Freedom in grace is freedom from anger.
We want so much to let our kids have emotions, but only when those emotions feel good to us. We don’t get mad at them for being happy. We don’t get mad at them for laughing. We don’t get mad at them for being joyful. We don’t even get mad at them when they’re sad and crying. But when they get angry, we get mad at them!
If you think about it, you’ll realize that this is backwards! How much sense does it make to tell them, “I’m going to get angry at you for being angry”? We don’t want our kids to be angry, but if they are, what do they see? They see us get angry! So they’re not learning anything. It’s a vicious cycle. I think it comes from trying to control them, to control their reactions so that we can control our own reactions. This is typical of legalism in the home.
When someone reacts in a way that you don’t like, it’s no reason to get angry. In fact, I think responding with anger is the worst thing you can possibly do. You can actually just accept them and be with them. You can acknowledge that there’s obviously something going on that you don’t know about, something that’s troubling them. Grace says, “How can I help you? How can I love on you? How can I make you feel better today? I can see that you’re having a bad day. How can I be here for you?”
When you do that for your child, then all of a sudden, a bad day can become a good day. Now you’re a loving help to them. Now, in their bad day, you’re not just someone else continuing to pound on them. You’re especially not a legalistic father who wants to drop a Bible verse on them when they’re not doing right!
I’m far from perfect, but I try not to get angry at my sons for getting angry at me. I let them be angry. And we talk about it.
If you don’t live the life of grace, you’re living the life of legalism. We have a lot of issues today in Christian homes. Christian families experience the same divorce rate as non-Christian families. I suspect legalism is the problem. If your family is not living in grace, then the mentality in your home isn’t any different than the mentality in a home not founded in God. And you’re going to get the same issues.
But when you live in a home founded in grace, your kids are happy, your husband or wife is truly happy, they are growing and thriving, and they live righteous and loving lives. People will look at your family and say, “Man! What are you doing? What rule did you make? What law did you give them, that they live so well?”
That’s not the right question, of course. When people don’t understand grace, they think about dropping a Bible verse and making a rule with it. But the point is that my family now loves and laughs and thrives because I didn’t give them a rule. I didn’t give them a law to live by. I gave my family freedom. My wife and I brought grace into our home. And we are happy.
See you Thursday.