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In my last post I suggested that it is possible and even likely that Jesus was not acting in anger when he cleared the temple. But I do not suggest that Jesus was never angry. He was, at least once. And what did Jesus’ anger look like?

I did a search of the ESV Bible and even though the Gospels are replete with passages where people mistreated and sinned against Jesus, I can see only one passage that describes him as angry:

Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him. (Mark 3:1-6, ESV)

Yes, Jesus, Son of God, Son of Man, Savior, King of Kings was at least once angry at a group of humans. And what did he do with that anger? He healed someone.

He was not destructive, he was compassionate. That’s how he acted out his anger. And how ironic that the Pharisees’ response was to plan his destruction.

Jesus was angry. He did not act in anger. Even though there were those to whom it was due. Dads, go therefore and do likewise to your children and your wife.

Don’t be like the Pharisees, be like Jesus.

Next, the “Be Angry” passages.

Click here to see the list of posts in this series.

I thought I’d mention that all of the artwork in this series has been created by my eleven year old daughter Adelyn. She is a drawer.

She draws scenes all the times and I find them to be delightful and expressive – I understand what she’s trying to communicate with them.

D&A4So I commissioned her to draw some pictures of a Dad being angry at his children. She has, so far, drawn four.

Her pictures are universally cheerful and uplifting, so this project gave her a different kind of challenge. I think she did well.

My daughter doesn’t normally spend lots of time drawing pictures of angry dad, is what I’m saying.

 

 

I wanted to clarify some of the thoughts in the last post – ideas that might not have been completely clear because of the levity in it.

1. The Cleansing of the Temple.

There is a law written somewhere that you can’t discuss the topic of anger in Christian circles without bringing up what Jesus did at the Temple. I find this a little odd, because it never says that Jesus was angry. We just assume he was because of his violence. But not all choices for physical destruction are a result of anger.

To illustrate – I’ll use the example in the last post with more detail.

Imagine this setting – a person in the care of an infant walks into the nursery to find a large dangerous snake about to attack the baby. And further imagine there is a machete in the room. I do not hold high odds on the snake coming out well in that confrontation, even if the person is a non-strong, usually timid fourteen-year-old girl. Now when you picture the caretaker inflicting violence on the snake, do you picture her as acting in anger? No, she is acting with the motivations of protection and justice. I call this wrath, not anger.

And I see these kinds of motivations behind Jesus’ actions in the temple. He wasn’t (to employ the stated definition) acting out of “a feeling of belligerence or displeasure, accompanied by an impulse to retaliate”

I’ll admit that Jesus might have been angry in this situation. Will you admit that it’s possible that he might not have been? And if there is a reasonable chance that he wasn’t angry in this situation, should you use it as a defense for your own anger?

And whatever you were last angry with your kids about – it wasn’t as bad as what the sellers were doing at the temple.

Next post – the time that Jesus did get angry.

Click here to see the list of posts in this series.

(And by the way, perhaps I should have titled this blog series: “Christian Dads and Anger”, or “Bible Believing Dads and Anger”, because most of my reason for believing what I’m writing is based on scripture. If you don’t believe the Bible is the Word of God, then there will be little reason for you to believe what I’m saying.)

… as an excuse for your outburst.

From a series of posts on the topic of how dads should deal with anger.

=========

Oh, hi, Honey.

What’s that? You’re gently but assertively suggesting that I was too angry with the kids just now as they interrupted my reading time? You think I should have been more patient? And maybe even answered their question or gone with them to see what they wanted to show me?

It sounds to me like you’re suggesting that dads don’t have the right to be angry at their kids.

Well, let me remind you of the biblical story from the Gospels during the first part of Holy Week when Jesus got angry with the Pharisees and totally took down their operation in the temple. And did I mention that it was during Holy Week?

He even knocked down tables, and I, well, I might have ranted and yelled for five minutes, but I didn’t disturb any furniture whatsoever. Actually, I think it was less than five minutes.

Yes? You say that this situation is a little different from Jesus’? Well, let’s break that down*. Jesus got angry with the Pharisees for turning the temple into a den of scorpions. Well, I’ll just point out that what the kids interrupted me from what was a quiet reading of this new Steven King book, which I’m told has spiritually thematic elements, and it was, as I say, quiet in here until they came bursting in with their news about The Frog! The Frog!  So you could say that this was . . . in a manner of speaking, a very temple-like room.

And their certainty and aggression regarding the Backyard Frog’s interestingness was, you have to admit, very pharisaical (Hey, I spelled that correctly on the first try!). And me spending time alone to collect my thoughts by reading was, if not Christ-like, then a little Jesus-ish, so my situation was pretty much exactly like the Jesus-In-The-Temple-Scenario. You remember that story, don’t you?

Hmm? What? Oh, Ha ha, yes, of course I remember that you went to seminary. It’s so funny that you think I don’t remember my own wife’s educational history. Yes, of course you remember that story. I was just asking the question rhetorically.

What? You say that the Bible doesn’t actually say that Jesus was angry in this scene, and that you once heard a sermon** that suggested that his action of taking down the tables at the temple was no more an act of anger than that of a normal sword-carrying person’s response to a venomous snake found in a nursery with babies in it?  Passion, quick action and destructive decisiveness, but not anger. Is that what you’re saying?

So, in short . . . you still maintain that I overreacted and shouldn’t have yelled at the kids.

I guess I can only respond with: You’re right, honey, and this is just another example of how a chord of three strands can help the other up when he has fallen down, symbolically speaking.

But I’ll only admit that if you’ll agree to admit that the Bible says it’s not always bad to be angry – you know, with the “Be angry but do not sin” verse. Which one? You mean there’s more than one? Oh, Ephesians 4:26 and Psalm 4:4. Sure. Well, see now, there are two verses that underscore my point! So you’ll agree that sometimes it’s okay to be angry? Great. So we’ve both learned something!

Yes? One more thing? Oh, yes, ‘Den of Thieves’ not ‘Den of Scorpions’. Yes. I knew that.

The scorpion is what a good dad doesn’t give to his children.

* Why, yes, Honey, that is a very vague reference to a Will Smith movie. I’m impressed you caught that.

** Hmmm? It wasn’t actually a real sermon that you heard, but you think it should be? Fair enough.

=====

To be clear, this is a fictional scene. For one thing, I’ve never actually read a Steven King book.

In my next post I’ll discuss the Bible passages mentioned here a little more explicitly.

Click here to see the list of posts in this series.

Here are a list of all of the Dads and Anger PostsD&A3

I might recommend that you start with #3 – The Main Statement.

1. Introduction
2. Definitions
3. Main Statement
4. Naming And Claiming Jesus’ Cleansing Of The Temple
5. Clarification – First Bible Passage
6. When Jesus was angry.
7. The Be Angry And Do Not Sin Verses.
8. Righteous Anger.
9. Why You Are Angry – The Anger Grid
10. Why Dads Get Angry
11. Hurrying Your Children
12. Peeling Out

 

Oh, and about the artwork.

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And I’d love to read any feedback you have on any of these posts.

So now that we’ve laid down some disclaimers and a definition – let’s dive into my main theses about this subject.

My Statement and my Challenge: D&A2

Dads should never show anger towards their children.

or

Showing anger towards your children is always unwise.

Now, there is no Bible verse that states or implies this, so I’m standing on slightly shaky ground. I’ll be trying to lay a strong foundation in future posts – but for now …

If you disagree, try describing a time when showing anger towards a child is wise or necessary.

Also – two questions:

1. Do you try to not show anger towards your children when you are out in public?

2. The last time you saw a parent out in public showing anger towards his or her child, did you lose respect for them as a parent?

If your answer is ‘yes’ for either of them, can I ask why? I’d guess it’s because we feel it’s a bad sign if parents get angry with their children in public.

And if it’s true in public, why not in private?

The definition I found in the dictionary includes the idea of retribution. The angry person has an “impulse to retaliate”. Revenge should not be a motivation when you a responding to a child. As a parent you should be hoping to train, to discipline, to love, to teach, but not to retaliate.

Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will avenge you. Proverbs 20:22 NIV

If this is true with your enemy, it should be true with your child.

So – do you agree or disagree with my statement? If you disagree, can you give me an example of a situation where it is right or helpful to show anger?

In any case, can you live like that? Can you decide to not show anger against your child?

Next – why we should be careful using the Cleansing of the Temple as an argument for permissible anger.

Click here to see the list of posts in this series.

I think it would be helpful for me to define what I mean when I say Anger.

I looked in the dictionary on our bookshelf (The Random House College Dictionary) and saw these two definitions for Anger:

A strong feeling of belligerence or displeasure aroused by a real or supposed wrong

Sudden violent displeasure accompanied by an impulse to retaliate

I like parts (but not all) of both of these definitions.  This is how I would combine them:

Jamison Definition of Anger:

A feeling of belligerence or displeasure, accompanied by an impulse to retaliate, aroused by a real or supposed wrong.

Comments:

  • I don’t think all anger is “Sudden”,”Violent” or “Strong” so I took those words out.
  • I agree that the feeling is aroused by a wrong, and I like that it’s pointed out that the wrong might be supposed.
  • I think an important idea that a key aspect of anger is “an impulse to retaliate”.

In any event, going forward with these posts, the keys aspects in what I mean when I say “Anger” are that an angry person experiences these two feelings: “I’ve been wronged” and “Someone should pay”.

What do you think? Is there anything missing from this definition?  Does it include too much?

Next: My Main Statement About Dads And Anger

Click here to see the list of posts in this series.

Here on January First, 2014, I’m starting a new set of posts about Dads and Anger

Question 1. Why Dads (and not Moms)?
Answer:
(A) I think that dads, as God’s leaders of homes (in most situations), have a bigger responsibility to stay under control.
(B) I think dads are more likely than moms to lose their temper.
(C) I think dads do more damage to families with their anger than moms do.
(D) I will leave it to a woman to write posts about Moms and Anger. I think that men should advise and lecture men and women should advise and lecture women.
(E) If you are bothered by any of these, feel free to apply the posts to moms. Many of the ideas cross gender.

Question 2. Why Anger?D&A1
Answer:
(A) Sinful anger harms and sometimes destoys relationships.
(B) Sinful anger pushes people away from the Gospel.
(C) Most anger shown by dads is sinful.

Question 3. Have you, Scott Jamison, had issues with sinful anger as a dad?
Answer: Yes. Verbal anger, not physical anger.  By God’s grace, I’ve been seeing improvement. But it is one of the reasons I have thoughts about this. Thoughts I’d like to share. But I do not want people to think I’m perfect in this area. And yes, I continue to be aware of the Advice Giver’s Dilemma.

Perhaps I should have titled this blog series: “Christian Dads and Anger”, or “Bible Believing Dads and Anger”, because most of my reason for believing what I’m writing is based on scripture. If you don’t believe the Bible is the Word of God, then there will be little reason for you to believe what I’m saying.

I’m going to try to post three or four times a week for as long as possible. Let’s see how far I get.

Next: Anger: A Definition

Click here to see the list of posts in this series.

I’m glad you’re here. Please take a look around.

Also, I’d love it if you’d take a look at the information about the Bible Memorization Song CD that our family has been a part of.

Here’s a sample video. It’s bluegrass!

To the family to whom we are giving a meal because they are going through a challenging time:

When we hand you a dish with homemade lasagna and a salad kit, or spaghetti casserole, or a turkey hot dish, we’re not merely saying “be warm and well fed”. Here are a few ideas we want you to understand and consider while you’re sitting down to eat it.

1. Please enjoy this meal.
“Be warm and well fed” isn’t the only thing we are saying, but we are saying it. We want your family to have this meal to eat today and we hope your stomachs are filled and you find it delicious and satisfying.

2. We stand with your family.
As you walk through this crisis, please know that you are not alone. If you’ve just had a baby, we are joyful with you. If you’ve just lost a baby, we are grieving with you. We aren’t experiencing what you are, but we are on your team.

3. It’s understandable if you don’t feel like making a meal.
Here’s a thought that I hope no one in a church ever thinks: “My kids have just lost a grandparent, and now they have a mom who can’t even put together a supper.” You’re in crisis mode. It’s reasonable that you have your mind on other things. It’s reasonable if building up the inertia to cook dinner is difficult right now.

4. We want your family to have times of rest.
Long hospital visits have a cost. A new baby is hard work. Preparing for a funeral is a complex challenge. Please give yourself a break as you sit down to eat this.

5. Your God wants you to feel loved by the church.
So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10 ESV)
Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. (Romans 12:13)
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: (1 Peter 4:8-10)
As we’re giving you a meal, we’re doing what God is telling us to do. He wants this for you.

6. We hope you are experiencing moments of joy.
Another thought I don’t want anyone in church to think: “My spouse is in extreme discomfort because of the radiation therapy. It’s not right if I feel any bits of momentary happiness” Yes, it is. It’s okay. It’s right there in the Second Corinthians: “Sorrowful yet always rejoicing”. As we hand the meal to you, we’re praying that you’ll be surprised by joy (not to mention peace) that passes all understanding but is nevertheless real and God given. And maybe this meal can be a part of it.

7. Please know Grace exists.
When a gift is given, it’s not uncommon for the receiver to say, “Oh, you didn’t have to do that.” This is true. There is no law or moral code that says we must give meals. Just like there was no law or moral code that says that God had to provide a way of salvation for us. But He did, at great cost for His Son. A much greater cost than that of this meal. If you are feeling like you don’t deserve to receive it, remember: It doesn’t matter.

Our family has experienced the death of family members, hospital stays, two broken arms and the arrival of eight children. As such, we’ve been given many more meals than we have given to others. These seven messages are what I’ve heard when we’ve eaten the delicious and satisfying food provided by others. A meal given in difficult times is God speaking through his servants. To you.

Is this what you’re saying when you give a meal to someone?

If you’d like to print this out and put it in the grocery bag that you hand to the next family you give a meal to, be my guest.

 

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