I think we've all been in these rather uncomfortable situations....you're in a store or business and a child is misbehaving. Suddenly, the parent loudly loses control of their emotions and blows up at the kid, yelling at them for misbehaving, threatening them if they don't instantly stop what they're doing, etc. Somehow, to me at least, no matter HOW terribly the kid was acting, my first thought is "oh that poor thing...what a horrible mom/dad!" I know there are lots of other circumstances that come into play which we, the casual observers, know nothing about, but still. We are the ADULTS!! We are supposed to be a good example to our children instead of giving up and screaming at them in anger.
I've always purposed to never be one of "those" parents whom you can hear all the way across the store yelling at their kids for whatever reason. Recently I had a chance to put it to the test...Kaleigh was playing with some toys in a kids' area while I shopped in a consignment store. When it was time to leave I helped her pick up the toys, and then picked her up to carry her out of the store. Her body instantly went rigid and she SCREAMED!!!! I plastered a smile on my face and scurried out trying to save face in front of the other people in the store. When I got to the car, she continued to scream and kick as I pleasantly strapped her into her car seat. When I finally got into my seat, I just sat there for a minute...and I realized that I hadn't gotten angry! I wasn't pleased with her behavior, and I was slightly embarrassed, but I wasn't angry at her. I somehow felt like I had won a victory over myself, even tho I DO need to do some work with Kaleigh about her little attitude!
While I was thinking about this subject, I did a search for verses containing "slow" and "anger." I came up with at least 6 verses in which God is described as being slow to anger...for example, read Nehemiah 9:16-17 - "(16) But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and hearkened not to thy commandments, (17) And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage: but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not."
I don't know about you, but had I been in God's place (having spent over 40 years leading an ungrateful, whining, complaining, demanding, unfaithful, disobedient nation around the desert) I probably would have decided enough was enough and just blasted them all to bits!!! However, God in His great mercy is so patient and kind with ALL of us as we stumble, fall back into sin, demand things of Him, and lead ungrateful lives. "It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not." (Lamentations 3:22)
So from now on in my parenting, I am going to try to show patience, mercy, and kindness to Kaleigh and any other children the Lord may give us, in an attempt to reflect the loving way our Father deals with us. I know that children can be VERY disobedient, destructive, and frustrating (and I still believe that loving, Godly discipline should be administered as necessary!!), but we as parents need to temper our actions with love and grace. I really think that this applies to all people in all situations!! Just think what a better place this world would be if everyone stopped before they reacted in anger, and instead chose to be forgiving and gracious?! "A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger." (Proverbs 15:1) I know that will never happen world-wide because the world is an imperfect and sinful place, but we as Christians should be doing our best to show the rest of the world the love of Christ, and I think our parenting is one place we could really make an impact!! If they see our children misbehaving and then they see us blow up in anger, how are we any different than every other unsaved parent?! Instead, we should be showing them a better way...God's way.
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:" (I Peter 3:15)