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Anger

I recommend keeping a dry erase board, chalkboard, or paper that you can use with a visual of the key verse or verses. Feel free to print whatever images you would like as well or just open them up on the computer screen to use with your family.  The images can also be used in some of the suggested activities.  Visual aides help!  Reading ahead for just a few minutes the day before or the day of will give you time to do what you need before you start.  The lessons are written so that little to no preparation is needed.

James1-19FullVerseSimple

Day 1

Every person of every age feels anger at different times.  Some may struggle with anger more than others.  Think for a minute about something that has made you angry recently.  Was it when someone hurt you?  Was it when something didn’t happen that you wanted to happen?  Did you loose something and it made you mad?  Was someone slowing you down when you were in a hurry?

There are a lot of different things that can cause us to feel mad or angry. It’s important for us to understand why we get angry, how we can fight it when it occurs, and what the problem is in our hearts when we allow anger to enter in.

The Bible tells us:  “Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.  For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness  of God.”  James 1:19

Act out a few situations together as a family:
ex:  Pretend like you are playing with something.  I’m going to come and take that thing away.  You pretend to be mad and react in an angry way. 
Discuss what happened?  Discuss what made you angry and then act it out differently this time, as one who is “slow to anger”.
ex: I’m going to take the thing away again but this time respond using calm and kind words.
Act out a few more situations so everyone has a turn.  React in anger first then display how to be slow to anger.

It’s better to be slow to anger isn’t it?  Why? We’ll talk more about what the Bible says about anger each day this week.  Right now let’s say the verse together and then ask God to help us to remember to be people who are slow to anger.

Dear God, we admit to you that we feel angry sometimes.   We don’t even stop to think about it most of the time, we just react and do things without thinking first.  Grant us the power to remember this verse and help us Father to be slow to anger.  We ask this is Jesus name.  Amen.

Introduce hymn of the week (“Loving and Forgiving”) or your own choice for a praise song.  Listen to it together and get familiar with it if it is new. This was the best version I could find that included the lyrics.

Loving and Forgiving” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qo73k3yGX5Y

 


 

Day 2

We talked yesterday about anger and we acted out some situations where we reacted in an angry way and then we practiced being slow to anger.  Who remembers the Bible verse?

“Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.  For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness  of God”  James 1:19

Tonight let’s talk about why we get angry in the first place? If I were to take something from you, you would feel angry because I took something that you were using or enjoying.  If someone hurts my feelings I sometimes feel angry because I was happy and then they made me feel hurt or unhappy instead.  Have you ever had to be somewhere at a certain time and something happened at home that made you late and everyone started to get angry. Can you see something that all of these situations have in common?  In each situation where someone felt angry it was because they were not getting what they wanted.  They wanted to play with their toy that got taken.  They wanted to feel good or happy.  They wanted to be on time.  We get angry when we don’t get our way.  Our problem is that we are selfish.

Websters dictionary defines selfish as “having or showing concern only for yourself and not for the needs or feelings of other people.”  There is a saying that goes like this, “I’m easy to please as long as I have things my way.”  It’s true isn’t it?  We are happy and easy to get along with but don’t mess with our comfort, our things, our time, what we want!   If being selfish is one of the main reasons we get angry then this verse is telling us to be “quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to” be selfish too.  The truth is that God teaches us in His word to think of others first.  It’s not about us, it’s about loving God and loving others.

The Bible tells us in Mark 12:30-33  (It’s a good idea to turn to this together as a family if possible)  “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

When we focus on loving God and loving others we will naturally be slow to anger because we will be focused on God’s ways and not our own way.  When we call this Bible verse to our mind, the Holy Spirit can help us keep the commandment of being slow to be selfish and slow anger.

God, it’s so easy to think of things as being all about us.  We struggle with being selfish and we get angry when we don’t get what we want.  Your word teaches that it’s not about what we want but that our life should be about loving you and loving others as ourselves.  Help us to learn your word and use it to fight the sin of selfishness and anger.  In Jesus name we pray.  Amen

Say Mark 12:30-33 one more time. Go over James 1:19 as well.

James1-19+Mark12

Sing “Loving and Forgiving” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qo73k3yGX5Y

 


 

Day 3

“Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.  For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness  of God.”  James 1:19

Quick to hear
When we talked about anger yesterday we talked about how we struggle with being selfish and how we get angry when we are not getting what we want.  Today we are going to talk about a specific part of our Bible verse.

The first thing we are told by the apostle James in this verse is “Let every person be quick to hear…”.  

(Activity) Let’s do an activity that helps us understand what that means. (Pretend to interrupt each other while talking)  (Start telling about your day or tell a funny story and have someone interrupt you mid sentence.  Talk about how that is not being a good listener and how that is not quick to hear.  Do it several times if it is helpful and fun for your family.  Discuss after how you can’t hear what a person is saying when you are busy talking and interrupting)  

Have you ever tried to talk to someone and before you were even done talking they were saying something back to you or even getting angry?  Have you ever gotten angry when someone has been correcting you or giving you instructions and you were already talking back and getting mad before they were even finished speaking? We have all behaved that way before.

When we react right away and give in to the sin of anger we are most certainly not being “quick to hear.”  We are quick to be mad, quick to get frustrated, and quick to talk usually.  It’s hard not to do that sometimes because we act how we feel, but God is asking us to stop and be people who are good listeners.  When we stop and listen we have time to hear what the other person has to say, we have time to see our situation and think about what is important in that moment, and we have time to hear God remind us of what His word says.  Let me give you an example of what this might look like.

Ex:  “I was out playing with a good friend of mine after a rainy morning.  We were having fun with animals pretending they were in the jungle.  I asked my friend to be careful with my favorite toy elephant.  He was playing with it in a puddle of water outside.  He put it too close to the road and my favorite toy elephant got run over by a car and was ruined.  I felt angry!  I told my friend to go home and that I never wanted to see him again, ever!  I cried and ran inside and I felt terrible.

Was that a good example of what being quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger looks like?!  No way! Here is a better example now.

Ex: “I was out playing with a good friend of mine after a rainy morning.  We were having fun with animals pretending they were in the jungle.  I asked my friend to be careful with my favorite toy elephant.  He was playing with it in a puddle of water outside.  He put it too close to the road and my favorite toy elephant got run over by a car and was ruined.  I felt angry!  I could have chosen to get mad at my friend, say unkind things, or stomp off. That is what I felt like doing.  But, I chose to stop a minute.  I listened to my friend tell me what happened and I listened to my friend say he was sorry. I listened to the Holy Spirit in my heart and remembered God’s command to love others, to forgive, and to be slow to anger.  I felt calm and I was able to forgive my friend for his mistake and the angry feeling went away.”

How would you feel if you were the one in the story who’s toy was ruined?  (Probably angry also) How would you feel if you were the friend who ruined the toy?  (You would feel guilty or bad about it)  In the story example by being quick to hear and slow to anger I was able see that my friend felt bad and was sorry and I was able to hear God at work through the Holy Spirit reminding me of His Word in my heart.  When I was quick to hear I became slow to get angry.  Let’s ask God to help us to be quick to hear as well.

Father in Heaven, It’s so easy to be quick to get mad when things happen to us that we don’t like.  We don’t want to be people who are quick to get angry. Lord, would you help us to be quick to hear those around us and quick to hear your Word and your Holy Spirit inside of us.  We pray that this would help us to be people who are slow to anger.   In Jesus name, Amen.

Sing “Loving and Forgiving” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qo73k3yGX5Y

 

 


 

Day 4

“Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.  For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God requires.”  James 1:19

Slow to speak
Yesterday we talked about what it means to be good listeners and how if we are “quick to hear” it can make us slow to get angry.  We are going to make something now to use in our activity tonight as we talk about what it means to be slow to speak.

(Trace your hand with your fingers together on a piece of paper and cut it out to use in the game you will play.)(It will work better if the paper is thicker, like a card stock)

Do you remember playing the game were we interrupted each other while talking?  We were pretending to be bad listeners and slow to hear instead of being”quick to hear”.  It was also a good example of not being “slow to speak.”  When we just say what we want whenever we want we are not slow to speak at all.  Let’s do some interrupting again but this time when someone starts to interrupt  take the hand you cut out and place it in front of their mouth and say, “be slow to speak”.

(Start talking and interrupting one another and practice)

Now that we have a good feeling for what it means to NOT be slow to speak, let’s talk about what it does mean to be slow to speak and what means when it comes to being slow to anger.  Do you ever get angry and find yourself saying the first thing that comes to your mind?  Most of the time, if not all of the time, the first thing that comes to your mind is not kind.   A good example is like in the story where the friend broke the favorite elephant toy.  In the how not to act example the friend yelled, said unkind words, and stomped off.   It did not end well.  Again, when we are not quick to hear we are often too quick to speak instead and what we say then comes from a feeling of anger in that moment, not from love or the truth of God’s Word.  If we are going to learn to be people who are quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger we have to put the invisible hand up (put your hand cut out up as you say this) when something happens that causes us to feel angry.  Listen first, be quick to hear, and then don’t say anything at all before you have a chance to think on what God’s Word says about the situation you are in.  You can speak eventually but by being slow to speak you can think about how to respond in a wise and loving way instead of in anger.

Remember Jesus’s command in Mark 12:30-33 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

If we are going to love our neighbor as ourselves we should not respond in anger in a way that we would not want to experience.  No one wants to be yelled at or have unkind words spoken to them.

As we discussed yesterday when you are quick to hear what is happening and slow to speak you will be able to hear God at work through the Holy Spirit reminding you of His Word in your heart before you say anything that stops you from loving God or the other person the way Jesus commands.

Write the verse on a piece of paper tonight but omit many of the key words to allow your family to fill in the blank as you review.    
Let’s review James 1:19. 

James1-19FillInTheBlank

Dear God, we are learning that when we are quick to hear and slow to speak it will help us to fight feelings of anger.  Help us Father to remember all that we are learning.  Use your Word to change our hearts and help us to call these thing to our mind in the moments we need them.  We love you and we thank you for giving us your Holy Spirit and the Truth of Your Word as our guide.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Sing “Loving and Forgiving” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qo73k3yGX5Y

 


 

Day 5

“Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.  For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”  James 1:19

Slow to anger
We have talked a lot about James 1:19 this week.  We’ve talked about what anger is, why we feel angry, what it means to be quick to hear, and also what it means to be slow to speak.  In the next part of the verse James is teaching us that we are to be “slow to anger.”  So how exactly do we do that?   James doesn’t just say Let every person be slow to anger and end it right there.  No, he says,   “Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.”  Being quick to hear is mentioned first followed by being slow to speak.  As we have discussed and practiced doing these we have learned that those actions of holding our tongue and listening and being slow to speak helps us to overcome and stop our anger when it quickly fills our heart or mind.  As a Christian we can listen to and trust the Word of God and let the power of the Holy Spirit turn our anger into peace.   Have you had a moment this week where you have practiced being slow to anger?  Have you felt God take your anger and turn it into peace and calm?  Is there a moment you can think of where a bad moment of anger was avoided and turned into a moment of love and forgiveness?  (If not, reinforce that this is what can happen)  When this happens we glorify God as we were meant to.

Let’s go to some other passages in the Bible in Proverbs and see what is said about those who are slow to anger and those who are not.  (Discuss these verses, what they are saying, what words mean that children might not understand)

Proverbs 14:29  “He who is slow to anger has great understanding, But he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.” (thinking highly of bad judgement or foolishness)
Proverbs 16:32  “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.”
Proverbs 29:11  “A fool always loses his temper, But a wise man holds it back.”
Proverbs 15:1  “A gentle answer turns away wrath (anger), But a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Proverbs 15:18   “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife (angry or violent disagreement), But the slow to anger pacifies contention.” (brings peace to an argument or disagreement)

We just read that a person who is slow to anger has great understanding, is better than the mighty, is wise, can turn away wrath (anger), pacifies contention (brings peace to an argument or disagreement).  That sounds great to me!  I want to be a person like that don’t you?!  On the flip side, a person who is quickly angered is described as exalting folly (thinking highly of bad judgement or foolishness), being a fool, stirring up anger, stirring up strife (angry or violent disagreement).   I do not want to be like or do any of these things do you?  Anger can do so much damage to you and to others.

When we claim to be a Christian we represent Christ and we want to do that to the best of our ability.  We want others to see Jesus in our actions.  Let’s pray right now for this.

Our Father in Heaven, we have learned what can happen when a person is not slow to anger.  We have not been slow to anger ourselves so many times.  Through studying this verse Lord, through practicing being quick to hear and slow to speak we pray that you will grant us the ability to be slow to anger.  Turn our anger into peace please and let that show others the love and forgiveness of Jesus.  We pray these things in His name, Amen.

(Write the verse tonight and omit even more key words to allow your family to fill in the blank as you review.)
Let’s review James 1:19 but this time you will need to see if you can fill in even more blanks then last time.

James1-19FillInTheBlank2

(If you want to expand on tonight you could also talk about other ways to calm down when feeling angry. Ex: Taking deep breathes, asking for some quiet time alone, getting a certain toy to hold on to, closing eyes to pray, etc.)

Sing “Loving and Forgiving” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qo73k3yGX5Y

 


 

Day 6

“Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.  For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”  James 1:19

We have talked about the first half of this verse so far this week.  Let’s talk about what this verse says about why we are to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. That last part says this, “For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”  Do you know what the word righteous means? To put it simply it means to do everything right and not sin.  It means having the ability to keep all the rules perfectly.  God is righteous.  For you and I it means to be perfectly obedient and to keep all of God’s commandments.  We are told in Scripture that God desires for us to be righteous.

In the book of Matthew Jesus even says this. (turn to the verse of write it on your dry erase board)

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  Matthew 6:33

He says to seek righteousness.  Ok.  Let’s do it!  We can be perfectly obedient right?   Nope.  It’s not possible is it?  I’m sure you can even think of a way that you have disobeyed today.  I can think of many many many many many many…. ways that I was not perfectly obedient today.  Should we give up then?  Romans 3:10 in the Bible even says “None is righteous, no, not one;”
So what are we supposed to do?  Can we do anything?  Does God give up on us since it’s not possible for us to be righteous?  No!  This is why He sent Jesus.  Why is it important that we try to be righteous?  Aside from the fact that Jesus himself told us to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness”  God knows that seeking righteousness will cause us to seek Jesus because we can’t be righteous on our own.
1 Corinthians 5:21  tells us: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Did you hear that?  “so that in him (Jesus) we might become the righteousness of God”.  Do you know what that means?  We become righteous because of what Jesus did.  Who can tell me what Jesus did?  (Yes, he paid for our sins on the cross)  We must put our faith in what Jesus has done and not in our own ability.   We will fail a lot and we will sin and God knows that.  We can work to continue to hide God’s Word in our hearts, listen to the Holy Spirit, and pray asking that God give us the power to obey.  He can grow us and help us to be people who are able to seek after His righteousness, through our faith in Jesus Christ.

Let’s go back to talking about anger again for just a minute.  We are told in our verse this week that when we are quick to anger and not slow to anger this does not produce the kind of righteousness God desires.  Being quick to anger is a sin.  Sin stops us from being able to keep God’s commandments and pursue righteousness.
In spite of our sin we are still called to love God, look to Jesus, and attempt with all our hearts to be obedient and keep His commandments.    Let’s pray about this right now.

Heavenly Father, We know that you are righteous and we are not.  We know that Jesus Christ, your son, died and carried all our disobedience with him on the cross.  We want to fight the sin of anger and all the other sins that cause us to disobey your commandments and that do not produce righteousness.  Would you grant us the power of your Holy Spirit and the strength we need to fight our sin?  We know we can’t do it all perfectly and that Jesus did it all perfectly for us.  What a relief and what a joy that is!  Thank you for loving us.  We pray this in Jesus name. Amen 

(Review all verses from tonight)

James,Romans,1Corinthians

Further discussion: We know that anger that becomes sin does not produce the righteousness of God.  What else does anger do when we choose to indulge in it?  It can make us bitter.  It can make us feel hate.  It takes away our happy mood or take away our joy.  It causes us to be unloving.  It’s easy to see how choosing to be angry can lead to other sins isn’t it?  This is a very important verse to hide in our heart.

Activity suggestions:
-Write James 1:19 on paper and cut it out in sections and see if your family can put the words in order. (keep cut outs for your last night)
-Sing the verse to the tune of Hear We Go Round the Mulberry Bush (You have to say “For the anger of man” quickly : )

Sing “Loving and Forgiving” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qo73k3yGX5Y

 


 

Day 7

This is our last day this week to talk about anger.  Someone tell me something that they have learned this week.  Have you had any moments this week where you were able to apply this Bible verse and God helped you to be slow to anger?  What did that show you about God’s Word?  (You can use this to talk about how God’s Word has power to help you fight sin)  Have you had a moment where you were not slow to anger?  What did you learn about yourself when that happened?  (You can use this to discuss how we can’t stop sinning and how we need Christ)

Remember how we played the game earlier this week where we pretended to do something that would make someone angry?  Let’s do that again and practice applying everything we talked about.  Make sure you remember to stop for minute, to be quick to hear, slow to speak (put that imaginary hand in front of your mouth), and then slow to anger.

Let’s talk about something new now.  We have already talked about ourselves and how WE are to be slow to anger.  What do you think the Bible says about God and anger?   Was Jesus ever angry?  Let’s read and see.

(Turn to as many of these examples as you would like.  Have your family look them up if they are old enough.)

Numbers 14:18
“The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, …”

Psalm 145:8 and Psalm 103 
God himself is slow to anger!

Numbers 22:22  Balaam’s donkey

Mark 10:13-14  Jesus was angry/indignant

When God is angry it is a righteous anger.  There is no sin involved in God’s anger.

Anger itself is not always sinful.  It’s what Satan tries to do in our mind once anger is there that is sin.  Remember to stop and think righteous thoughts of God’s Word so that the devil cannot take that anger and turn it into sin.  Read Ephesians 24: 26-27.  “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.”  Satan does not want you to succeed in serving God so be on guard when you are tempted to let anger cause you to sin.

Will we ever be able to not feel angry?  Nope!  We will feel angry sometimes and that is the way it will be till we are with God in heaven one day.  To try and keep this commandment we must call on the help of the Holy Spirit and we must remember God’s Word hidden in our heart.

Let’s say our key verse as we close our night.  Can anyone say it without looking?  Do you have it memorized now?  Take turns saying the verse. 

“Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.  For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”  James 1:19

Let’s pray that we can apply what we have learned this week to our daily lives.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for your Word.  We pray tonight that as we end our study on anger that you would help us to not forgot all you have shown us.  Help us father to apply it to our lives.  When we are tempted may we remember to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.  Protect us from the devil and give us the ability to stop our anger it before it turns to sin.  We love you Lord.  In Jesus name we pray, AMEN.

Sing Loving and Forgiving – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qo73k3yGX5Y

An activity suggestion could be cutting the verse out like the day before and having your family put the words in order.  Tonight, have them turn around while you take sections out and see if they know what is missing each time. 


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