Help students find positive ways to express, understand, and identify personal need in relation to anger.
Discussion Starter Options:
You can show this silly YouTube video made by a youth group—it’s about the destructive nature of anger (again, pretty silly, but it should set up your discussion adequately).
You can share a personal anger story—one that made the situation worse than when it started.
Anger itself is not bad. It’s part of being human—part of the emotional structure God put in us when he made us.
You see, we were all created with the capacity for emotional response. The human body is equipped with an automatic defensive system called “fight or flight.” When that system is turned on, adrenalin is pumped into the bloodstream, blood pressure increases, heartbeat accelerates, eyes dilate for better peripheral vision, hands sweat, the mouth gets dry, and muscles are supplied with a sudden burst of energy. Instantly we’re transformed to an alarm-reaction state. It’s an involuntary response—it’s impossible to ignore…like denying a toothache. The emotion of anger is often part of this response.
So, anger is not the problem…instead it’s our response to angry feelings that gets us into trouble.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: Before we dive in, everybody tell us your name and share about the things in life that get you the angriest.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: Each of you please share if you’re the kind of person who’s comfortable with your anger (and others’ anger) or if anger is something you prefer not to partake in (i.e., it makes you uncomfortable).
- ASK A FEW: So we know that anger is a natural emotion, and people have a wide variety of comfort levels with anger…but what does God have to say about anger?
Most of us have heard about Ephesians 4:26 (“in your anger do not sin”), but that’s not all the Bible has to say about anger. Check out these passages:
Read the following passages from the Bible:
ASK A FEW: What do these three verses say about our use of (or response to) the emotion of anger? (Leader—answer you’re looking for: Anger is foolish, it doesn’t produce God’s righteousness, and wise people turn away anger.)
ASK A FEW: Do these verses seem to say that anger in and of itself is wrong?
ASK A FEW: Is it better—even if you’re the type of person who likes to get anger off your chest—to “push anger aside” so that you can produce God’s righteousness?
You see, when we go around showing no self-control, two things usually happen. One: we tick off everyone around us. Two, we face consequences of our actions.
Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.
…human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
Mockers stir up a city,
but the wise turn away anger.
Many of us have tried to control our lives for a long time now and have failed miserably. God can take “out of control situations” and control them. But on the other hand…
Read the following passage from the Bible:
ASK A FEW: This passage doesn’t specifically say that Jesus was “angry,” but when you’re turning over tables, it’s pretty clear what your primary emotion is. What about Jesus’ angry actions demonstrate God’s righteousness? (Leader—answer you’re looking for: Because the money changers’/merchants’ actions were making the holy Temple “a den of robbers.”)
ASK A FEW: Does this passage make it easier for Christians to express anger (since Jesus got angry)…or does it make it harder for Christians to express anger?
ASK A FEW: Do you believe that some Christians use this passage to justify angry actions?
ASK A FEW: If so, can you name some examples from your personal experience (either your own actions or others’ actions—don’t name names, please).
AROUND THE CIRCLE: What things can you do this week to make sure that you’re not reacting inappropriately to anger?
12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”
We know that anger is a natural emotion. It’s okay to get angry. Jesus got angry. The key is to not let anger control your actions—instead, God should be the one in control of the things you do. Make sure that you go to God in prayer when you feel anger rising inside you. Check with God to make sure your anger is justified…and if so, don’t just “react” off the cuff. Take measured steps to express the fact that you’re angry, but don’t fly off the handle like someone who has no self-control.
If any of you would like to find out how God can help you deal with your anger, please talk to me or one of the other leaders after we’re done tonight.
Close in Prayer
Written by Dave Urbanski