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God’s Words for Our Anger

October 23, 2012

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Case Study:

Bill didn’t think he was that different from anyone else. Sure, he “lost it” every-once-in-a-while with the kids, but who doesn’t. Idiot drivers deserved a decent heckling (even if they can’t hear it) if they are going to endanger and make everyone else on the road late. His wife, Susan, was the sensitive type, so you couldn’t really take her opinion too seriously. She probably was uncomfortable with his aggressive-assertive style, but that’s just because her family never really dealt with their issues.

At work people respected Bill. He got things done, so his boss really liked Bill and often told him how good it was to have Bill on staff to keep everyone “on their toes.” Being a self-made man who had to overcome a lot to amount to anything, Bill was proud of these comments. He always feared being nothing or nobody, so these comments told him he was on the right track. 

What Bill didn’t like was the way that his boys argued with one another and their mother. The things they said sounded eerily familiar when Bill was willing to admit it. But he shook it off saying he wasn’t going to let his kids have excuses for their temper. If he had settled for excuses, he wouldn’t be where he is today.

Then it got to the point where the boys were brave enough to turn their anger on him. He had always been able to intimidate them “back in line.” But now these arguments began to escalate; a couple even turned physical. When Bill told the boys they should honor their father they just rolled their eyes. Eventually they looked up the passage in Ephesians and told him not to provoke his kids to anger and mocked that they could use the Bible too.

Bill came to Susan for support when he was feeling down. She gave him little and said she had warned him many times these days would come. That turned the conversation nasty, but Susan had been silent long enough and wasn’t going to let Bill justify his anger anymore. The argument ended with Bill going for a drive (“storming off” as Susan said).

Some conviction was starting to set in, but Bill was still resisting the idea that he had an anger problem. He has never hit anyone (unless you count the recent wrestling matches with the boys). They had had some good times as a family (but nobody could remember those right now). As he drove, Bill thought he should pray, but he didn’t even know where to begin. 

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