific situations have set you off lately? See if you can isolate the main culprits and flashpoints. What is it that makes you lose it?
Pray that your heart will not be eager to be angry, that being “slow to anger” will be more your speed.