August 16, 2005

Love Is Not Easily Angered (1)

Scripture Reading — 1 Cor. 13:5c; Ephesians 6:1-4

“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” — Ephesians 6:4

Anger is a God-given emotion, a natural response to disappointment, betrayal, or injustice. Anger is not a sin, but to be easily angered is a disorder of the human spirit.

Some people are born with a tendency to be easily angered. And others have socially acquired an irritable spirit, due in part to prolonged dysfunctional parenting.

The apostle Paul says, “[Parents], do not exasperate your children.” To exasperate means “to irritate, enrage, provoke to anger.” Parents can exasperate their children by constantly criticizing them; making negative comparisons (why can't you get A’s like your sister); arguing, fighting, cursing in their presence; not taking time out to listen to them; abandoning them; or establishing rules in the home that are far too rigid.

In urban Chicago where I live, far too many homes, schools, communities, mental institutions, jails deal with persons full of a rage that can often be traced back to dysfunctional parenting. This deep-seated rage often results in serious depression, explosive temper tantrums, disrespect for persons in authority, and deadly violence.

Parents can avoid exasperating their children by “bringing them up in the training and instruction of the Lord,” a process that tends to nurture their tender spirit in faith, hope and a love that is not easily angered.


O God, forgive parents who have abused their children. Please pour your love into the hearts of abused persons, that they may be healed of their deep-seated anger. In Jesus, Amen.


Devotion topics: Christianity, Discipleship