I was angry. I had a right to be, didn’t I? I asked over and over and all that was being returned was complaining. I spoke harsh with them. I demanded compliance. What else should I have done?
Ever been there? Ever feel like you speak to walls or maybe to fog horns? You don’t know if you have been heard over the returning noise, but you know for sure that you haven’t been obeyed.
Anger swells. You want to be heard. You want to be obeyed.
I stand here over and over between disappointment and frustration. Somehow frustration is what seems to win so often and comes out in my actions.
But when the anger has subsided. When I have to say my apologies and admit that “I let anger win,” my mind often takes be back to a Sunday School lesson.
The teacher, a longtime missionary to the Philippines, continued to drive home the point, bad fruit = bad root. This point has so clearly stuck in my mind over the years. If we see bad fruit in our lives it is because we are rooting ourselves in something other than God. For me, it so often comes back to my own selfishness. Tonight, it was that I was tired, I wanted quiet. I wanted peace. I wanted to be heard and obeyed. I wanted…, I wanted…, I wanted.
My only thought was of myself for my desires. I was not trusting that God can use all this noise and this situation to bring glory to Himself. I was not looking at the big picture of what I want my children to learn, instead I was focused on trying to control the situation for my benefit.
James 1:19-20, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
Slow to become angry. How many times have I heard this verse and how many times have I disregarded it to yell and complain at how my children are acting? Do I think that my anger is going to produce good fruit in them? Look again at verse 20. These words cut to my heart when I apply them to my parenting. Do I think that yelling will make them righteous? I am clearly rooted in myself at the moment of my speaking to them in this way.
When I sit back and calmly look at the big picture of what I want for my kids, my desire is that the righteousness of God will be produced in them. However, I am shortsighted in the moment of my anger that I want immediate obedience.
Me, yelling will not turn them to Jesus. This can only be done by the work of Christ in their lives. What then? How am I to act?
James 3:17-18 gives us an answer how to receive this harvest of righteousness. “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
Do we sow in peace and wait for the harvest? Are we seeking wisdom from above? Do we see good fruits in our lives?
That Sunday school teacher went on to teach good fruit = good root. Good fruit in our lives can only be present from being rooted in that which is truly good.
In John 15:4-5 Jesus says “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Father, teach us to be rooted in You! Teach us to bear Your fruit. Teach us to walk with You.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
8 He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”