Overcome Temper

Dan Augsburger

Anger is not uncommon among parents. It should not be, but it is! Temper, irritating words, and angry reactions all work against disciplining efforts with children. Many parents realize this, but it is hard to not get upset. I know what that is about and there are many things I regret from my days of parenting.

This morning as I was studying about stimulants and how they decrease a person’s ability to resist temptation, I came across a paragraph on overcoming temper. In summary, hasty tempers work against parental efforts to discipline their children. God’s remedy includes (1) recognizing that temper needs to be overcome, (2) the need to ask God for help to overcome it, (3) the need to take partake of the divine nature to overcome, and (4) learning the science of eating and drinking to the glory of God.

The instructive admonition on overcoming temptation follows a verse I chose on anger.

"Proverbs 16:32 "He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city."

"I wish to say to every father and mother, If you have a hasty temper, seek God for help to overcome it. When you are provoked to impatience, go to your chamber and kneel down and ask God to help you that you may have a right influence over your children. Your children are God’s children; they are to have a life that measures with the life of God. Can you comprehend it?—a life that measures with the life of God. It was to give them this that God sent His Son into the world. For this Christ laid off His royal robe and kingly crown and came to this sinful world as a helpless babe. He was educated under the supervision of heavenly angels. He worked at the carpenter’s trade—He who was the Prince of life, the Saviour of all that would believe in Him. {Ms33-1909.22}

When Christ came to our world, in Him were combined divinity and humanity. In His humanity He could lay hold of humanity; by virtue of His divinity He could bring power and health and grace to mankind. Thus He would make men and women partakers of the divine nature and able to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. {Ms33-1909.23}

To us is given the work of overcoming. This is no haphazard work. Only as we become partakers of the divine nature can we overcome our hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil. We must be trained to understand and follow Bible principles; we must learn of Christ the science of eating and drinking to the glory of God." {Ms33-1909.24}—Ellen White

So, we need to overcome our tempers! Getting angry is wrong and has decidedly negative effects on raising our children.

Overcoming will require God’s help, and comes as we ask God to help and as we partake of the divine nature.

Regarding the overcoming part, she wrote further in the same article on partaking of the divine nature in the context of the woman who came to Christ to receive healing:

“You remember the story of the woman who was healed by touching Christ’s garment when in the midst of a dense throng. Her disease was such that no earthly physician’s power could help her. She saw Jesus healing the sick, and hope sprang up in her heart. She thought she would wait her opportunity; and when she got within reach of the Saviour, she put forth her finger and touched the hem of His garment; and immediately she was made whole. {Ms33-1909.26}

In this experience there was a lesson that Christ desired to impress on the throng about Him. Humanity had connected with divinity, and the blessing had been received. Christ came to the earth to bring divinity to humanity. We need that divinity; young and old need it. If you do not know anything about this power, I beseech you for Christ’s sake to seek for it. Endeavor to live a consistent life. Take hold of Christ by living, active faith. Come to Him just as you are, helpless and dependent, and say, “Lord, I believe, help Thou mine unbelief.” [Mark 9:24.] Help me to study Thy life, Thy self-denial and self-sacrifice; help me to become a Christian in every sense of the word.” {Ms33-1909.27}

Last but not least, mention is made of learning the science of eating and drinking to the glory of God. Here are a few paragraphs from the same article:

With all the precious light that has continually been given to us in the health publications, we cannot afford to live careless, heedless lives, eating and drinking as we please, and indulging in the use of stimulants, narcotics, and condiments. Let us take into consideration the fact that we have souls to save or to lose, and that it is of vital consequence how we relate ourselves to the question of temperance. It is of great importance that individually we act well our part and have an intelligent understanding of what we should eat and drink and how we should live to preserve health. All are being proved to see whether we will accept the principles of health reform or follow a course of self-indulgence. {Ms33-1909.13}

Let no one think he can do as he pleases in the matter of diet, but before all who sit at the table with you, let it appear that you follow principle in the matter of eating as in all other matters, that the glory of God may be revealed. You cannot afford to do otherwise; for you have a character to form for the future, immortal life. Great responsibilities rest upon every human soul. Let us comprehend these responsibilities and bear them nobly in the name of the Lord. {Ms33-1909.14}