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Using an Anger Journal to Grow in Godliness

One reason that young people give for walking away from their faith is hypocrisy in the home. What they mean is not that we sin. We all sin including them. What they mean is that we sin and we don’t seem to do anything about it.

One particular prevalent parenting sin is anger. Anger in the home often continues because we feel it is justified in the moment. In addition, only our family sees us get upset. It is a secret sin.

But in our hearts we know this is not the way Jesus would have us act.

I should know. This is a sin I struggle with.

An Anger Journal
Because I wanted to grow in this area, and I wanted to help others grow, I’ve developed a video teaching series entitled Parenting with Patience: Overcoming Anger In the Home. A key part of that video study is the fifth lesson. In the fifth lesson, we talk about the idea of how change happens. And throughout weeks 1-5, I have you use part of an anger journal to slow down and record what just happened, and how you reacted.

And so I want to share a set of questions that helped me walk through each of my train wrecks so that I could actively repent of my sin. I wanted to chase the fruit of sin all the way back to the root. To do that, I used an anger journal. And these were the questions I asked myself. (Though I have modified them, the basic questions originated with Dr. David Powlison of CCEF).

Circle of Folly
1. What was the stimulus? Record the event that triggered the anger.
2. What did I say or do? How did I react? Be specific with behavior, thoughts, emotions.
3. What was I expecting, desiring, craving, or believing at the moment? Was this a sinful desire or a good desire that became a demand?
4. How does the Bible speak to this? What do I need to repent of and put on? How do the cross and resurrection apply?

Circle of Wisdom
5. Where is God in this situation? What does he say relevant to your situation? How can the Holy Spirit help you in the moment next time?
6. Which godly response should I have had in the moment? What desires, beliefs, expectations, should I put off and put on?
7. What structural changes could you make to prevent this situation?
8. What verses will you use to renew your mind and fight temptation?
9. What will be the good consequence next time?

As an act of restitution, when you have a blowup, take some time and counsel yourself using the questions.

Let me know if they help you as much as they help me!