Outreach Agendas, Topical Curriculum

Arizona Shooting Tragedy

Main Point of Discussion: Anger is a useful emotion when kept in check and used appropriately, but when left uncontrolled, it can quickly destroy relationships and even human lives. That’s why God commands us to control it and even limit it to one day.

Discussion Starter:
Say, On January 8, 2011, lone gunman Jared Lee Loughner opened fire on U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords during an outdoor event in Tucson, AZ, seriously wounding here; Loughner also shot randomly into the crowd, killing several people. Let’s watch a short news clip during which an eyewitness is interviewed about the shooting.

Here’s the link for the video: http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2011/01/10/arizona-shooting-court-appearance.html

Transitional Statement:
Senseless violence and tragedy of this kind usually leaves us in a state of confusion and even fear. But it is important that we process events that are the result of evil and humanity’s sinful nature so we can learn and grow from our experiences.

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.

Discussion Questions:

  1. AROUND THE CIRCLE: Before we dive in, everybody take a turn and tell us if there was ever a time when something happened when you were out in public that kind of freaked you out.

  2. ASK A FEW: Have you ever seen the result of someone’s anger causing harm? What happened?

  3. ASK A FEW: Do you think anger was probably one of the roots of Jared Lee Loughner’s murderous behavior? Why or why not?

  4. ASK A FEW: What was the cause of his anger?

  5. ASK A FEW: What are some things that make you angry?

  6. ASK A FEW: Do you think this tragedy could have been avoided if someone would have helped him work through his anger? Why or why not?

  7. Read the following passage from the Bible:

      Ephesians 4:26-27 (Amplified)
      When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down.

      Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him].

  8. ASK A FEW: What does this passage say about anger in general?

  9. ASK A FEW: Do you think some types of anger are okay? If so, what would that look like?

  10. ASK A FEW: What is the difference between anger and fury/rage?

  11. ASK A FEW: Why does God counsel us to take care of our anger before the sun goes down?

  12. ASK A FEW: How does uncontrolled and inappropriate anger give Satan an opportunity to negatively impact our lives?

  13. ASK A FEW: Do you think there was an element in the shootings in Arizona that were influenced by Satan? If so, what were they?

  14. ASK A FEW: How has anger given Satan opportunities in your life?

  15. ASK A FEW: How would your life be different if you never went to bed with anger in your heart?

  16. AROUND THE CIRCLE: What are specific ways you can start to apply these verses to your life?

Wrap Up:
Courageous people intervened in the Arizona shooting; in the same way, as Christians, we need to remember that we are gifted with the courage of Jesus and can do mighty things through his power in our lives. We must do good to others and not only keep evil out of our lives, but also confront it whenever it appears. We must be steadfastly courageous as well, relying on the courage that comes from Christ alone to intervene in all situations, especially during emergencies such as the Tucson shooting.

In the midst of this terrible incident, we need to remember to pray for the victims and all those impacted by the shootings. We also should take a lesson from Loughner, who let his anger give Satan an opportunity to gain a foothold in his life—to the point where he gave into murderous thoughts and actions.

Ask every student to take a few minutes and verbally “fill in the blanks” using the following prompts:

    I usually lose my temper when…

    Someone who can hold me accountable for my anger is…

    One way I can make certain that I’m not going to bed angry is…

After your students have answered the prompts, ask them to take a few minutes to pray for the victims of the Loughner shooting; also encourage them to ask God for the ability to control their anger and not give Satan a foothold in their lives.

Close in Prayer
Close in a prayer that gives students a chance to trust in Christ, then ask God to give everyone a peace that passes understanding in the areas of life that make them lose their temper.

Written by Lane Palmer


Jonathan McKee

Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Guy's Guide to FOUR BATTLES Every Young Man Must Face; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.

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