There is a clever game we play when it comes to identifying sin. Instead of calling the sin by its biblical name, we slap a nickname on it that allows everyone to nod along with understanding camaraderie. We don’t call it an outburst of wrath, as Paul does, we say that we were simply expressing frustration. This is a sneaky way of avoiding taking responsibility for our sin, and thus confessing it, repenting of it, and then mortifying it.
An angry man might bark out his disappointment that his child didn’t obey him, berating the child for the bad behavior. Internally, he might feel a twinge of guilt that he unloaded that wrath on the kid, but then soothes his conscience by renaming the sin as pent up frustration. But when a father forms the habit of uncorking his rage at his wife and children, and covers it with clever rebranding, he’s sinning in two ways. The outburst of wrath is obvious, but he’s abdicating the responsibility of his office as head of the home.
He has become like the captain of an infantry who turns his weapon on his own troops. When a father rebrands these outbursts of wrath and fosters a culture of berating and demeaning his wife and children, he’s a traitor to his own cause.
Regardless of whether his wife and children are at fault for some dishonor or disobedience in their own way, it’s his calling to take responsibility for the tone and tenor of his home. If things are raggedy, if everyone is barking at each other, if all the voices have gotten increasingly screechy, it’s the father’s duty to lead in pulling off the worldly label on the sin, and calling it what God calls it. Then, he must lead in mortifying it.
Our homes are called to reflect the nature and character of the triune God we worship. We see that God is a Father who beams with joy over His beloved Son. We see that the Son lays down His life to redeem and win His bride. We see the Spirit at work to order and array the saints with the beautiful garments of holiness. However, the homes of many Christians don’t display the character of the Trinity, because we’ve rebranded many of our sins. The remedy is to stop lying about your sin. Stop calling it things that get you understanding empathy from your colleagues, and dulls the sting of conviction. Call your sin what it is, then cast it out, by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit.