Recently I heard a heartbreaking story of the estrangement of a child and parent.  As we talked over what had happened to bring about this separation, it became apparent there was no reason for the break.  When there is seemingly no outward cause, I strongly suspect there is much more to the story than what we see on the surface.  At times our deep-seeded anger is vented toward one who has nothing to do with the cause for our anger.  We are aiming our vitriol in the wrong direction.

In this particular case, I strongly suspect the anger is caused by frustration over lack of control over distressing circumstances.   There is seemingly nothing that can be done to head off the inevitable.  Lack of control has festered into anger and that anger has been aimed toward an innocent party.

I found this while researching and think it sums up exactly what I am trying to say.  We are fighting a battle within ourselves which we cannot find an answer for, so we take out our frustration on some unexpecting target.  We lash out at the innocent with displaced anger.

I thought back to those years I was raising a family and working full time.  Often my children would have my anger over the day's events aimed toward  them when they made some small misstep.  I would totally over react to some small misdemeanor.  It would be the straw that broke the camel's back.  What had  been dammed up all day would come spewing forth at the poor unsuspecting child.

WHY?  Subconsciously I knew I had to keep it together with the aggravating client, or whoever else had stepped on my toes.   There was a real possibility of losing their business or getting into a brawl if I lashed out at their behavior.  I had to be an adult.  When I came home, it was never my intention to jump down my child's throat, but I was also on the ragged edge.    It happens before you even realize how strongly you are over-reacting.  It happens because you KNOW your child will still love you, even when you are acting like a jerk.  We know they will forgive us with the first kindness we show toward them.  Our

will be forgiven ~ even when we do not deserve forgiveness.  

As the conversation progressed about the estrangement between the parent and child, we both agreed there was a need to address what was going on.  If we are unwilling to confront our problems and broken lines of communication, there is little hope to correct the problem.  The line of least resistance is always the path we are on until we are forced to discuss what is happening and the cause for our reaction.

I am SO thankful God faithfully forgives me, even when my anger overflows toward Him.  I once had a friend tell me that God has a strong broad chest and can take my pounding away at Him in anger over life.   Our children's willingness to forgive us  can be a small example of how He loves us--even when we are jerks.   He is willing to forgive us and is standing at ready for us to return to Him.  What a gracious and amazing God we serve!  Even when we are jerks.

"And may you have the power to understand,

as all God's people should,

how wide, how long, how high, and how deep

His love is.

May you experience the love of Christ, 

though it is too great to understand fully.

Ephesians 3:18-19


  1. It is all too easy to lash out at the ones we love when our battle with our own anger boils over, Lulu. I can recall times when I was a real jerk with my own kids; yes, I regret those times, but often after jumping on them, I'd apologize and ask their forgiveness. Remarkably, they always gave it, and God will most certainly forgive us, too, when we confess and repent.

  2. What a gracious God we serve, Martha!
    Blessings, My Friend!

  3. It is sad when anger can cause rifts and divisions within the family. I've seen it many times.

    Often, when things go wrong, we even get angry with God. He can take our anger. He took it when on the Cross.

    God bless.

  4. There once was a little boy who had a bad temper.

    His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

    The first day, the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

    Finally, the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

    The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence where the nails were in. The fence will never be the same.

    When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say you’re sorry. The wound is still there."

    God bless.


Your comments keep my writing and often cause me to think. A written form of a hug or a pat on the back and an occasional slap into reality---I treasure them all!