5.24.2013

The Anger of the Father

http://evanscoresby.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/i-will-be-good.jpgAmy and I were both industrious and tidy as children, so it is particularly jarring for us as adults to cohabit with two little human beings who are prone to distraction and messes.  In relative terms, Jada and Aaron are probably pretty normal on these fronts.  But it's still a hassle for Amy and me, especially after a long day of work and especially given how much we crave neatness and early bedtimes.

Last week, I erupted in anger over Jada and Aaron lollygagging after dinner instead of getting ready for bed.  It wasn't just that infraction - they had crossed me a bunch of times leading up to this, Aaron made more work for Amy by hiding a mess from her rather than telling her about it, and both kids were on a serious whining jag - but that was a pretty good last straw for me.  I stormed upstairs, caught them making a mess instead of cleaning one up, and spanked them on their bare bottoms right then and there - not enough to cause physical pain or leave a mark, but with enough emotional force that they got the picture that Dad was seriously bent out of shape.

I was still seething when Amy decided to call a family meeting, at which she instructed the kids about respecting us and about the importance of the Golden Rule.  When it was my turn to talk, I said three things - do what I tell you, don't hide when you make a mistake, and stop whining - and told them there would be more spankings if they didn't heed.  The next morning, Amy reminded them: "Remember the Golden Rule."  As for me, my reminder was: "Remember I will spank you harder next time."

It occurred to me, in my rage over my children's bad behavior, that God is angry at us at times.  He wants us to do what He tells us, He wants us not to hide when we make a mistake, and He wants us to stop whining.  And He rages when we disobey Him in these things. 

God is far more righteous than I, of course.  I want my kids to do what I tell them because I don't like to repeat myself.  I want my kids to not hide when they make a mistake because when they do, either I or Amy end up having to do more work instead of being able to relax or go to bed.  And I want my kids to stop whining because, well, I can't stand that sound.

But God's desire for us to obey Him in these things comes from a far better place.  He wants us to do what He tells us because what He tells us He tells us for our good, and so for us to do otherwise is for us to settle for far less than the best.  He wants us to not hide when we make a mistake because He longs to be gracious to us and to make right the rift we have caused in our relationship with Him on account of our bad deeds.  And He wants us to stop whining because He has given us a way to true contentedness, which honors Him because it demonstrates that He is all-sufficient and that in Him we need lack nothing.

Perhaps some of my frustration and rage had some godly twinges to it, even as it was fleshly in impetus.  At the least, it pointed me to a greater Father, who is also my example for being a better father.
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