You never mean to use anger to discipline your children, but sometimes it becomes part of your homeschooling day. Perhaps you're too tired to get up again to reinforce your correction for the millionth time, or maybe you subconsciously model the parenting you received when you were a child. Whatever the reason, you find yourself caught in the deadly trap of yelling at your children to make them obey.
I'm sure my yelling must have made God cringe as He heard me destroying my children's tender hearts. Unfortunately, when they ignored the rough words, I felt like I was losing control, so I used even tougher words. I justified myself in the name of discipline, but I knew this wasn't the right way to correct a child. I knew I needed help. My anger was beginning to control more than my children. It was beginning to control me!
Finally, conviction came to me one day when I "lost it" with my young son. I still remember the day on the stairsteps to his room. Time stopped as I saw my son's frightened eyes in response to my anger. How could someone so small and innocent be blamed for bringing out the huge ugliness inside me? I never thought that pressure from situations beyond my control would push me to such actions, but God certainly revealed the worst inside my black heart. I quickly needed to learn some anger management!
James 1:19-20 brought me to my senses, "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God." On January 5, 1983, I realized my anger for what it was. I found the gentle forgiveness of God's correction and earnestly applied this same forgiveness to my children for the rest of their homeschooling days. Disciplining my children remained, but my anger no longer had a place in it. Instead, house rules and accompanying consequences for violations were decided upon as a family and posted on the refrigerator.
Does anger play a role in disciplining at your house? If so, do not give the devil an opportunity to cause you to sin any longer (Ephesians 4:27). Let Christ's love fill your heart and your home. "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:31-32).
Father, forgive me today for using my anger when disciplining my children. Convict me of this sin and help me to always discipline in love. In Jesus' name, Amen.