Freedom in grace is freedom from anger.
How often do you feel angry when someone reacts to you in a way that you don't like? Maybe they speak sharply to you, or do something mean. It's natural to feel angry when that happens, but it's not necessary. There could be something troubling them and they need to talk about it.
This is so important to me as a dad. We want to let our kids have emotions, right? But we tend to prefer the emotions that feel good to us. We don't get mad at our kids for being happy. We don't get mad at them for laughing. We don't get mad at them for being joyful. We don't even get mad at them when they're sad and crying. That makes us feel tender.
But when they get angry, we get mad at them! How much sense does that make? They get angry, and what do they see? They see us get angry! We're telling our kids, "I'm going to get angry at you for being angry!"
That does not help them learn. Instead it's a vicious cycle.
Getting angry at their anger comes from trying to control them. We try to control our children's anger so that we can control our own. This is typical of legalism in the home.
Why not simply accept them and be with them? Grace says, "I can see that you're having a bad day. How can I help you? How can I love on you? How can I make you feel better?" When you do that for your child, then all of a sudden, a bad day can become a good day. Now, in their bad day, you're not just someone else continuing to pound on them. You're especially not a legalistic father who wants to drop a Bible verse on them when they're not doing right! Instead, you've made yourself a loving help to them.
I'm far from perfect, but I try not to get angry at my sons for getting angry at me. I let them be angry. And we talk about it.
We have a lot of issues today in Christian homes. Christian families experience the same divorce rate as non-Christian families. I suspect legalism is the problem. If you're living the life of legalism, then you're not living in grace. If your family is not living in grace, then the mentality in your home isn't any different than the mentality in a home that isn't founded in God. That means you're going to get the same issues.
When you live in a home founded in grace, your kids are truly happy. So is your husband or wife! Everybody is growing and thriving, and they live righteous and loving lives.
People will look at your family and say, "Man! What are you doing? What rule did you make? What law did you give them, that they live so well?" That's not the right question, of course. When people don't understand grace, they think about dropping a Bible verse and making a rule with it. The point is that my family loves and laughs and thrives because I didn't give them a rule. I didn't give them a law to live by. I gave my family freedom. My wife and I brought grace into our home. In grace, we are happy.
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Jeremy Affeldt, pitcher for the three time baseball World Champion San Francisco Giants and Major League pitcher for 14 years, recently retired. His streak of 22 consecutive scoreless appearances in the post season trails Mariano Rivera's mark by only one. He is an all-time leader in postseason ERA, with a minimum of 30 innings, with an 0.86.
Jeremy is a humanitarian, philanthropist, public speaker, author, and co-founder of Generation Alive. He works to end human trafficking, feed the hungry and end poverty. He is available for corporate speaking engagements, appearances and interviews Follow him on twitter, Instagram and Facebook @JeremyAffeldt.