A dad once told me, “I get angry with my kids so they know I’m serious. It’s good for them to be afraid of me, at least a little bit.”
So often we resort to anger as a way to get people to do what we want. Parents yell at their kids to try to get them to obey. Bosses intimidate employees to motivate them. Husbands speak harshly to their wives to try to change them.
But God’s Word says, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God (James 1.19-20).
Catch that? Anger won’t produce righteousness – in our children or anyone else. Anger will often produce something else, though – the fear of man. Oh, our children may obey us out of fear. But our anger will produce little Pharisees, who obey on the outside but not from the heart*.
God doesn’t use anger to produce his righteousness in us. His wrath doesn’t move those in hell to love him. God imputes to us Christ’s righteousness, then moves us to obey out of gratitude. We love because he first loved us, not because he first intimidated us.
*I’d like to credit the person I learned this from, but I can’t recall who it was.