On Jesus and video game rages 


By Jessica Brodie

Every time my son lost at his video game, the whole house knew about it. The drama! The rage! The yelps and rolling on the floor! You’d think he was three years old instead of in middle school.

“I have anger issues, Mom,” he told me seriously when I sat him down and gently explained his behavior had to stop. I bit my tongue and tried to keep a straight face, though my husband couldn’t resist telling him that excuse was lamest he’d ever heard.

Growing angry is one thing, we said—pitching a fit is another.

He got it.

It’s hard to be a kid, with all those emotions and none of the needed self-control. Toddler temper tantrums give way to preteen hissy fits. Blurted insults and brutal honesty reign until the necessary verbal filter is developed. The other day, after my daughter groaned and moaned hearing our plans for the day, then backpedaled when she realized her words were perhaps not the kindest, she apologized.

“Sorry, Mom—I just can’t seem to control the stuff that comes out sometimes,” she said sheepishly.

“You know,” I told her gently, “you don’t have to say everything that comes into your mind, baby. Just stop a minute. Think. Then choose how you react.”

She cut her eyes at me. “Yeah, right. Easy for you to say. You’re good at it.”

I’m not, of course. But as an adult, I have learned the wisdom of pausing, of thinking before I act, of letting things simmer instead of come to a fast boil.

The apostle James knew it, too. He wrote to the early church, “Know this, my dear brothers and sisters: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to grow angry. This is because an angry person doesn’t produce God’s righteousness” (James 1:19-20).

Patience, love, generosity, kindness—all these are virtues lifted up as ways to love others in a Christ-like manner (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). Not hot-tempered rage and sarcasm and flippant, snappy comebacks designed to wound. Yet pop culture makes it seem like it’s absolutely fine to jab and toss barbs at friend and foe alike. Watch any modern movie, whether it’s a romance, comedy, family adventure, or action flick—sweetness and light are “passé,” replaced with snippy banter and loaded insults. Is it any wonder our kids are confused about what is and is not acceptable?

But we have a model: Jesus. And we have the words of His apostles to guide us.

At least in our house, we’re taking James’s words to heart and practicing more listening, patience, and sweetness and less talking, comebacks, and rage.

Let me know in the comments below: do you or does your family struggle with this? What are your thoughts? Can you offer any tips?

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