By In Culture

Are You Planning on Yelling at Your Children Today?

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.  Galatians 6:1

In his sermon series entitled, Loving Little Ones, Douglas Wilson makes application of this passage from the larger church body to the specific microcosm of the Christian home. In our homes we have leaders and followers, teachers and learners, older, wiser ones and younger, foolish ones; everyone in both categories being brothers and sisters in Christ. Pastor Wilson pointed out that in our homes we tend to leave the “ye who are spiritual” part out of the verse. We assume that folks “at church” need to remember this verse whenever they may be admonishing, exhorting, rebuking, or correcting us, but when we get home, this verse does not apply when we are correcting our children. In the church, folks need to remember the “spirit of gentleness” part; especially when they are correcting us.  If they don’t, we get to turn things back around, make an accusation at them, and then completely ignore whatever they were trying to say to us. At home, we pretend like we are the “ye who are spiritual” ones by default, therefore “spiritualness” gets defined by however we are doing things at the moment.

Brothers, these things ought not be so. If we are at home and an offense is committed by one of our wee ones, and then we fly off the handle, then at that moment, there are zero spiritual people in that room. There is no one in that room fit to restore anyone that has been caught in a transgression, because both people in that room are in the middle of a transgression. We need to be restored before we are biblically fit to do any restoring.

In Toby Sumpter’s ruminations about the Newtown shootings last year, he made a point that I won’t soon forget. He said,

We snapped at (our children) in anger, in frustration. They were whining in the backseat of the car, they were embarrassing us in front of our friends. And so we pulled a 9mm semi-automatic and shot them with words and looks and our tone of voice.

Our unbridled wrath is the same as murder. It kills our neighbor, and it does not restore our children. It does not “teach them a lesson” in the way that we may be hoping. It teaches them lies about God. We call Him “father,” and rightly so, but when was the last time He snapped at you?  When was the last time He got that serious look on his face, wagged His finger, and scolded you until you learned your lesson? He is long-suffering toward usward, not willing that any should perish, but all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

The God of heaven and earth is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Do we get to set that list aside until we’ve raised our children? If we do then we’ll be raising them into the same moral relativism that we ourselves are practicing. Not to mention that we’ll look just as stupid as the parent in Wal-Mart, leaning down into the face of their child, chewing them out publicly, because they won’t biblically discipline them privately. We don’t get a pass on looking stupid just because we’re Christians.

In Galatians 5, the chapter preceding Galatians 6 if you haven’t been counting, Paul gives us some very practical lists,

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

We have probably abstained from orgies and sorcery our entire lives, and drunkenness for most of our lives, but what about fits of anger? When the lamp gets knocked off the table and shatters, or the rebellious little pill says, “no”, or the teenager asks, “why” again today, we must remember that parents who habitually practice “fits of anger” will not inherit the Kingdom of God. And remember, on the contrary, that “those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

Christ not only says, “Mine,” over every square inch of creation geographically. He also says, “Mine,” over every word that we speak to our children today and over every disciplinary action that must take place. So, unless the house is on fire, don’t yell at your children today. Or tomorrow. Or ever.

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.  Galatians 6:1game_free play java game free анализ сайта проверка тиц

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11 Responses to Are You Planning on Yelling at Your Children Today?

  1. Rebekah says:

    Printing this out and taping it to my wall today. Too often I fall into the sin of yelling at my children. Talk about humility when you have to ask forgiveness of such small ones over and over! But I want victory over this…and this was written beautifully and a great reminder. THANK YOU.

  2. Jeremy says:

    “We have probably abstained from orgies and sorcery our entire lives…”

    But what about sorcerous orgies? Sorcerorgies?

  3. David Welch says:

    Thank you so much for this.

  4. Andrew Grams says:

    Food for thought. God disciplines those whom he loves. Hebrews 12. The Old Testament is rife with stories about how God, in His righteous anger, poured out His wrath on His children. Cf. Korah’s rebellion, where a whole family was killed!; David and Bathsheba — God sent His prophet to admonish David and then took the son that was conceived of David’s adultery from David; Moses and his continual intercession to God on behalf of the children of Israel that God would put away His wrath; Sodom and Gomorrah; Peter when Jesus called Him Satan and then admonished Him publicly before a crowd of people; the career of Elijah; and the list will go on and on.

    I think unbridled wrath, as you point out, is inappropriate. Righteous anger, however, is not. “The LORD is slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of fathers upon children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation.” Numbers 14:18. That God is love does not mean that He would not yell at His children. Christ Himself yelled at the pharisees and brought woes down upon them. Yet, he still died for them.

    Parents stand in the place and in the stead of God in the family with the Father as the head, and so they must apply God’s holy and righteous law to sinful children (and themselves!), calling them to turn in repentance from their sinful ways back to the atoning work of Christ to trust in the forgiveness provided by His loving sacrifice.

    We can try to abstain from sorcery, orgies, drinking, cursing, overeating, yelling at our children, and a whole host of things. In doing so we simply set up fences around ourselves so that our children do not see the reality of who we are in Christ — redeemed sinners. The fact of the matter is that the work of the Law, which you propose we do here, is never done. But Christ’s saving work is done, and in Him we are forgiven and redeemed. So when we yell at our kids — which we will do no matter how hard we try to avoid it — out of unjustified anger and wrath we need to be a model of repentance and ask their forgiveness. And when we yell at our kids out of justified, righteous anger and dispense justified and righteous wrath upon them in discipline, we always need to remind them that God disciplines those whom He loves and that, though they are sinners, Christ died for our and His forgiveness is for our children too, and forgive them for their impertinence as Christ has forgiven us.

    • Marc Hays says:

      Andrew, Thank you for your comments. One thought of mine concerning what you’ve said is to recognize a difference between “punishment” and “discipline”. The death penalty, such as with the sons of Korah, did not do a whole lot of sanctifying in their lives. The death penalty, such as with the incorrigible son, is not chastening, but punishment. Punishment metes out justice. It exacts the penalty for the crime. Discipline, however, is for the good of the recipient. We are to chasten and discipline our children as the Lord chastens and disciplines true sons. You mentioned, “But Christ’s saving work is done.” Amen and amen. Christ was punished for my sins. The wrath of God fell and justice was served. It is not my place to exhibit the wrath of God upon my children. The sword of God’s wrath has been slaked in the blood of Jesus Christ. In Christ, mercy has triumphed over judgement and in our homes mercy ought to triumph over judgment. If sin makes us angry, and it ought, then we ought to be angry and sin not. If your yelling at your kids is calculated in order to make a point about God’s wrath, then please reconsider Christ’s finished work on the cross. If your yelling at your kids is uncalculated and you are simply spouting off, teaching them a lesson later by asking for forgiveness, then please reconsider Romans 6, where we are told not to sin that grace may abound. Thank you again for your comments.

  5. Chris Williams says:

    Marc, thank you for a great article. Also, I am a surveyor and pastor in Maryland. Thought the survey connection is awesome as well. Grace and peace.

  6. Andrew Grams says:

    “If your yelling at your kids is calculated in order to make a point about God’s wrath, then please reconsider Christ’s finished work on the cross. If your yelling at your kids is uncalculated and you are simply spouting off, teaching them a lesson later by asking for forgiveness, then please reconsider Romans 6, where we are told not to sin that grace may abound.”

    Read Romans 7– Wretched man that I am, who will save me from this body of death? Romans 7 outlines who we are as redeemed people in Christ — at the same time justified and at the same time sinners. My point is this — it doesn’t matter how hard we try to live the sanctified life, we are going to stumble and fall. Our kids are going to provoke anger in us, and at some point we will lose it. If we think that we can somehow overcome it by trying hard not to (I am not personalizing this here), then Paul tells us in Romans 7 that we are deluding ourselves. John tells us in his first Epistle — “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” Try not to sin some time and see what happens. That is why “mercy” or the Gospel predominates. Not the law. The more rules we set up for ourselves to follow, the more we try not to do something, the more the law — which carries the wrath of God — predominates in our lives. Our children learn mercy not only by receiving it but by doing do it as well.

  7. Shawn says:

    Biblical wisdom-spoken gently! Thanks Marc. You are a gentleman and a scholar. Though where you get the time with all that surveying and parenting is beyond me!

  8. […] a year ago, I stopped yelling at my children. The urge to vent my displeasure became increasing distasteful until I could hear myself snap at […]

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