Argh! How do we manage our anger? I used the basis of the below for an assembly a while ago and then have subsequently used it all over the place in a variety of contexts with young people. Use it however you like if you find it useful, pass it on – no credit required!
Five things to consider:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” // Philippians 4:6
P Pray. We can pray about it, the Bible says, “don’t let the sun go down on your anger” (Ephesians 4 verse 26) woah, how do we do that then? It is hard to stay mad at people we pray for. I have a “point of view”, I see things from where I am standing, I have a perspective – one that you can’t see – because you are not me. God, however, rather than having a point of view – has an infinite number of viewing points. He can see what I cannot see, he knows what I cannot know. About me, about the situation, about why I am cross. A LOT of the prayers in the Bible are from angry people. They are not written by people who were perfect and floated 6 inches off the ground clothed in white and smiling patronisingly at everyone. They were real people. Who prayed to a real God. Who cared about their real needs – and the stuff that was really going on in their lives. The Lord’s prayer itself is also about ensuring we have the right perspective. Our sin angers God, but in his grace and mercy we find forgiveness when we confess our sin – right after, “Forgive us our sin” in the Lord’s prayer comes “as we forgive those who sin against us” (we might at times say that through gritted teeth!) Perspective and balance are right at the heart of the Lord’s prayer. In our anger we might cry, “but I have been sinned against!”, we should also remember, “Ahh, yes Lord, I am sorry, I too am a sinner.”
Don’t bottle things up, put a name to how you feel, why you might be lacking peace. “Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” // JK Rowling
E Explain. What’s up with you? “I dunno”, you look a bit cross, “I AM NOT CROSS!” Sometimes words just don’t seem enough OR we can’t put into words how we feel, why we are upset or angry . . . we maybe need to find a way of getting it out, explaining our anger (not necessarily to someone else, maybe ourselves!) We may not feel that we know ourselves why we are angry. Maybe you explain yourself better by writing stuff down, maybe you need time to get your thoughts together (some people can talk about how they feel – straight off the bat, some of us need time to think it through . . . )
“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” // R Niebuhr
A Accept. Some things that make us angry are things in the past. Maybe stuff we have done or stuff that has been done to us. We need to get to a place where we accept that things are as they are. Some things cannot be changed. We can be angry at being found out for example, rather than angry at ourselves for messing up and failing or getting something wrong. We don’t accept that something is our fault when – er, hello, it might clearly be our fault . . . its as if accepting it is admitting it. Well, good, maybe that is what we need to do! David in the Bible had an affair – he then had the husband of the woman he had an affair with killed, he arranged for him to be bumped off. Pretty Eastenders kind of stuff. Well, this prophet guy came and spoke to him, he told him a story about a man who had everything and stole something from someone who had much less – David got really angry! Then the prophet guy said, “its you”. OH. Bum. He then wrote Psalm 51 in the bible.
“I can rest in the fact that God is in control. Which means I can face things that are out of my control and not act out of control.” // Lisa TerKeurst
C Control. We can “loose control” and get angry. We can be “out of control” and just all over the place, most of time. We can be a “control freak” and when things don’t work out our way we go bananas! We can be frustrated by the control that others have over us . . . we can be angry at things that are “beyond our control”. Stuff we can’t do anything about. BUT, we can be in control of OURSELVES. Its called, SELF control – in the Bible this is a fruit of the Spirit, part of the evidence of God being at work in our lives.
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” // 1 Corinthians 2:9
E Expect. If we consider these things, we might find that we can expect to come out the other side of being angry or better able to manage our anger. When you think about your life as it is now, do you expect things for you to get better or worse from this point onwards? What do you expect? Why do you expect that? I believe, as a Christian that God has good plans for those that he created – you and me. We can walk through our lives, oblivious to the goodness of God, angry at Him and everything else. We might never change. Change though, is not just about needing better circumstances. Sometimes it is about needing a better US. You, in your situation might feel you are alone, and there is not much you can expect to change because – well, its just you! But, with God I know that I can expect HIM to be at work when I feel like giving up, HIM to be guiding me in a way that shows care to others rather than bitterness. I expect to change – not because I am great, but because God is great and working in me.
Pray // Explain // Accept // Control // Expect.
PEACE – When Jesus talks about Peace, he talks about it being given. “my peace, he says, I give you.” (John 14 verse 27), it is a GIFT. We cannot work ourselves up into a place of the kind of peace that Jesus is talking about. A peace, as he says, that the world cannot understand. However, we can deal with our anger through some of these ways, and if we pray, explain, accept, control and expect . . . then just maybe we make ourselves more able to receive – humbly and with thanks – this gift of peace that we so need in our lives – A peace with God through union with His Spirit, and a peace with each other through the Spirit too who IS our bond of peace (Ephesians 4 verse 3).
If you do use the above for an assembly, I suggest lobbing in your own ideas around those 5 things. You might want to have the first letter on cards for younger children, and adapt the language depending on the age of the children. Obviously not all of the above would be appropriate in an assembly – be aware of the culture and nature of the school.
I am also thinking of developing the five areas into an enrichment style session / lesson for PSHE. Any thoughts or contributions on that would be great, just lob some comments in!