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Anger: Our Master or Our Servant Creative Use of a Powerful Emotion Facilitator’s Guide By Larry Heath Communications should be addressed to: Turning Point Ministries, Inc. P. O. Box 22127 Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127 Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version.® Copyright ©1972, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.

©Turning Point, 1996. All rights reserved. All rights are reserved. No part of the material protected by this copyright notice may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system without written permission from the Turning Point Ministries. Cover Photo: Larry Foster Cover Design: Graphic Advertising Layout: Louise Lee

ISBN 1-58119-014-X

About the Author Larry Heath has served in local church ministry for over 40 years. Having served eight churches in two major denominations, he has developed extensive experience in pastoral counseling, marriage and family enrichment, and support group ministries. Much of his ministry is devoted to individual, couple, and family counseling; marriage enrichment seminars and retreats; and small group leadership training. He is the author of the Living Free curriculum Anger: Our Master or Our Servant and is a certified Living Free facilitator/trainer.

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127

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Anger: Our Master or Our Servant C

ontents Page

Introduction Getting Started

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Suggested Group Format

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Session One — You’re Angry! No, I’m Not! • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

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Session Two — What Is Anger? Its Composition • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 15 Session Three — Anger: What Causes It? • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 22 Session Four — When Anger Is a Sin (Part I) • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 29 Session Five — When Anger Is a Sin (Part II) • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 37 Session Six — Beginning Steps in Managing Your Anger Session Seven — Managing Your Anger

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Session Eight — Managing Anger in Your Marriage/Family Relationships • • • • • • • • 57 Session Nine — Accepting Responsibility for Managing My Anger • • • • • • • • • • 65 Selected Bibliography • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 72

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


Introduction

Anger: Our Master or Our Servant The importance of a vibrant, healthy faith is often seen as unrelated to one’s feelings. However, it is clear that our growth in our spiritual life is vitally related to our understanding of the role of our emotions and their powerful influence in developing a healthy faith. The stewardship of our mental health is vital in developing a well-balanced faith. Therefore, it is becoming more and more evident that we see how our feelings function and how biblically to manage or express them. One of the greatest concerns we have seen in this area is that Christians find it particularly difficult to accept the fact of anger in their lives. Many see anger as a feeling that is contradictory to their faith and “walk in the Spirit.”

clear principles on how to manage anger. This material provides a challenging journey into the powerful emotion of Anger. Few of us have been taught how to live with our feelings. We are taught how to think, but feelings often overwhelm and master the Christian. With spousal abuse, child abuse, violence, depression, and other problems on the rise in our culture, it is clear that anger and its potential for evil or righteousness need to be addressed from a biblical perspective.

This material provides a challenging journey into the powerful emotion of Anger.

So let’s get started on a journey that will hopefully provide new and exciting ways to understand and direct your anger to God’s purpose and plan for your life—a healthy Christian life.

The Bible presents some

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127

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Getting Started Group Size We suggest that each Anger: Our Master or Our Servant group have 2 group leaders (facilitators) and a maximum of 12 participants. Having more than 12 may prevent some from being a part of much-needed discussion. Preparation Time The facilitator’s material is written in an almost word-for-word dialogue. However, it is hoped that as you come to know and understand the concepts presented, you will be able to “personalize” each session to fit your own style better. Highlight the points you want to emphasize and make notes for yourself. Your group is unique—so adapt questions to their needs and situations. Be sensitive to each person who is in your group. Keep in mind that the answers provided for the discussion questions are only a tool to assist you and are by no means the only “right” answers to the questions being asked. Become thoroughly familiar with the four elements of each session: • Introduction • Self-Awareness • Spiritual Awareness • Application You’ll find more detail about these on the following pages. The facilitators should meet prior to each session to pray and to make final plans. They should also meet briefly after each session to discuss what happened during the meeting and to go over any follow-up that may be needed. Anger: Our Master or Our Servant Group Workbooks Before Session One, the workbooks should be distributed to each group member. Facilitators should be thoroughly familiar with the workbook before the first meeting. During the orientation, encourage group members to complete the appropriate assignments prior to each group meeting. Through the readings and other exercises in the workbook, group members can come to each session better prepared for meaningful discussion. Note that while group members are asked to read and think about the Scriptures to be covered, the discussion questions have been left out of the workbooks in order to enhance the spontaneity of the group process.

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Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


Suggested Group Format The group format for each session consists of four elements: Introduction, Selfawareness, Spiritual awareness, and Application. There is a reason for each phase. The facilitators should always plan each session with this format in mind. Part I. Introduction (10 minutes) Begin with prayer. The facilitator may pray or may ask one of the group members to lead in prayer. After the prayer, a sharing question helps put the group at ease and makes them more comfortable in being a part of the discussion. The lead facilitator should respond to the sharing question first, followed by the cofacilitator. This helps the group members to feel safer in participating in the exercise. After the facilitators have shared, the group members will share one after another around the circle. Always remind group members that they are not expected to share if they do not wish to. The rule is that everyone works within his or her comfort level and is welcome to pass. This is not the time for detailed conversation, so ask the members of the group to keep their comments brief. If a person is obviously in pain during the exercise, the facilitator should interrupt the sharing and pray for the person in pain. After prayer, the exercise may resume.

Part II. Self-Awareness (20-25 minutes) After the sharing question, the facilitator will lead the group into the Self-awareness phase. Self-awareness is a time to practice James 5:16, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” It is important to stay on the subject matter. This is a time to focus on needs and healing, not to have a “martyr” or “pity party.” It is suggested in Selfawareness that the facilitators ask the group members to share as they wish rather than going around the circle as in the introduction phase. This is because people are at various comfort levels, and they should not feel pressured to self-disclose if they are uncomfortable. As the group continues to meet, members will feel more and more comfortable in being a part of the discussion. Remember, prayer is always in order. If a group member is hurting during this phase, stop and pray. One of the facilitators may lead in prayer or ask another group member to pray. This says to the group members that each member is important and that you care about each individual.

Part III. Spiritual Awareness (20-25 minutes) After the Self-awareness phase, the facilitator will lead the group into the Bible study time. Having briefly explained the topic, the facilitator should assign Scriptures listed in the Facilitator’s Guide to group members. When each Scripture is called by the facilitator, the group member should read the verse(s). After the verses are read, give time for discussion. Part IV. Application (20 minutes) This part is actually a continuation of Part III. Ask for volunteers to share their reflections on the question. The facilitators should emphasize the importance of the group members’ applying biblical principles to their lives. Help for life-controlling problems begins with right thinking. The Bible says, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). Obedience to the Word should follow with right behavior. Right feelings will follow right thinking and right behavior.

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127

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1You’re Angry! No, I’m Not!

Session

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ntroduction Opening Prayer

Sharing Question Welcome to our first meeting on the study of anger. I’d like for each member to introduce himself/herself. I’ll begin by telling you that my name is…

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elf-Awareness

Allow 10 minutes Take a few moments and thank God for each person in the group. Express thanks for each group member’s desire to develop a healthy faith. As they explore God’s Word on the subject of anger, ask Him to help each member make a disciplined effort toward the goal of a Spirit-controlled life.

The purpose of this exercise is to help group members move toward being more comfortable in sharing with the group. Ask each one to introduce himself/herself, beginning with yourself and your cofacilitator.

Allow 20-25 minutes

People often struggle with a variety of problems that seem to surface such as marital conflicts, parenting issues, interpersonal and relational difficulties, depression, grief, even physical illness or pain; yet even while these issues are being discussed and addressed, anger often makes its appearance—in overt or covert ways. Often people will not recognize anger as a problem or issue but will deny or hide it. Anger is a part of being human. All of us have lost our tempers and lashed out at God, ourselves, or others. Many of us have silently boiled in rage or frustration at someone or something.

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Session 1

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


Perhaps you are reluctant to come to terms with the fact that we are people who get angry. Anger is not a passing fad or “psychological issue” that demands our brief attention. Anger is here to stay. It has been here since creation. We can observe anger in daily life. Most of us don’t want to be examples of losing our temper but generally want to appear as controlled, calm, and peaceful. Anger may be the most common emotional feeling we humans share. It is one of the earliest emotions expressed by an infant. As the infant develops some security with parents, he will begin to display infant anger and rage. We have all seen that sweet little baby stiffen his body, exhibit a change in facial expressions, scream, and express his frustrations. This is normal in a loving environment where a child expresses anger within certain supportive boundaries set by parents. Perhaps you have heard the following story: A mother heard her four-year-old son screaming and crying from the basement where he was watching his father build cabinets. Fearing the boy had been seriously hurt, she opened the door and saw him crying on the steps. “What in the world is wrong with you?” she demanded. Through his tears, the little boy replied, “Daddy hit his thumb with the hammer.” “If daddy hit his thumb with the hammer, then why are you crying?” “Well…I didn’t cry at first,” he explained, “I laughed.” Children raised in this kind of environment soon learn to hide their anger as much as possible. Children get very little positive help in learning how to manage their angry feelings. Parents need to be thoughtful enough to explain ways in which their child’s anger can be expressed with their permission. Children learn to feel guilty for experiencing the feelings of anger and down right sinful for expressing it. Read the following 1974 report from the Joint Commission on Mental Health of Children (Dobbins, 78-79). The role of violence and its encouragement in young children must be faced squarely. Some children meet abuse and angry outbursts at the hand of their parents. Nearly all children are exposed to graphic violence over the television screen. Through possible imitation of and identification with these models, patterns of violent behavior may be easily acquired.

Session 1

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127

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Of at least equal importance are the patterns by which the young child is taught to handle his own frustrations, his own angry feelings, and the constructive or destructive acts for which he comes to feel responsible. Possibly no other area represents as profound a source of pathology in our culture as the handling of anger and aggression. Ask your group to comment on this report. Do children raised in Christian families experience less family violence than secular families? How good a job are Christian families doing in providing instruction and guidance in the matter of helping family members understand, control, and direct feelings of anger properly ?

What are some examples of situations that cause people to respond with anger? Ask your group to list various everyday situations that could evoke anger in a person.

As you can see, your examples of anger in daily life show us that anger can range from irritation to explosive responses in people. The clichés we use can reveal some interesting information about anger. What are some common ways we define anger in clichés?

Ask your group to describe ways they encourage others to control their anger. What metaphors do we often use?

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Personal response.

Christian families probably experience and are less subject to family violence than unsaved or secular families. However, due to the fact that Christians continue to see being angry as being bad or even a terrible sin, parents probably need to improve by not responding to normal angry feelings in a suppressive or punitive way.

A slow driver in front of you, divorce, loss of your job, child abuse, overworked mom and dad, ways people respond to others, rebellious child, accidents, health crisis, natural disaster (flood, etc.), misunderstandings, low self-esteem.

“He’s hot under the collar.” “He’s a pain in the neck.” “He burns me up!” “They are boiling mad.” “He makes me so mad!” “Who does he think he is?”

“Cool down for a few minutes.” “Count to ten.” “Take a walk around the block.”

Session 1

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


Without emotional expression, life would be “unfelt” and appear as only rational or cognitive. However, thoughts and behaviors are connected to our feelings. Rational thought alone will not provide the energy needed to function as human beings in experiencing life. We all require feelings to motivate us sufficiently to do the enjoyable in life as well as experience suffering and pain. Ask your group: How do children, youth, and adults differ in their expression of anger? Give examples.

Children can move quickly from emotion to emotion.They can cry one minute and laugh the next. Children can show anger in various ways; i.e., yelling, pouting, hitting, even become depressed by holding in the anger. Teens may struggle with anger through conflict with others; withdrawal; becoming isolated; fighting with peers and siblings; becoming aggressive with parents, teachers, and authority figures. Adults reveal their anger through bitterness, resentment, self-pity, and lethargy or a depressed mood. Events in adult transitions such as mid-life, death of a loved one, marriage, and singleness can also provoke feelings of anger.

Ask your group to share some situations that are examples of anger in various developmental stages of life (childhood, adolescence, adulthood). These may come from personal or other sources.

Personal response.

Your group may now begin to open up regarding some events or situations that have or continue to evoke anger or angry responses in their lives. Be sensitive to these and note any that may need prayer or discussion at a later time. Be careful not to stimulate discussion of detailed issues in group members’ lives.

Spiritual Awareness Lead-In Everyone from infancy on experiences angry feelings. These feelings are a part of God’s design in our internal being that help people have the energy to be motivated to accomplish tasks, even difficult or threatening ones. To better understand ourselves and the emotion of anger, let’s examine God’s Word on this subject. Session 1

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127

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piritual-Awareness

Allow 20-25 minutes

Read the following scriptures and reflect on what God’s viewpoint is regarding anger.

Assign scripture references to group members to be read aloud and discussed.

Genesis 1:28 God gave Adam and Eve an assigned task to subdue the earth and maintain dominion over it. What part did their internal energies play in carrying out this commission?

Motivation, aggressiveness, and taking control were necessary ingredients in carrying out this task. Point out that this aggressiveness was created and functioning in Adam and Eve prior to the fall of man.

From where did the motivation come?

The motivation came from God.

Adam and Eve had the capacity to be angry before the fall but there was nothing to activate anger.

What does this say about anger being a result of the fall and thus a sinful emotion?

Psalm 7:11 Ask your group to discuss how God can be angry.

Ephesians 4:26 What does this passage say about anger as a God-created energy and how each individual is responsible for how it is managed?

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Adam and Eve were given this emotional power prior to the fall. It apparently was given as a part of their biological and spiritual entity and not seen as sinful. Everything God created He called “good.”

God created our emotional being, and we are created in His image. How can we see anger itself as sinful if God gets angry? Point out to your group that God’s righteous anger is directed toward defeating sin and unrighteousness.

The Bible makes it clear that anger is an ethically neutral instrument or force that can be used to glorify God and not for sinful thoughts or behaviors. It has potential for danger and can lead to sin. We are to deal with it quickly lest it lead to greater harm. We will be discussing this passage in a later session so mark it as an important text.

Session 1

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


Ephesians 4:27 What is the potential danger that Paul warns the Christian about in this verse?

What does this verse and the previous passage (Ephesians 4:26) teach us about reducing or preventing an environment of hostility, bitterness, strained personal relationships, and their effects on our spiritual growth?

Hebrews 12:15 Since anger is a strong emotion, it is important to recognize that it can wreck havoc on a person’s emotional life and personal relationships if one allows it rule or master him/her. Discuss what causes this to happen and what the result is according to this passage.

Genesis 4:1-8 Hebrews 12:15 shows us what can happen to relationships if anger is held unchecked. In this passage in Genesis, how is Cain and Abel’s relationship defiled when anger masters and controls Cain?

Anger can gain mastery of a person’s personality and thus open the door to Satan’s temptation and lies leaving the habitually angry person vulnerable to sinful thoughts and actions. Christian mental and spiritual health that keeps a Christian open to growth, teachable, and maturing is characterized by humility, teachableness, and peace, not a stubborn, angry, unteachable spirit that gives Satan a foothold.

Unchecked anger between loved ones can grow into bitterness, resentment, even hatred and could lead to physical or verbal abuse (defilement means to behave or act toward God and others in a sinful, unholy manner).

The murder of Abel is indicative of what can happen when anger goes into rage. One can defile himself and others. Our culture is not different than that of Genesis.

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127

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Mark 3:1-6 Did Jesus experience anger?

Describe the place anger played in this event in Jesus’s life. Did Jesus sin when He was angry?

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pplication

Jesus experienced anger, and He expressed it! The Pharisees wanted to find some reason to trap Jesus.They were more interested in watching Jesus to see if He would break the law of the Sabbath by healing this man. Jesus was angered at their lack of compassion and disregard for healing. He healed the man immediately! Jesus was sinless (Hebrews 4:15).

Allow 20 minutes Ask your group to discuss the implications of uncontrolled anger in personal life, family, marriage, and society at large. Use some or all of the questions below to encourage participation in this time of sharing.

Anger is a normal emotion that can be used for good or evil. What have you been taught about expressing anger that is not healthy?

Personal response.

What have you discovered about anger in this session that will help you accept anger as a normal, God-given emotion?

Personal response.

How aware are you of anger in your life, and what are some areas in which you may need to make changes?

Personal response.

The Bible encourages us to find ways to manage our anger. As we accept anger as a common part of life, it is imperative that we learn scriptural, practical, and healthy ways to make anger our servant. As you conclude this session and continue your journey into understanding this powerful force, pray for God’s guidance to discover where you are in accepting your anger and the need to make it your servant for God’s glory. Study carefully the Anger Log and Anger Expressions forms on pages 13 and 14 (Pages 9 and 10 in workbook). You will see these charts again in Session 7 for later comparisons.

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Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


MY ANGER LOG Day

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Frequency How many times do you get angry each day inwardly or outwardly? Place a number for each day.

Intensity On the average, from 1-10 what is the intensity of your anger today? (10 = intense; 1= barely breathing)

Duration How many minutes do you usually remain angry? Use an average.

Negative Expression How many times does your anger lead to negative expression?

Positive Expression How many times does your anger lead to positive expression?

Disturbs Relationships On the average, did your anger today help or hinder relationships? (9= helpful; 1 =disaster)

Fill out the Anger Expressions chart on page 14. Consider the last two times you got angry at each person and how you expressed it. Now observe how you express your anger the next time you get angry at each person.

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127

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ANGER EXPRESSIONS ✍ Mark with a check (✓) how you expressed anger to each person most recently. Person

Hold it back

Indirect

Direct

Spouse Children Parents Employer Coworker Friends Which type of expression do you tend to use most? What can you do to make your anger expression healthier and more productive?

✍ Think about the following people toward whom you might express anger. How do they respond when you express anger? Write down how you will respond the next time.

Person

Response

How I will respond differently the next time

Spouse Children Mother Father Boss Friends

✍ Think of a constant provoking behavior or situation and then think of a change that you can make when all else fails.

Charts taken from When Anger Hits Home by Gary Jackson Oliver and H. Norman Wright, Moody Press, 1992. Used by permission.

Closing Prayer Conclude this session with a brief prayer led by your cofacilitator that encourages members to ask the Lord to help them be open in the area of growing in accepting their anger and continuing to use it for God’s glory. 14

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Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


2What Is Anger? Its Composition

Session

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ntroduction Opening Prayer

Allow 10 minutes Convene the group by beginning with prayer.You may choose to lead the prayer or request one or two persons to have a brief prayer. Ask God to help each member desire to discover ways he/she can mature in his/her understanding of his/her emotions which will contribute to a healthy Christian faith.

Sharing Question

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Name one positive quality you admire in your parents’ life. Share this with your group members.

Personal response.

Do you recall any negative qualities in your parents that upset or angered you? Name one or two of them.

Personal response.

elf–Awareness

Allow 20-25 minutes

We humans often see anger in an exaggerated way. Sometimes simple irritation may be misunderstood as fullblown anger causing us subsequent guilt or fear of this normal human emotion. Anger is a common, human, everyday emotional reaction that people feel in response to a variety of situations. It begins in infancy, and evidently we don’t feel guilty about it. However, as we mature, we do develop guilt about our anger due to our parents’ angry responses to us and seeing them get angry with us. In being reared and rearing our children, we all have become very familiar with anger and what it produces. Ask group members to recall daily episodes or events in their everyday life as children or adults that are examples of how common anger is in our lives.

Our children can become masters of knowing instinctively how to anger Mom and Dad. For example: “I sat here first.” “Mom, he’s picking on me!” “He hit me first.” Mom is ignored at her work and at home. Dad isn’t responding to her cry for help.The dog chews up the new chair.The cat got out! Etc., etc., etc.

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127

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We all know what it is to see a family and its members angry. Of course, we all should know it is healthy to feel guilty when our expressions of anger are undisciplined, destructive, or abusive. We have seen that anger is experienced by God, who is Spirit, and His highest creation, mankind. To pretend that anger doesn’t exist is unrealistic and even unhealthy. Anger can appear to be a difficult emotion to define. In coming to a clear and understandable definition, we would do well to see anger as a rather complex entity yet definable and recognizable.

Let your group members know that in the Turning Point Curriculum Insight Group the topic of denial is addressed. Encourage members to recall what they have learned about this topic, and if they have not participated in an Insight Group, they should do so.This will help members who tend to deny the fact of anger and its existence in their personal life.

Anger is generally felt as intense energy or a progressive surge of emotional energy that involves one’s thoughts, feelings or emotions and behaviors, or actions. Thus in experiencing this feeling, we find it hard to separate these three parts. Anger Is Physiological Dr. Richard D. Dobbins defines anger as “unexpressed energy.” A physiological response occurs when “a biochemical reaction is triggered which results in the creation of unusual amounts of energy for your use in facing a perceived threat. “…Once you are angry, you are in possession of energy which cannot be destroyed. Until you determine what form the expression of your energy will take, you have committed no sin. Your moral challenge is this: You are responsible to determine what you will do with the energy your anger has created” (82). So, first of all we see anger as a God-created energy, and we should not see anger as a sinful creation. Explain to the group that because anger is often connected to sinful thoughts or actions, we tend to think of the feeling of anger as sin. The thoughts and actions of people can be controlled; the emotional energy is God-given and designed for good.

Ask your group members to list ways in which they experience anger as a physiological phenomenon.

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Refer your group back to the material in Session One and read the Spiritual Awareness Lead-in to the group again.

Our bodies can reveal that we are experiencing anger: facial expressions change, heart rate increases, arms tremble, lips tighten, voice is raised, grinding of teeth, verbal expressions of the feeling are voiced. (Example: “He‘s a pain in the neck.”)

Session 2

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


Anger Involves Our Thoughts The surge of energy we feel in our body is processed through mental, cognitive, or thought processes. Whether we act out these strong feelings whenever anger occurs depends on our thoughts about the situations, ourselves, or others we see as stimulating our anger. Our mental attitude will determine our response to this energy. How does a person’s thoughts about a situation that makes them angry affect their response to it or to others when they are angry?

Our beliefs about ourselves, the threat we are facing, how we have been taught to respond to anger can all affect our response. Since our thoughts are under our control, it offers hope to group members that anger can be controlled and become a servant and not a master of our life. Example: A wife can become very angry at her husband and be yelling at him. Suddenly the phone rings. She can immediately control her expression of anger (yelling) and begin speaking calmly and softly to the person on the phone. Her anger at her husband is intense (she feels it in a strong way) and is related to her expectations of him (this viewpoint is in her thoughts), and her response to the person on the phone is based on a different set of thoughts regarding expectations (be polite, does not want to appear out of control, etc.). Help your group members understand that the thoughts related to anger is an important part of anger composition.

Anger Is Action (Behavioral) The words and actions people use (or do not use) to express the surge of anger they feel is the third component of anger. A broad range of expressions may occur. There are a variety of expressions that reveal varying degrees of anger one can feel once they experience anger or react to a situation in anger. A few of these are listed:

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127

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abhor annoyed begrudge burned up with cool to cranky criticize cross crushed disdain disguised despise enraged exasperated fed up with frustrated furious give someone grief griped grouchy grumpy

hot huffy hurt ill-tempered incensed indignant inflamed infuriated irked irritated jealous laugh at loathe mad mean miffed moody offended out of sorts provoked

resentful repulsed sarcastic savage scorn sick of sore spiteful testy ticked off to kid touchy troubled turned off uptight vexed vicious worked up Ask your group to think of others they would add to this list. Wait for members to look over the list of expressions and perhaps give their own additions. Point out to the group that angry feelings and responses can vary in degree of intensity.Therefore, they should see anger as progressive; i.e., irritated to vicious and resentful, and this offers a person a chance to control it.

To summarize, we see anger as a complex emotion that is composed of feeling, thoughts, and behaviors. This offers hope that anger can be a positive force for good and can be used as a constructive energy in the Christian life.

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Session 2

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


Spiritual Awareness Lead–in Anger can be used for good or evil. As part of our body’s natural response system, it can be directed in positive ways. Let’s open God’s Word and gain insight into how He views anger and how it can be utilized to motivate people to do His will and purpose.

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piritual Awareness It is interesting to discover the biblical words for anger. Two frequently used Greek words for anger are thumus and orge . Thumus means turbulent commotion, temper, rage. Orge describes a long-lasting attitude of revenge or resentment. Other words are used in Scripture to define anger.

Allow 20-25 minutes Assign scripture references to group members to be read aloud and discussed.

Ask group members to research anger in a biblical concordance (i.e., Strong’s Concordance), a biblical dictionary, or Greek-English lexicon. Ask one or two members to volunteer to locate passages from these sources and bring back a brief repor t on their research at the next meeting. Another option to this assignment would be to provide a concordance or other resources at this meeting and give the group time to complete the assignment.The following scripture gives examples of anger and its expression as seen in a variety of characters and situations.

Exodus 32:19-24 Moses was angry. As a godly leader of Israel, how did he express his anger?

His intense anger motivated him to hurl the tablets of stone to the ground, burn the golden calf, restore order and control in the Hebrew camp.

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127

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Judges 14:1-19; 15:1-5, 14-16 Take time to read this entire passage of Scripture. This familiar story of Samson may need to be reviewed and summarized for the group. Take a few minutes to do this. You may appoint several group members to read short portions of these passages. Note especially verse 19. What action does Samson take in Judges 15:3-5, 15?

Judges 15:14 How did the anointing of the Holy Spirit and Samson’s anger combine to accomplish God’s will?

Anger motivated Samson to take strong action against the Philistines. He burned their cornfields and slew 1,000 men.

God used Samson’s physical strength and competitive, aggressive emotions to display His power and accomplish certain tasks.

I Samuel 15:10-31 How does anger motivate Samuel to speak a prophetic word to Saul? In this passage, God rejects Saul as King of Israel. Anger at sin and disobedience prompted Samuel to speak aggressively in anger to Saul. He delivered God’s Word to a disobedient king.

How did Saul respond to this strong word from the Lord? He was humbled and confessed his sin. Sometimes anger at a sin can produce spiritual results.

I Samuel 17 How did David’s anger motivate him to compete with the evil giant Goliath?

Anger at the pagan Philistine army and their leaders inspired David to overcome fear and win a major battle.

What behaviors did he display as a result of his anger? He risk his life for righteousness and the accomplishment of God’s will in his life and Israel’s destiny.

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Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


John 2:13-25 What role did anger play in Jesus’s action of purging the temple?

Acts 15:35-40 Do you believe that Paul and Barnabas who were serving the Lord together as early New Testament ministers of the gospel expressed any anger toward one another in this conflict?

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The anger motivated Him to carry out a righteous indignation, even a strong rage, toward the abuse of His Father’s temple which was a house of prayer, not commerce.

Apparently it was a heated and contentious conflict that led to their separation as fellow ministers of the gospel. However, their anger did not terminate their doing God’s will as ministers of the gospel and their missionary endeavors.

pplication

Allow 20 minutes

Scripture indicates anger can be a positive emotion that motivate a person to speak and do God’s will and purpose. How do you see anger as a positive influence in your life and family?

Personal response. Example: Firm but loving discipline by parents may have been motivated by appropriate anger at wrong behaviors in the children. Parents also may be motivated by low-level anger in a positive way to challenge their children to be and do their best in school or in whatever they attempt to do.

Examine your understanding of anger as being a three-part entity: emotion, thought, action. Make an effort this week to become more conscious of these three components as you experience anger in your life.

Example: Anger at Satan and sinful behaviors, speech, conduct, and so forth can help families seek God and develop Christian values. For example, the influence of drugs, alcohol, pornography, wrong types of friendship, sexual misconduct, etc.

Closing Prayer Request each group member to take a moment and ask God to make them more sensitive and discerning of their anger and expressions of anger. Encourage them to pray for God’s Word to enlighten their understanding of appropriate and inappropriate anger.

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127

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3Anger: What Causes It?

Session

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ntroduction Opening Prayer

Allow 10 minutes Have a period of prayer that will address several specific needs of group members. Have several give prayer requests as they feel led to do so. Encourage a spirit of intercession and concern for one another and their prayer needs. Conclude prayer with a few “praise reports” on how growth is coming along in the area of this study on anger. Give positive feedback to any progress being made in application of truth that has been learned.

Sharing Question

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When you take a vacation, what is one activity you really enjoy doing? Why is it special to you? How does it help you relax?

Personal response.

elf–Awareness

Allow 20-25 minutes

In looking at what causes anger, let us not forget what we have learned about anger up to this point. In summary, we have seen that anger can be viewed as a universal, human emotion that comes as standard equipment “on loan” from God. It is biological and is experienced by humans as a common feeling. It can be used for good or evil. Anger has a set of parts: (1) physiological, (2) emotional, and (3)cognitive(that is, related to our thought processes). It is experienced at all age levels by both Christians and non-Christians.

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Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


What makes people angry?

Actually the answer could really be “nothing!” In fact, it is people themselves who make themselves angry. What this means is that we must show “ownership” of our anger. Help group members see that their anger is their anger. It is simple to say this, but it does take some work to admit that anger is a personal emotion and how one learned to express it while growing up in their family will often determine how they respond with their anger.

Over time then, we see that anger can be a learned response which can come from how our parents handled anger. Also, our view of each situation and our thinking or belief about ourselves, others, and the threat we are facing can often determine our response. So then the anger is ultimately ours! We can all respond to the biological surge of energy in a variety of ways, some of which we have learned or not learned in our upbringing. Describe various expressions of anger that you have seen in others.

It may include feelings of irritation, hatred, resentment, verbal or physical aggression, frustration,and other expressions.These may vary based on the individual’s interpretation or belief about what is happening to them.

Is anger simply a biological or animalistic response?

No. God has given man a free will and free thought to control his feelings, thoughts, and actions.

How accurate is it to say that man is subject only to his passions and has no decision or responsibility as to how he responds in expressing his anger?

To reduce man to DNA or even claim that he is controlled by evil spirits and a sinful nature is not an accurate biblical view of man and his responsibility for self-control and change of his thoughts and actions.

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127

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A variety of secular theories explore the causes of anger in man. Some say that aggression is purely biological and at odds with his psychological processes. Others say that biological and genetic structure, blood chemistry, or even brain damage or disease can cause anger. Psychologists, behavioral scientists, sociologists, and others have researched and theorized about anger and its causes for many years. Perhaps some of this data is constructive in understanding man as a biological being; however, there is yet to be discovered a gene or hormone that can or will control a man’s hate, marital conflict, war, murder, etc. Anger is caused by many other influences that are not physical alone. Anger can be stimulated by external and internal factors to help simplify our discussion. A few external factors are: (1) Our childhood and what we learned about anger in us and our family, (2) Our theology and what we were taught in our church and Sunday school, (3) Some types of vocations (for example, shift work where sleep deprivation occurs and high stress jobs and work situations), (4) Everyday living, driving in heavy traffic, seasonal stress (vacation, Christmas), (5) A person’s over-all health, medications (some medications have side-effects that may stimulate anger).

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What are some jobs and work situations that seem to stimulate anger?

Mothers who work outside the home, age-related promotions (younger men taking over older men’s positions), firings, power struggles.

List other situations that may cause anger.

Encourage your group to name other situations that can cause arousal of angry feelings.

Does heavy traffic always arouse anger?

It depends on your response. After all, remember, it is your anger. If you are late or tired, heavy traffic may stimulate angry feelings.

Session 3

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


Internal Factors That Stimulate Anger Various feelings and attitudes toward ourselves can produce anger. How can feelings of low self-esteem, inferiority, and inadequacy produce anger?

People who are self-centered either negatively or positively can be preoccupied with their feelings all of the time and thus see threats or normal events as causing them more hurt and pain than others who experience the same events.

How does a perfectionist personality or tendency in a person complicate their struggle with anger in their life?

No one is perfect.These type of people are usually easily angered because they want to believe they are always right. Anything or anyone who blocks their goals may become a target of their anger, including themselves.

Other internal causes of anger could be feelings of guilt. We often express anger at ourselves or others if we are judged by others or become jealous of someone and feel guilty about it. Rejection, painful memories of our past, and “put downs� can produce feelings of resentment and hostility. Our physical health, pain, recovery from surgery, illness, biochemical changes (premenstrual syndrome, puberty, pregnancy, etc.)can contribute to anger. Being aware of these causes can help a person better prepare to deal with anger if these stresses tend to arouse angry feelings.

Spiritual Awareness Lead-In As simple as it may appear that anger can result from certain situations inside and outside of us, the Bible can help us locate the real causes of our human tendency to become angry and thus let anger master and control our lives.

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127

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piritual Awareness

Allow 20-25 minutes

Ask your group to read the following scriptures aloud. Appoint members to read the various passages in this study of what the Bible says about the causes of our anger.

Assign scripture references to group members to be read aloud and discussed.

Genesis 3:1-7 When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, how did their weaknesses (sin opened to them a new self-awareness and self-centeredness) and pain, irritations, and fears contribute to their anger?

Genesis 4:1-8 How did the sinful, fallen nature of Cain contribute to his sinful use of anger which resulted in the murder of his brother Abel?

When Adam and Eve experienced sin, guilt, fear, and the inability to meet their deepest human needs left them easy targets for pride, being hurt and offended, capable of offending others, and feeling alone and helpless.This set the stage for blame, resentment, frustration and selfrejection , self-protection, and a general sense of emptiness.These all resulted in a greater tendency to use anger in a negative, selfish, and sinful way. It opened the door for anger to be subject to the limitations of their fallen spiritual state and the prospect of anger being used in a sinful way. The sinful attitude of jealousy, resentment, and rebellion issued forth in ungodly action. He used anger in a sinful way.

Jonah 4:1-9 Jonah was very angry. In this passage, what is revealed in Jonah’s angry episode as the cause of his anger?

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He is wallowing in self-pity, depression, and disappointment in God’s decision to spare the city of Ninevah. In Jonah’s anger, he dialogues with God, and God responds to Jonah’s selfish, angry responses. Even people who preach the message of God can be overcome with anger that is rooted in and provoked by their yielding to their sinful nature.

Session 3

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


John 18:4-11 Peter was angry and acted out of his impulsive personality and sinful aggression toward Malchus. Can you identify with Peter’s sense of helplessness? Or can you see his sense of disgust at the other disciples for their apparent lack of response in the crisis Jesus was facing?

Was this response totally centered in Peter’s sinful nature?

Galatians 5:18-21 What does this passage give as the source of strife and anger between people?

Hebrews 12:14-15 When we carry resentment or a grudge against someone, what is the danger we are warned about in this passage of Scripture?

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pplication

It is clear that in our human nature and sinful desires we submit more readily to non-scriptural ways of expressing our anger. Our awareness of this cause of anger will alert us to the primary source of sinful anger in our lives. As human beings, we are restless and unfulfilled in our desires to reach the potential we see in ourselves or our relationship with others. The sinful nature of man places limitations on his ability to have these natural desires and needs adequately met, so man stays frustrated and restless in this condition. Even after someone accepts Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour, he will continue to struggle with the pull of this force on his new life in Christ. Read Galatians 5:16-17 to your group. What are the results of living by the Spirit?

Although Peter appeared to try and help Jesus, he didn’t respond in love.

It was both a human and self-centered action. It was not what Jesus desired him to do.

The purpose of this Spiritual awareness The source of strife and anger between people is the works of the flesh or manifestation of the sinful nature, so the source of sinful expressions of anger flow out of the flesh. (Sarx is the Greek word for the fallen, rebellious nature of the human race.)

An unwillingness to forgive others, recognize our faults, pride, and selfishness will ultimately lead to possible sinful expressions of anger.This is in direct opposition to God’s Word.

Allow 20 minutes Assign the verses to group members to be read aloud. Use the suggested questions as a starting point, and discuss as time allows. Focus on what each one has to say about goodness (the blend of courage, fortitude, and resolution).

“You will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127

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Closing Prayer Before praying for the group, ask members to make it a daily prayer to become more aware of the causes of their anger. Where the sinful nature is pulling them down and where they experience weakness, pray that God will give them the courage to yield to the power of the Holy Spirit. Pray they will be enlightened in their personal battle with sinful expressions of anger may be strongholds in their lives. Assure them that they can overcome the works of the flesh by yielding to the Holy Spirit and God’s Word! If it is appropriate and time permits, allow several members to share their specific needs for prayer in this area. Lead the group in prayer or have members support those with special needs in small prayer groups. Be sure to keep this limited to the time allotted for this segment.

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Session 3

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


4 When Anger Is a Sin (

Session

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ntroduction

Allow 10 minutes

Opening Prayer

Have a brief prayer for the group requesting God to speak through His Word in this session and Session Five. Pray that each member will become clear in their understanding of when anger is sinful and what to do if they are acting out sinful patterns of anger.

Sharing Question

The purpose of this exercise is to provide another opportunity for group members to share a part of their daily lives—apart from their problem areas— with the group. Invite everyone to respond.

Have group members share their favorite vacation place (beach, mountains, home, etc.) and the first thing they like to do once they reach their favorite spot.

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Part I)

elf–Awareness

Allow 20-25 minutes

Frank B. Minirth and Paul D. Meier state, “Whenever feeling any significant anger toward yourself, God, or anybody else, you will best handle that anger if you immediately analyze whether it is appropriate or inappropriate. You will gain insight into your anger” (p. 149).

Read the following vignette:

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127

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Jane and George are wife and husband. Jane is the expressive partner in the marriage. Outgoing, friendly, and assertive, she is quick to express her opinions and her dissatisfactions about people or events in her life. Jane is also prone to sudden bursts of angry words and, in some cases, loud shouting and door slamming. Her husband George is the opposite of his wife in many ways. A calm person with steady emotions, he is conscious of his image in public and, therefore, he strives to be in control of himself and his feelings. He seeks to avoid confrontations because he finds the feelings they raise in himself too uncomfortable. George rarely expresses his anger or disappointment in public, but occasionally loses his temper with his children. In arguments with his wife, George seeks to remain calm and in control. He is afraid that displays of his own anger will further inflame his wife, making a bad situation worse. He tries to control himself in arguments with Jane, because her anger is a picture to him of what he does not want to be, visibly enraged and out of control. But George is angry inside. His anger remains unexpressed. He argues his case mentally after the main event, even muttering swear words, when his wife has stormed out of the room. George and Jane illustrate two basic ways people tend to handle their angry feelings—rage and resentment—ways that have very few benefits. These styles spring, in part, from a person’s own temperament and also as learned habits of anger response. Rage is the act of giving in to our feelings of anger and blowing up, usually verbally, although rage may also be manifest as swearing, screaming, criticizing, condemning, name calling, or throwing tantrums. Resentment is the act of holding anger feelings inside. It is usually characterized by angry thoughts or unkind, unfriendly feelings in the presence of another. George, in the above example, may be slower to realize his problem than Jane, whose problem is on public display. In fact, Jane feels very guilty and ashamed of her anger at her family and she wants to change and improve her relationships. George, on the other hand, often feels self-righteous and believes that he is the injured party, since he did not “lose his cool.” His inner resentments and bitterness are much more harmful than his wife’s displays of anger, since he fails to recognize or deal with his problem. Both of these styles of anger expression can be harmful and sinful, because they destroy human relationships. Both George and Jane are controlled by their feelings and neither is free to act in consciously thoughtful ways that seek to resolve problems and build relationships. (Counseling for Anger by Mark P. Cosgrove, PhD., 1988. Word, Inc. Dallas, Texas. Used with permission.)

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Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


What does this vignette reveal about two basic styles of expressing anger?

One person (Jane) is open and may vent her feelings of anger on her husband. One person (George) may express his resentment by holding his feelings inside.

Dr. Cosgrove points out that burying your anger or suppressing it may be the way many people handle their anger. What are some expressions people use to describe this form of managing anger?

They may describe it as “sit on it,” “can it,” “stuff it,” “bottle it up,” “keep the lid on it.” When we bury our anger inside, it may often result in holding it in or depositing it on another person or thing.This displacement can take a variety of forms such as avoiding the issue or person that angered you.You may reveal your anger in another form known as passive-aggressive behavior. Examples are: being late for work, picking on the kids or wife, dumping your anger at home, or even “kicking the cat.” Being unresponsive to a situation or person may indicate you are “holding in anger” toward them or some situation that involves them.This can build into a low level of resentment or bitterness. Sometimes it may be disguised as sarcasm, ridicule, or critical joking or humor.

Is it possible that a Christian could suppress his anger in the above ways we have seen as inappropriate because he feels anger is sinful and cannot be expressed?

Yes! In fact, the Bible teaches that resentment and bitterness are wrong; therefore, sin could develop from holding anger inside.The thoughts one has toward another that are not honestly expressed may result in a sinful expression that would not occur if the person had an honest, open leveling with others.To level with someone—self, God, or another—is to risk sharing your feelings in open, honest, carefrontation rather than isolating your feelings.You may find it difficult to share your angry feelings with another, but it will help prevent sinful responses.

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127

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Development of Emotional Problems Related to Anger Phase 1: Hurt Bruised feelings from personal slight or disappointment. Phase 2: Frustration Feeling that comes when life tells you NO! Phase 3: Fear Feeling that comes with loss of control and anticipation of reprisal. Phase 4: Anger Feelings of hurt that are complicated by frustration and fear. Phase 5: Wrath Anger that has “brewed overnight” which gets stronger and grows into bitterness and unforgiveness. Phase 6: Hostility Anger collected and aggressive. Phase 7: Hate Bottled-up hostility which may be turned inward in depression or grow to the point of exploding into violence directed at one’s self or toward the person or group that is blamed for the original hurt. Recovery: To deal with anger, go back to the hurt, acknowledge the hurt, take responsibility for your part, and forgive the other person for their part. By Dr. Raymond Brock. Used by permission.

This chart is a helpful way of viewing how sinful expressions of anger develop when a person does not process this emotion properly. When a person holds anger inside, what other symptoms can possibly develop?

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When people tend to be preoccupied with the thoughts, hurts, and losses that may build up over a period of time, it drains their energy and mental alertness and even contributes to bodily stress. Studies have shown a link between suppressed anger and hypertension and a rise in heart disease. We also know that anger and pent-up feelings can aggravate muscle tension.

Session 4

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


Spiritual Awareness Lead-In The Scriptures tell us a great deal about holding in our anger and how it could become a place for sin to develop and thus provide a place for the devil to create a stronghold.

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piritual Awareness

Allow 20-25 minutes

The following scriptures show us how unresolved anger does harm and how to deal with the problem.

Assign scripture references to group members to be read aloud and discussed.

Ephesians 4:31 How important is it to discharge pent-up anger according to this Scripture?

Ephesians 4:30 Is there a connection between grieving the Holy Spirit and holding in anger?

Ephesians 4:32 What action should replace a grudge or resentment?

II Samuel 12:1-25 Have your group read this and briefly note that in verse 5 David experiences anger. When Nathan the Prophet confronted David with his sin, what took place inside David that helped him see his sin and his responsibility to deal with it?

It is appropriate to drain off or put away bitterness.This Scripture clearly states that it impedes Christian growth.

Yes. Bitterness can grow and interfere with our relationship to God and others.

Act in kindness toward those who have angered you. Forgive each other.

David was convicted by Nathan’s truthfulness and “carefronting.” David, a great leader who often administered judgment in matters of righteous and unrighteous behavior, sees his sin and admits it to Nathan, himself, and God. David’s anger (verse 5) perhaps played a role in his self-awareness of the sin he committed.

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127

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Psalm 38:4; 42:3,5,10; 51:1-6 How does internalized anger express its presence in David’s life in these passages? What does he do about it?

Matthew 7:3-5 How can anger that is buried inside us blind us to the log or beam that is in our lives?

Depression can be a hiding place for anger. In fact, when we hide anger, it can lead to depression. When situations anger us and we push the feeling down inside, it can lead us on a temporary trip into self-hatred. Very often suicidal persons are unaware of their anger at themselves. In counseling, I have often asked a severely depressed counselee who may be contemplating suicide,”Are you aware of your anger at yourself?” They will often respond with a question: “Why do you think I am angry with myself?” I reply,”It seems to me that before you would want to kill someone, you would have to become very angry at them— even if that someone is you!” Suicide is believed to be, in many cases, associated with depression that is severe. Depression is often a result of repeated episodes of long-term, hidden anger. Getting in touch with it and revealing it to God and a person whom you can trust will often bring help in relieving the depression.

When we become skilled at hiding our anger, we may misinterpret the motives and responses of others. For example: A friend may not notice you, and you will think that he is avoiding you.You can become blinded to your hidden anger and project it onto others when you mistakenly think or perceive that others are angry at you.This will blind you to your need and draw your focus onto others’ faults or what you may think is a fault in them. In this passage, Jesus tells us that even though our brother may truly have a small fault in his life that we quickly and “clearly” see, we must not overlook or be blinded to our own sin. If we hold a resentment, we may see their sin and not our own due to our shortsighted or even blinded vision.

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Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


Mark 11:25-26 What part does forgiveness play in releasing buried anger?

Romans 12:19 How much good is accomplished if we carry a grudge or resentment toward others? What does this passage of Scripture tell us to do?

Colossians 3:21 How does this scripture help us better manage buried anger in family relationships?

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pplication

Forgiveness supplies the needed spiritual power that releases the anger and resentment.The only way to get even with someone is to forgive them or ask them to forgive you.The cross of Christ and its message is one of forgiveness. Jesus died to cleanse us of all bitterness and anger that is rooted in the sinful nature of fallen man. We must crucify the flesh daily.

Release it and let God who is all- knowing and perfect in judgment take care of the situation.

Parents, especially fathers, need to avoid provoking their children. More will be said about managing anger in family relationships in a later session. Sarcasm, threats, verbal outbursts, or other extreme ways of communication can embitter a child. It angers the child and results in deep hurt between parent and child.

Allow 20 minutes

Burying anger can lead to sinful thoughts and behaviors. We need to become aware of our tendency to bury or hide it. The church has often allowed Christians to identify with the pain of their hurtful feelings and pain of the past but not with their anger. In this group it is safe to say, “I’m hurt,” but it is even better to say, “I’m angry!” Hopefully at this point in the group, bonding and trust should have developed to the point where members can share some of their anger that may be displaced onto others or buried in them and hidden from others. Let God help you lead group members to share their feelings. As facilitator, perhaps you could become vulnerable and share some of those feelings.

Personal response.

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127

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Closing Prayer Ask group members to get in groups of 2-4 persons and pray for the needs that may have been disclosed regarding buried anger.

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Session 4


5 When Anger Is a Sin

Session

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ntroduction Opening Prayer

(Part II)

Allow 10 minutes Lead the group in prayer and ask God to help your group members present themselves to God and one another for insight and growth as they explore this session’s material. The awareness of sinful expressions of anger in our lives is often difficult to face or deal with. Ask the Lord to give each member courage to take small steps of growth in overcoming inappropriate ways of dealing with anger.

Sharing Question Take a few moments with your group and invite them to share their favorite room in the house and why they like it. Help group members to be relaxed and open with one another and have some fun with this sharing opener.

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elf–Awareness

Allow 20-25 minutes

In our last session, we explored the dangers and benefits of choosing to hide or repress our anger. In some cases, to “stuff ” our anger can result in sinful expressions of anger; i.e., resentment and bitterness. In other cases, to control the anger by holding it in and releasing it or letting it go without hurting ourselves or others may be beneficial. In this session we will explore a common way that anger is often expressed, one that could be and in many cases is not the most appropriate way to do so. Ask your group members to list words or phrases that describe what is meant by “venting” their anger or “losing their temper.” We know that anger can be internalized and/or externalized in harmful or beneficial ways. We have viewed the dangers of

When a person openly lets go, we may describe it as “blowing up,” “hot under the collar,” “mad,” “flipped his lid,” “bent out of shape”—the group may add to this list.

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127

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unhealthy “hiding” of anger. Let’s look at the dangers of exploding or venting anger in explosive episodes. As we will see in our Spiritual Awareness segment of this session, it is clear that the Bible teaches that open hostility, loss of temper, violent acts, retaliation, and the aggressive expression of anger are not appropriate for the Christian. A person who loses control of his anger can be mastered by it and act with violent behavior. Aggression that explodes in thoughtless anger can hurt ourselves and others. When we vent our anger on family, friends, or strangers, negative results occur such as: 1. Problems are not solved when we vent our anger on others or lash out at them. In fact, it often intensifies hostility. 2. Others who are the target of open rage and explosive anger are hurt emotionally and, in some cases, physically. (Each year millions of children are battered by out-of-control parents, and spouses are abused by their mates.) Anger and rage often control the emotions of street gangs in our cities. Our pastor told of a recent television program where he watched interviews with street gang members. One of these members blatantly remarked that he would immediately murder anyone who just looked at his trousers in the wrong way or if he just didn’t like the way they looked. That is all it took for him to kill another human being. He further remarked that he got a thrill out of watching the blood spurt out of their body! This may seem like an extreme example of violent anger, but many of these gang members acted “controlled” and “cool” as they reported this. Anger, revenge, and hatred produce negative and hurtful results.

Have your group members take a moment and comment on the impact explosive anger has played in current episodes of violence in their community, state, or nation.

Terrorist acts, serial killings, etc. Personal responses will vary. Encourage a few examples from the group.

3. Anger that is released in violent ways does not change others. It may appear that they have changed when threatened through angry aggression, but ultimately respect, love, and warm feelings decrease. Vented anger does not get good results in others. 4. When people explode or vent their anger inappropriately, it does not help them better express, control, or accept their anger. The opposite tends to occur. Their restraints on releasing anger often diminish, and they accept this aggressive temper as okay. This tends to keep them in a state of anger that helps perpetuate a cycle of anger, guilt over losing control and hurting others, recurrent anger, recurrent guilt, etc. (This pattern is seen in those who abuse others verbally or physically). People do not listen well when someone is inappropriately releasing anger.

In general, what is the prevailing attitude of people who dump or openly release their anger on others?

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They are often preoccupied with themselves.They are not concerned if they attack someone else, label them, curse or slander, put down, humiliate, and communicate in ways to violate the rights and dignity of others.

Session 5

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


Is there a difference between irritation and rage?

Oliver and Wright in When Anger Hits Home quote John Lee on how devastating rage can be:

Obviously! Of course, rage is different from simple irritation and the early arousal of angry feelings. It is more violent, hostile, and can cause harm. Simple irritation can lead to irritability and more intense levels of anger, but in comparison, rage is much more explosive, loud, obnoxious, sarcastic, and less sensitive in the proper treatment of others.

Rage is the ugliest and meanest human emotion. Rage is the father throwing his infant child against the wall and killing her. Rage is the mother scalding her child with boiling water to teach a lesson. Rage is the husband choking the family dog because it sneaked into the house. Rage is the driver who tailgates you for 10 miles blowing his horn because you cut him off by mistake… Rage is awful and has no decent place in normal human relationships. Not at home. Not at work. Not in public (p. 224).

Ask the group to consider this statement for a moment and encourage a few comments from them: “Is there any difference between people who get angry and angry people?”

Yes. We all experience the emotion of anger, but when anger that is internalized or externalized becomes strong enough to dominate our lives, we move from being a person with anger to being an angry person.

Spiritual Awareness Lead-In It is clear that the extreme expression of anger as seen in rage, violent outbursts, or verbal or physical abuse of others provides a negative and harmful release of this powerful emotion.

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piritual Awareness

Allow 20-25 minutes

The following scriptures show us that venting anger inappropriately can be sinful.

Assign scripture references to group members to be read aloud and discussed.

Proverbs 15:1 In what way does venting anger and the use of language correlate with one another?

Proverbs 15:18 What does this scripture point out regarding the outcome of losing one’s temper?

Proverbs 16:28 What ingredients are needed to produce strife and discord?

What is implied by the word “seeds”?

Proverbs 22:24 When we associate with angry people, we are affected by them. What does this passage teach that we should do when faced with an angry person?

Grievous, contentious words flow out of an angry spirit.The result is that it usually provokes anger in those to whom it is directed.

It produces more anger in others.

The aggressive, angry person often plants the seeds of discord.

Small and indirect or direct stabs or attacks on another.The use of gossip or “whispering” can be an aggressive form of anger that hurts our relationship with others.

Avoid them. This passage is clear in that it takes two people to keep an angry exchange going.To flee angry people will help you control your anger.

Mark 3:17 Jesus calls his twelve disciples to follow him. He gives two of them, brothers named James and John, the nickname, “sons of thunder.” How does this nickname describe their use of anger?

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Obviously these two brothers were known for their explosive tempers and forward manner in which they aggressively expressed their anger.

Session 5

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


Luke 9:49-56 What kind of response did these brothers give in this situation regarding the Samaritans’ attitude toward Jesus?

Romans 12:17 What biblical principle is given here with regard to venting anger on others?

How does this principle comply with Jesus’s teaching on “turning the other cheek”?

Colossians 3:8 Paul instructs the Christian to put off anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, and filthy communication out of one’s mouth. How likely is this change to take place in the believer’s life?

Colossians 3:12-14 What constitutes the new nature we have as Christians?

They got angry and expressed a hostile, verbal onslaught toward them—even to the point of being enraged and asking God to act violently against them!

This Scripture states that under no circumstances is a Christian to return evil for evil.

It is consistent. It underscores the principle of self-control and the resistance of the pursuit of anger with anger.

Through the presence and control of the Spirit of God who will give a person the strength to obey God’s Word.

We have the mind of Christ. We are new creations in Him; therefore, we can put on—dress ourselves in— the new nature of Jesus Christ. By putting on the qualities listed in these verses, we are actually putting on the character and response of Jesus Christ who lives in us and desires to change our lives into His likeness—even in the use of our anger!

Session 5

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A

pplication

Allow 20 minutes

We have seen that it is always inappropriate to vent our anger on ourselves or others. Any expression of anger that abuses others is not biblical. Ask your group members to look over the following list of indicators. Perhaps some changes are in order. Did you discover any areas that apply to you? Think about these and ask the Lord to help you come to terms with your discovery. Get assertive with changes that are needed in your dealing with explosive anger. If even one of these indicators fits you, target it for change!

Have group members discuss their target for change from the nine indicators.

Oliver and Wright in When Anger Hits Home record this quote: “In Treating Type A Behavior and Your Heart, Friedman and Ulmer identified certain behaviors that, based on research, may be indicators of a hostile personality. According to Dr. Friedman, if even one descriptor fits you, it may be time to contend with your tendency toward hostility. 1. “You become irritated or angry at relatively minor mistakes of family members, friends, acquaintances or even complete strangers, or find such mistakes hard to overlook. 2. “You frequently find yourself critically examining a situation in order to find something that is wrong or might go wrong. 3. “You find yourself scowling and unwilling or unable to laugh at things your friends laugh at. 4. “You are overly proud of your ideas and enjoy telling others about them. 5. “You frequently find yourself thinking or saying that most people cannot be trusted. 6. “You find yourself regarding even one person with contempt. 7. “You have a regular tendency to shift the subject of a conversation to the errors of large corporations, of various departments and offices of the federal government, or to the younger generation. 8. “You frequently use obscenities in your speech. 9. “You find it difficult to compliment or congratulate other people with honest enthusiasm.” (pp. 225226).

Closing Prayer Ask one of the group members to close the session in prayer.

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Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


Steps in Managing 6 Beginning Your Anger

Session

I

ntroduction Opening Prayer

Allow 10 minutes Take a few moments at the beginning of this session and pray for one another in groups of twos. Suggest that pairs agree on one special need in their lives for which they each need to join in prayer.

Sharing Question

S

Briefly describe one of the favorite or most meaningful gifts you have received for your birthday, Christmas, anniversary, or other special occasion. The gift should have come from your spouse, family member, or special friend. What made the gift special to you?

Personal response.

elf–Awareness

Allow 20-25 minutes

It is understood that people can have a number of misconceptions about their feelings. Are their feelings right or wrong? Do I hold my feelings inside or do I release them? Where do my feelings come from: God or Satan? Can I trust them? Feelings, of course, are an indispensable part of our lives. Anger is one of the feelings about which many of the above questions are often asked. As a person learns that he is a person “with feelings,” he may appear confused about them, disregard them, or even deny his feelings, especially if the feeling is one of anger. Feelings are a God-given gift. They are like guides to help us sense or monitor issues and events in our lives. They provide a part of the total response mechanism God created in us so we can be motivated to better understand, evaluate, judge, and respond to situations and circumstances in our lives. Although feelings should not be the final criteria that determine our behavioral responses or decisions, they still provide a vital part of the total information we need to help us be the person God wants us to be in serving Him and others.

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Session 6 43


It is tragic if we lose our ability to be in touch with our feelings. It is almost like we are losing one of our senses such as sight, touch, or smell. To know or recognize your feelings is like being in touch with a “sixth sense” that provides a valuable tool in helping us experience life to the fullest, especially in relationship with God and others. This is especially true with regard to the feelings of anger we experience. We have studied previously how we can recognize the inappropriate ways of dealing with anger. Ask the group to state briefly the ways we are not to handle anger.

We are not to deny it, ignore it, hide it, or vent it on others in abu s i ve behavior.

In preparing to manage anger properly, we know that to deny our feelings, repress them, and/or explode and throw them at others can result in a sinful use of this powerful energy God created in us to use in a productive way. Also in preparation for managing anger, we need to remember that God’s Word provides some very important guidelines or principles that will help us understand this powerful emotion and His purpose and plan for using it appropriately. As we have already seen, the Bible presents a variety of statements, words, and situations that involve the emotion of anger.

Spiritual Awareness Lead-In By now we should be fairly certain from our study that anger is a subject the Bible readily addresses. However, in learning to manage our anger, we need to become aware of some specific truths that God’s Word shows us about anger. When we take time to explore the Bible thoroughly on anger management, we discover something interesting. It seems as if the Bible says in some passages that anger is condemned and other times that anger is condoned.

S

piritual Awareness Some verses do indicate that anger is unacceptable. Ask your group to read the following verses that give this point of view.

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Allow 20-25 minutes Assign scripture references to group members to be read aloud and discussed.

Session 6

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


Psalm 37:8 and Ephesians 4:31 What does God’s Word say we are to do with anger?

“Cease from anger” and “Let all anger be put away.”

There are times when anger seems to be accepted and appropriate. Read the following verses and point this out to the group. Psalm 4:4 and Ephesians 4:26 The words “be ye angry” are a present imperative in the Greek text. This means the concept is “commanding a continuous action” (Wuest Word Studies from the New Testament for the English Reader, page 114). It appears to mean that anger is to be expressed under certain conditions and condoned.

Genesis 1:26-27 Ask the group to read these verses and then ask the following question: “Since God created us in His image, does this mean that He created anger and the ability to express anger as a part of His image?”

Yes. God’s creation is good, including anger, sex, power, and the other strong emotional and physical energies God gave man.These powerful forces are neither right nor wrong but are left for man to choose how he uses them. It is imperative that man use them for the purpose for which God created them.

The following passages show us several biblical principles on using anger creatively as our servant and not letting it become our master. As you study these, evaluate your use of anger and its compliance with God’s Word. Ecclesiastes 7:9 Ask individual group members to read the Biblical Principle and the verse that supports the principle.

Principle: Don’t be quick to defend yourself in anger. Don’t express your anger rapidly.

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Session 6 45


Ephesians 4:26-27 This passage gives us several important principles for managing anger. Ask the group members to locate them as the passages are read. Ask God to help you understand these truths and apply them to your life.

Keep the group focused by listing the following key truths in managing anger: 1. The Bible teaches we are to be slow to anger; however, these verses teach us we must not delay showing our anger any longer than is necessary. If you have to express anger, it is important to deal with that expression appropriately and quickly. For example, don’t wait for days, weeks, months, or years to pass before talking with someone you may have hurt or reacted to in anger.To delay could cause greater pain for you and them. 2. Deal with anger the same day it occurs. 3. Deal with your anger while there is opportunity to do so. Don’t let it stockpile in a slush fund of repressed and denied angry feelings. 4. When you are angry, deal with it or you may become vulnerable and give Satan a place to use you and your anger in sinful expressions of thought and behavior. 5. Don’t let lingering anger proceed to bitterness and resentment.

It may help you to see that as you look through the Bible, many of the well-known characters had to deal with their anger. They often expressed their anger at God and others. II Samuel 6:6-8 What emotion did David express?

Acts 13:22 What does this say about David?

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David became angry at God when a man was killed trying to protect the Ark of God.

He was a man after God’s own heart. He expressed his feelings toward God. In earlier sessions we located various passages of Scripture that revealed how biblical characters expressed their anger. If you like, you may review them now.

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Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


Dr. Dwight Carlson in his book, Overcoming Hurts and Anger, states this: Do you know who in the Bible got angry the most often? Not the Pharisees, or the Philistines, nor any other assorted heathen. It was God Himself—God, who is without sin. The Hebrew word for anger appears approximately 455 times in the Old Testament, and of these, 375 times it is referring to the anger of God (p. 35). Numbers 11:1 Who is angry in this verse?

God’s anger is kindled (aroused). As we know, God’s anger is always appropri a t e.

Mark 11:15-17 Jesus expressed His anger and cleansed the temple of the greedy money changers who were showing dishonor and disrespect and defiling and disrupting God’s house.

It is important to note that God’s anger and Jesus’s anger reveal a principle of how to use the force of anger creatively. In some cases anger may be righteous, and its absence may displease God. Had Jesus remained calm and controlled, sin would have continued in the temple. Read the following passages that support this truth. Numbers 25:16-17 What does God tell Moses to do?

I Samuel 11:6 Saul’s anger and his behavior encouraged righteousness and not sin. Ask your group to consider this question: “Could it have been that had Jesus not responded in anger to promote righteousness and deal with sinful behaviors of others, he would have sinned by not taking action?”

Smite the Midianites. Be hostile toward them!

Therefore, we can conclude that anger as seen in the Scriptures is presented in and of itself as neutral, neither right nor wrong, appropriate nor inappropriate. The Bible teaches us that it is what makes us angry (the source or basis of our anger) and how it is expressed that determines whether anger is right or wrong.

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Session 6 47


A

Allow 20 minutes

pplication

Anger is a powerful, God-created energy that can be utilized in a sinful or righteous expression.

It may be helpful to review Session Two briefly at this point, especially the components of anger. Help each group member come to understand that the creative use of anger must first be understood in the light of Scripture, and the basic principle of how to manage it must be developed from God’s Word.

Discuss ways anger can be expressed within the boundaries of scripture.

To be angry and sin not means we will seek to obey the admonitions of Scripture to avoid wrath, bitterness, unforgiveness, etc., and walk in the Spirit thus managing our angry feelings. Also, it helps to hide the Word of God in our heart. Memorize Scripture that helps you overcome anger and promote gentleness. Learning to stop and pray when tempted to lose control always helps us walk in the Spirit.

Ask the group to describe some personal applications.

Personal response.

Closing Prayer Ask God to help you desire to know all He has to reveal about anger in His word. Join in prayer for other group members that each one will clearly see the truth and apply it to their daily lives.

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7Managing Your Anger

Session

I

ntroduction Opening Prayer

Allow 10 minutes Ask a group member to lead an opening prayer that will focus on the need for knowledge, wisdom, and courage to deal with anger according to God’s plan. Seek help in learning new skills for this important task.

To get your group talking, ask the following discussion starters.

Sharing Question What is your favorite day of the week? Why? What makes it special? What is one of the activities that causes you to like this special day?

S

elf–Awareness

Allow 20-25 minutes

In developing a healthy viewpoint of our feelings, it is necessary that we come to terms with anger. This emotion must be the focus or target of our concern if we are to mature in our self-control and development as a growing Christian. As we have already seen, there seems to be two common responses to anger: denial or stuffing/burying it and/or venting it and displaying aggressive, explosive temper tantrums. The Bible clearly states we are to practice “being slow to anger” (James 1:19). This simple admonition means we can work with angry feelings, not just bury them or release them in bursts of temper. In this session we will provide a simple plan for learning how to be slow to anger; i.e., learn how to take control, manage, and utilize anger in productive ways. The following step-by-step procedure provides clear-cut steps to help you control the episodes of anger that come into your life: Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127

Session 7 49


Get in touch with your feelings Acknowledge your feelings of anger and accept them. Describe your feelings: I am mad. I am irritated. I am furious. Determine the level and intensity of these feelings: a little upset, moderately upset, or very upset. Get honest with your anger. Admit you are losing control. At this point don’t be critical of your feelings as to their being right or wrong but look at your feelings and think of them as you would a temperature gauge on the dash of your automobile. The gauge light comes on, and it is red indicating that the engine is overheated. You do not try to determine the cause of the malfunction nor try to fix it at this point. You just observe the warning light. It’s overheated! Just acknowledge the fact. That is the principle of this first step in controlling your anger. Just acknowledge and accept the fact of feeling angry. Don’t deny it! Give an example.

Personal response.

Control your thoughts In doing this, you will be able to control and determine what to say or do. Alert yourself and others to the fact that you are displeased, angry, or upset. Don’t take any actions on your immediate feelings. Be truthful with yourself and others. You may respond by saying, “What you said to me upset me; however, I need to think through my response to you. Maybe we need to talk about this after I clear my thoughts and feelings.” Be aware of the situation that angered you but defer specific action until you think about how to respond as well as how it has affected your feelings. Timing your response is important. Prayer will definitely help you clarify the issue and how you are to deal with it. Give an example.

Personal response.

Locate the cause of your anger Ask yourself, “What is it that is making me angry?” Sort out what you caused and what others did to produce the anger. Discern the root cause of the problem. If you get angry because the car will not start, is it truly that the car won’t start, or is it fear of being late and your boss’s getting angry at you. Or could it be that you are angry that if the car is broken, it will cause additional financial worry and stress? Over time, you can begin to locate the true cause of your anger. Accept responsibility for your anger and process the information to locate a cause. For further study in this particular step of anger management, you may want to read The Anger Workbook by Dr. Les Carter and Dr. Frank Minirth (see Bibliography). The workbook provides valuable help in discerning how a variety of needs; e.g., insecurity, fear, pride, loneliness, inferiority, and unrealistic expectations can create anger. Give an example. 50

Personal response.

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Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


Think through your response by being rational and less emotional Spend time sorting out irrational beliefs. Tell yourself the truth about people and situations. No one is ever wrong or right all the time. It is wrong to expect others to always be happy and helpful. People do get sick, tired, and aged. Others have reasons for their behaviors and are not just selfish or thoughtless. Everyone and everything does not exist for our convenience or purpose. You will control anger better if you do not say I can’t stand this …, or They should or shouldn’t do this …, or They better never …. These statements lock you into emotionalizing rather than thinking. Align yourself with reality and do not let everything bother you to the point that you “lose it” every time over normal failures we all have and experience as a result of being imperfect and having a fallen, sinful nature. Note: This does not mean we do not deal with the reality of sin and wrong, but to be “slow to anger” means we are relating to life through self-control, grace, and understanding. Give an example.

Personal response.

Direct your anger through applied controls In determining your course or action, remember to avoid the extremes that could be harmful: attacking, withdrawing and clamming up, giving in, or denying that anger is present. If you care for someone or some situation, you will often have to choose action that requires that you confront someone or some event. David Augsburger in his book, Caring Enough to Confront, calls this “truthing it in love.” This action may be needed. You may need to be gentle and private with confrontation or strong and direct—whatever is needed to help bring a resolution to the conflict. In this process of “truthing it in love,” be sure to do the following: (1) inform about the issue, (2) show your feelings appropriately, and (3) speak the truth in love. With God’s help, carefully choose the proper response, words, action, and what to say or not to say to bring some closure and resolution to the issue. Develop a list of responses and actions that work for you and for the best of other people. It is at this level that anger becomes your servant and can be productive for you. Give an example.

Personal response.

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Spiritual Awareness Lead-In This simple five-part formula for controlling your anger will help you develop some basic control and give you a plan that can bring about management of it. Look at the following scriptures that are focused on the importance of controlling your anger.

S

piritual Awareness

Allow 20-25 minutes

The Apostle Paul says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (II Timothy 3:16). Let’s look at useful ways to apply the scripture. Matthew 5:22 What does Jesus say about the importance of controlling one’s anger?

What is the principle Jesus is teaching?

Matthew 16:23 What does Jesus’s response to Peter reveal about Step 5 in the five-part formula for controlling anger discussed in the Self-Awareness section of this session?

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Notice that the passage says if you are angry without a cause, you are in danger of judgment.This means you have said nothing to this point, only been angry without a cause. However, if you lose it and call someone an idiot (Raca), you are in danger of the council. If you lose it and respond in all-out, vengeful anger, you are in danger of hell fire.

The less control one has over his anger, the more serious are the consequences he may face.This is true of the spiritual consequences (the way God will deal with us in His perfect judgment) and the natural consequences of not controlling your anger.

He confronted Peter and rebuked him sharply with the truth.

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


Acts 15:2 What does this passage reveal about the need to confront others in love and truth?

Galatians 2:11 What happened between Paul and Peter?

Proverbs 25:8-9 What is the wisdom given in this passage regarding a method of action we can take if we are angry with someone?

Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 What does this passage reveal about the need to think through our response to others when we are angry?

Paul clearly had “dissension and debate” with these men from Judea regarding certain religious customs.

Paul opposed Peter “to his face” because he was wrong on an issue Paul thought was important.

Whenever possible, use private confrontation to deal with the issue. (Refer to Matthew 18:15 also.)

Don’t become angry if you overhear people criticizing you. Give it time and don’t let everything others do or say bother you.

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A

Allow 20 minutes

pplication

Managing anger and using it for good requires practical as well as spiritual effort. Write out the five steps suggested in this session for controlling anger. Work on the ones you need to practice this week in your progression toward making anger your servant. Read the James 1:19 passage. Discuss what it means in terms of developing a plan to avoid the destructive use of anger. Study carefully the Anger Log and Anger Expression Charts printed below(pages 40 and 41 in the workbook). Commit yourself to using it for nine days to record your responses. This tool is quite valuable in helping you pinpoint angry reactions and their intensity. This discipline will pay great dividends in learning to be slow to anger. After the nine days, compare with Session 1. Describe your progress.

Have group members discuss the step that needs the most work in their lives. Discuss ways to progress in the step. Step 1 – Get in touch with your feelings. Step 2 – Control your thoughts. Step 3 – Locate the cause of your anger. Step 4 – Think through your response by being rational and less emotional. Step 5 – Direct your anger through applied controls.

MY ANGER LOG Day

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

Frequency How many times do you get angry each day inwardly or outwardly? Place a number for each day.

Intensity On the average, from 1-10 what is the intensity of your anger today? (10 = intense; 1= barely breathing)

Duration How many minutes do you usually remain angry? Use an average.

Negative Expression How many times does your anger lead to negative expression?

Positive Expression How many times does your anger lead to positive expression?

Disturbs Relationships On the average, did your anger today help or hinder relationships? (9= helpful; 1 =disaster) 54 Session 7

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Fill out the Anger Expressions chart. Consider the last two times you got angry at each person and how you expressed it. Now observe how you express your anger the next time you get angry at each person.

ANGER EXPRESSIONS ✍ Mark with a check (✓) how you expressed anger to each person most recently. Person

Hold it back

Indirect

Direct

Spouse Children Parents Employer Coworker Friends Which type of expression do you tend to use most? What can you do to make your anger expression healthier and more productive?

✍ Think about the following people toward whom you might express anger. How do they respond when you express anger? Write down how you will respond the next time.

Person

Response

How I will respond differently the next time

Spouse Children Mother Father Boss Friends

✍ Think of a constant provoking behavior or situation and then think of a change that you can make when all else fails.

Charts taken from When Anger Hits Home by Gary Jackson Oliver and H. Norman Wright, 1992. Moody Press. Used by permission.

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Closing Prayer Have each group member request prayer for specific areas they need to improve in learning to be slow to anger.

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Anger in Your 8 Managing Marriage and/or Family

Session

I

ntroduction Opening Prayer

Allow 10 minutes Pray that God will help each group member recognize the importance of managing anger in family relationships.

Sharing Question Ask several group members to share briefly the following: Describe the circumstances of your family or marriage. Do you have children? Are they living with you? If you don’t live with a spouse or family members, what is your relationship with them?

S

elf–Awareness

As each member shares, note that we can learn a great deal about the circumstances of each group member’s family.

Allow 20-25 minutes

It is realistic to expect that most couples will experience anger in their marriage and with their children. We need to have adequate and accurate information in dealing with anger in our marriage and families. Disagreements and conflicts are inevitable. Marriage forces us to come to terms with our spouse’s needs and submit our weaknesses to another person. If you are an intense person, you can experience intensity in pain and/or pleasure. The area of anger in marriage is such a broad topic. David Mace, a pioneer in the field of marriage enrichment, has described its proper place in marriage. This does not mean you do not have a right to be angry. In an appropriate situation, your anger could be a lifesaver. Anger enables us to assert ourselves in situations where we should. Anger exposes antisocial behavior in others. Anger gets wrongs righted. In a loving marriage, however, these measures are not necessary.

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My wife is not my enemy. She is my best friend; and it does not help either of us if I treat her as an enemy. So I say, “I’m angry with you. But I don’t like myself in this condition. I don’t want to strike you. I’d rather stroke you.” This renouncing of anger on one side prevents the rush of retaliatory anger on the other side, and the resulting tendency to drift into what I call the “artillery duel.” If I present my state of anger against my wife as a problem I have, she is not motivated to respond angrily. Instead of a challenge to fight, it is an invitation to negotiate. Taken from When Anger Hits Home, by Gary Jackson Oliver and H. Norman Wright. 1992. Moody Press. Used by Permission.

Can you remember the first episode of anger you had as a married couple or family member?

Personal response.

The following areas seem to be the battlegrounds of anger: unfulfilled expectations, unfulfilled needs, differences in backgrounds, the way we give and receive love, money, sex, communication, parenting, in-laws, taking your spouse for granted, fatigue and time pressures, physical demands, job stress, sleep deprivation, dual careers, ad infinitum. Power and control seem to be the overriding issues that lock couples into endless war, and like the game of “tug-owar,” they will stubbornly continue to fight for their victory, and anger is a vital energy used to achieve it. The biblical concept of marriage is built on the principle of submission to one another in love. But does this involve conflict? Yes! In a healthy marriage a couple expresses conflict from time to time. The marriage commitment requires you to look at your self or selfishness and your mate’s self or selfishness. Thus, what “he wants” and “she wants” and what “he needs” and “she needs” and what “he expects” and “she expects” erupt in disagreements and arguments. In our culture we favor independence and self-reliance. Little value is placed on cooperation, flexibility, and giving in to achieve a greater goal. Yet we all struggle with problems we cannot solve by ourselves. Growth and maturity develop as we work through problems and conflicts together. Removing ourselves from the issue or our mate may mean less anger, but it always lessens the intimacy and potential for the couple’s growth. Mark Cosgrove in Counseling for Anger states, “So many marriages fail, not because people have married the wrong people, but because they are not being the right people” (107). We need the freedom in our marriages and families to express anger and hurt in a loving and truthful manner. Feelings must be expressed to one another without fear of rejection and yet without hurting your spouse and/or family members. Name two areas in your marriage or family that seem to stimulate angry episodes between family members. 58

Personal response.

Session 8

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


Disagreements are normal and even inevitable in marriage and families. Consider the following to help you and your spouse use anger constructively in your marriage: • Learn how to manage conflict by admitting you are angry. • First, deal with your anger. • Practice the skills learned in the previous session. • Commit yourself to “being slow to get angry.” • Ask yourself: “How will the presence of Jesus Christ in my life affect the way I respond to my mate and this situation?” • Learn how to hold back your anger. Think ahead to avoid anger-causing situations. • Make up your mind not to let everything bother you. Self-giving love means you will do what you can to remove irritating situations and unnecessary conflict from your spouse’s life if at all possible. • Purpose in your heart not to overreact, threaten, hit, curse, shout at, or name call with your mate. There will be times when each of you may need to discover a “set of techniques” that you will use (agreeable to both) to rely on that will help diffuse the intensity of your heated moments of dialogue. Some couples use “time out” to get control of their impulses or feelings, others count to ten, others change the scene or subject to allow calmness to return so the issue can be addressed later.

What methods have you used to control anger in your marriage or family?

Retreat, be quiet, isolate, fight back, etc.

Whenever a married couple cannot reach a resolution to an angry conflict, it is often due to the fact that one or both of them have sabatoged their dialogue or communication. Good communication skills require practice. Couples often fight in dirty ways that block communication and increase anger. A simple tool a couple can use to avoid these episodes and better manage them is to agree on a simple communication covenant or prior agreement as to how they will act during their disagreements. I like the example from Gary Oliver and Norman Wright’s book,When Anger Hits Home (167-168). Here are two points from an agreement that one couple developed in order to improve their communication and problem-solving skills. 1. We will not exaggerate or attack the other person during the course of a disagreement. a. I will stick with the specific issue. b. I will take several seconds to formulate words so that I can be accurate. c. I will consider the consequences of what I say before I say it. d. I will not use the words always, all the time, everyone, nothing, etc. Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127

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2. We will attempt to control the emotional level and intensity of arguments. (No yelling, uncontrollable anger, hurtful remarks.) a. We will take time-outs for calming down if either of us feels that our own anger is starting to elevate too much. The minimum amount of time for a time-out will be one minute and the maximum ten minutes. The person who needs a greater amount of time in order to calm down will be the one to set the time limit. During the time-out, each person, individually and in writing, will first of all define the problem that is being discussed. This will include, first, identifying the specific cause for my anger. Second, the areas of agreement in the problem will be listed. Third, the areas of disagreement will be listed, and fourth, three alternate solutions to this problem will be listed. When we come back together, the person who has been the most upset will express to the other individual, “I’m interested in what you’ve written during our time-out. Will you share yours with me?” b. Before I say anything, I will decide if I would want this same statement said to me with the same words and tone of voice. It is most helpful for couples to support one another in keeping their communication covenant or agreement. Ask each other what is needed to control angry feelings. For example: Ask, “Do you want me to say nothing, leave the room, not interrupt, hold you, hear you out, etc., when you are losing or about to lose control of your anger?” Reflect and ask questions. Ask yourself: “How can I make this process work?” Both spouses must be in the process or agreement together and help each other make it work. List ways you would want your loved one to respond to you when you are angry.

Personal response.

As couples grow in their management skills, they will know when to keep quiet about trivial matters and when to argue for the sake of things important to the relationship. Learning how to handle marital storms is more than just learning “techniques for conflict resolution,” communication skills, etc. These will only help a couple’s skills in dealing with anger. The greatest factor in learning to manage anger in a marriage is to see that self-control is a character issue. Our study on anger is to help us become more loving and less selfish in our relationships. Our marriages can be destroyed by many forces, but one of them that does not have to end it is anger. Solutions to anger in marriage cannot be reduced to a list of how-tos. People need to change on the inside if they are to develop loving, caring, nonabusive relationships.

Spiritual Awareness Lead-In The biblical principles of how the marriage relationship is to function will provide a greater resource for maintaining a healthy marriage which will also help us with proper anger management. 60

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Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


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piritual Awareness Submitting “to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21) involves anger management in marriage and family relationships. Psalm 103:8 God is slow to anger. Why should a husband exhibit this quality in his marriage?

Matthew 5:38-42 What is the primary teaching about anger and how to respond to someone who is mistreating you?

What does Jesus teach us to do?

Allow 20-25 minutes Assign a verse to each group member.

God has emotions, yet He is never out of control. He showed anger to produce or bring about righteousness (right judgment and living), and it was always done in love and mercy. A husband should exhibit this quality in his godly leadership of his wife and family.

This is the passage that is called the “turn-the-other-cheek” teaching.

In verse 39 He said not to return evil or mistreatment. In verse 40 He said if they were sued to give them their coats and if required, go an extra mile. The spiritual truth here is that an angry response is to be avoided; we are to respond in love and prayer (Matthew 5:43-44). In this passage Jesus is teaching that it is more important for people to manage insults and have the freedom to take it and not let it disturb their peace. By releasing possessions (i.e., one’s coat), he is in control of his feelings and did not let another’s anger or intimidation touch his spirit. This quality is needed in marriage and family relationships, especially when anger levels are high. If you are out of control, you cannot show love, peace, and mercy.

Do you practice this principle in your marriage and/or family relationships?

Personal response.

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127

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Ephesians 5:22-33 To whom does Paul give more directives in marriage, the husband or the wife?

Husbands are challenged to love their wives as Christ loved the church, and wives are to practice loving submission to loving authority.

Do you and your spouse accept these responsibilities in your marriage?

Personal response.

What can a husband do to make his wife feel loved, cherished, and nourished?

Listen, practice loving actions of compassion, communicate, deal with conflict in a biblical way. Ask women in the group to respond to this question after the men have shared.

What can a wife do to “submit” to her husband and help him fulfill his biblical role as leader of the home?

Personal responses from women in group. Ask men to respond to this question after women have responded.

What does this passage teach regarding how a husband and wife are to relate and thus better manage their anger?

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If we will make a commitment as a couple to fulfill our responsibilities, we will be less likely to compete, fight, boss, or show selfishness in the marriage. Christian marriage is never “I will if you will,” but we will meet our individual responsibilities, including managing our anger, to achieve harmony spoken of in Ephesians 5:33. “However, each of you must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


Colossians 3:13 Often we are angry because others sin against us. Scriptural anger management from this source is forgiveness. In light of this verse, is forgiveness an option or a gift?

Romans 14:13 What have you said to your spouse in the last week that was judgmental? Did you tear him/her down with criticism? Think of some ways to build up your spouse with words and actions.

Forgiveness is not an option; it is a command—“Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” It is a gift—something we receive or give. Jesus gave His life so we could experience forgiveness. See Colossians 2:13-14.

Give time for personal reflection.

Galatians 6:2 How compassionate have you been with your mate recently?

Personal response.

How sensitive are you to their needs?

Personal response.

When your spouse is upset or hurting, what do you do to show them or let them know you are aware of their pain?

Discuss the importance of being sensitive to your mate’s needs, feelings, and pain. Have group members list specific ways to show compassion to their spouses.

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127

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A

Allow 20 minutes

pplication Read this quote and think about how you and your spouse deal with anger. Perhaps you can commit yourself to the biblical principle of “holding back” your anger so that God can accomplish His purpose in each of your lives. Couples who are mature in their handling of anger and conflict know when to keep quiet about trivial matters and when to argue for the sake of things important to the relationship. It is often sound advice to do nothing about being irritated or angry at one’s spouse. There are too many irritations and conflicts of interest in marriage to get angry at every one of them. What people should not do is to wear their spouses out with the continued expression of trivial angers so that important matters are ignored when they arise. On the benefits of holding anger back, Carol Tavris writes, In the final analysis, managing anger depends on taking responsibility for one’s emotions and one’s actions: on refusing the temptation, for instance, to remain stuck in blame or fury or silent resentment. Once anger becomes a force to berate the nearest scapegoat instead of to change a bad situation, it only loses its credibility and its power. It feeds only on itself. And it sure as sunrise makes for a grumpy life. It would be hard to say more clearly that holding anger back can be very positive; but perhaps the words of Scripture say it best: “a gentle answer turns away wrath...” (Proverbs 15:1). (Counseling for Anger by Mark P. Cosgrove, PhD., 1988. Word, Inc. Dallas, Texas. Used with permission.)

According to Proverbs 15:1, how can we prevent anger from escalating out of control?

Closing Prayer

Our tone of voice and the soft answer we give to another can decrease the anger. In marriage, you will not only have your angry feelings to deal with but also those of your spouse. Learn how to avoid unnecessarily fueling your mate’s anger. This Scripture teaches us to avoid waving a red flag in front of a charging bull. Anger will often overtake you if you stir it up with “grievous words.” If your spouse is “snorting” and “pawing the dirt,” don’t say “charge” by waving the red flag to him/her.

Focus your prayer around this request to God: Lord, help me see my spouse and/or family members as God’s gift so I can contribute to make them a better person(s). Help me create opportunities to show them love, respect, understanding, and intimacy. May I see disagreements and conflicts as great opportunities for achieving understanding and closeness. Help me acknowledge my anger, take responsibility for it, and learn to express it in a way that does not conflict with God’s Word and His purpose for our marriage. In Jesus’s name, Amen. 64

Session 8

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


9

Session

I

Accepting Responsibility for Managing My Anger

ntroduction Opening Prayer

Allow 10 minutes Thank God for each member of the group who has attended these past few weeks. Ask Him for His wisdom, His input, His guidance.Thank Him for His presence in each believer and in your group.

Sharing Question What is a good thing happening in your life right now? Share a praise report of God’s goodness in your life.

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elf–Awareness

Personal response.

Allow 20-25 minutes

Ten Steps in Anger Preventative Maintenance As we come to the conclusion of our study on controlling anger in our lives, we should begin to see progress in making anger our servant. As you have worked at accepting your anger and are developing your skills in anger management, hopefully growth is beginning to take place. When our two sons were children, very often I would hear one of them say to the other in a whiny tone as a put-down, “Oh, why don’t you grow up!” It was used skillfully as a manipulative statement to get that brother to stop something or to get something done. “You are acting like a baby” was often heard, too. God wants us to grow up. Of course, He does not say it in a manipulative, whiny tone of voice, nor does He humiliate or put us down.

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127

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In our Spiritual Awareness section we will see that God’s Word encourages us to become Christlike and mature. Anger management is ultimately a function of spiritual maturity. As we grow and develop in our relationship with God by living a consistent Christian life, we will be able to control our anger and use it as a gift from God. This takes time, discipline, and often requires help from others to whom we are accountable for our growth. In our study we have discovered the definition of anger, causes of anger, and the various responses we can make in feeling, thought, and action with anger. We now come to terms with the way we accept responsibility for controlling our anger. It is important to consider ways not only to control anger but also actually take steps to prevent it. We must work on controlling anger when we are in quiet periods and not angry. Some suggestions for balancing our lives so we don’t misuse anger or sin with it are listed below. Apply these during times of less conflict and reduced anger. As a friend of mine says, “Strike when the iron is cold, not hot.” This helps you better manage the hot times when anger rears its head. 1. Keep your life balanced and purposeful. Maintain goals in your life—physical, spiritual, intellectual, and social. Stay active. 2. Do not neglect your physical health, diet, rest, diversion from routine. Plan times to enjoy God’s beauty outdoors. Reading good books, meditation, quiet times, and healthy walks and talks with family and friends help lower anger levels. Develop an appropriate hobby. 3. Spend time with God, His Word, and in prayer. Cultivate a quiet time each day that will help you develop God’s character in your life. 4. Avoid overloads of stress. When crisis comes, learn how to react emotionally in ways that will help you better cope. We are more susceptible to anger when depressed, fearful, or even happy and elated. 5. Be realistic in your expectations of self and others. Sometimes we expect too much of ourselves and others. One of the quickest ways to overcome hurt and anger, even prevent it, is to check your expectations. Are they appropriate and realistic? List those things that upset you, irritate you. Look at the list. Are the needs and expectations legitimate? Be honest. Deal with those that are unrealistic in yourself and others; otherwise, you will continue to become angry over them.

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Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


6. Guard your tongue and speech. Practice the art of listening. Listen to your self-talk. Are you negative and selfpitying? Are you critical of self and others? Let God help you learn to control your tongue. 7. Do not compare yourself to others. Learn to accept others and their gifts and talents. You do not have to compete with others. Use this creative energy to be productive, not jealous, angry, and bitter at others’ successes and abilities. God created you! Be yourself! 8. Avoid angry people and anger-provoking situations you are not prepared to handle. Be cautious not to stimulate anger this way. Remove yourself from people and/or situations until you have matured enough in patience, control, and honesty as well as wisdom in responding to them. 9. Let go of old deposits of anger—forgive and forget. If you are harboring old hurts and residual anger, resentments that are unresolved, deal with them. As a Christian, you are a “new person in Christ.” However, old wounds can still hurt. Heal them through asking God and others for forgiveness. Forgive—choose to give up the held grudge. Stop licking old wounds. Forgiving does not mean we minimize the hurt or injury inflicted on us. Whatever the case, we must forgive them and ourselves. The other alternatives are to hold it in, deny it hurts, become bitter or resentful, or even attack. None of these effectively get rid of pent-up anger. Practice this in every area of your life. Keep short accounts of anger, and your life will be less angry. 10. Work on improving your relationships to reduce anger in them. Plant seeds of peace, joy, and self-control with those near you. Great dividends will be paid tomorrow for today’s effort. Which of the Ten Steps is most difficult for you? Describe.

Personal response.

Spiritual Awareness Lead-In Keep setting personal growth goals to improve, mature, and become the person God wants you to become each day. The ten ways to prevent anger we have just studied originate in God’s Word. The following passages provide inspiration to reach the goal of controlling anger:

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127

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piritual Awareness Exodus 20:10 Why does God provide a commandment to us regarding rest and worship?

Psalm 16:9 What does this passage say about rest for our body?

Isaiah 30:15 It is important to develop quiet times with God. How can quietness and confidence provide strength for you?

Isaiah 40:31 What are the results God promises if we wait on the Lord?

Mark 6:30-31 Why did Jesus feel the disciples needed to rest?

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Allow 20-25 minutes It provides opportunity to restore ourselves spiritually and physically. These periodic and regular rests will help us take better control of our lives and ultimately help us control our anger.

Our bodies need time to be restored. This includes rest, and rest provides us with a refreshment that offers a sense of hope or renewal. When we avoid overstressing our bodies, minds, and emotions, we see situations more accurately thus avoiding overreactions in anger.

To meet the demands of today’s stress, we need quietness. Being quiet before God will supply confidence as we are in His presence. He can help us control our anger as we let Him provide strength to deal with people and situations that are difficult. This will help us calm ourselves and let God give us peace rather than our lashing out in anger. It will help us be slow to anger. His strength helps us overcome self and sin.

Renewal to face life in supernatural power that is not self-centered. He is in control. Have group members make personal application of the references to walk, run, and fly like eagles. Share these in the group.

Daily pressure was overwhelming them and their time schedule—no time even to eat. Do you develop quiet, restful periods in your day to relax and restore yourself? How could this help you prevent anger “build-up”?

Session 9

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


Matthew 6:15 What spiritual principle is taught by Jesus in this verse?

Forgiveness is necessary to be forgiven.

Whom, if anyone, do you need to forgive?

Personal response.

What steps can you take to do so?

Personal response.

Matthew 18:21-35 Read this parable of the “unmerciful servant” and answer the following questions: Who has extended forgiveness to you?

Personal response.

To whom have you given a lot of forgiveness?

Personal response.

When you forgive others, how does it affect you?

Personal response.

How do you forgive people who don’t know they have offended you?

Personal response.

How important is the practice of forgiveness in helping you control your anger?

Personal response.

How can a constant state of forgiveness prevent anger?

Personal response.

Philippians 2:12-14 How can finding God’s purpose and plan for your life prevent anger?

A person who has accepted the fact that God loves them and has a plan and purpose for them is less likely to be frustrated by others’ expectations or failures. God gives them a reason for living.

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127

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Philippians 4:4-7 What plan does God give us in this passage to help us reduce tension, fear, and anxiety that can lead to anger?

How would this prevent anger?

Philippians 4:12-13 How does contentment calm and prevent outbursts of anger?

Through prayer, trusting God, being thankful, and telling God our problems and needs, we can become peaceful people—people controlled by God’s peace.

Peaceful attitudes help us overcome angry outbursts.

Accepting life, others, myself, and my circumstances can help me overcome my frustration.

James 3:3-12 Read this passage about our speech. Think about these questions: Is it easy for you to control your tongue?

Personal response.

How does controlling your tongue keep others from exploding in anger?

Personal response.

How does slow, kind, and soft speech, even silence, calm you and others, and prevent anger from controlling you?

The Bible has much to say about our speech.The tongue can be a weapon of anger or an agent of blessing. Ask them to share their thoughts.

Hebrews 6:1-3 We began this session with the importance of maturing or growing up in Christ. If anger is basically a spiritual problem, what are God’s goal and desire for us in growing up with regard to managing anger?

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God wants us to respond to life as Jesus would. Can we let the Holy Spirit control us and our anger?

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


A

pplication

Allow 20 minutes

In getting control over anger in your life, be patient. This is not easily accomplished in one step or by memorizing the techniques we have suggested. However, every step toward your goal will bring you closer to it. As we have seen, anger is a potential force created by God for productive use in our lives. Take this energy and use it and multiply it. Let anger not only be your friend but also make it your servant—make it God’s servant. God can help you manage anger and use it for His glory. Have group members discuss area(s) of anger in their lives that with God’s help they are changing from master to servant. Give examples.

Personal response.

In addition to Christ, who will you look to for continued accountability for support in dealing with anger?

Personal response.

Closing Prayer As this session is concluded, ask each member to say a brief prayer for themselves and others that God will help them mature in self-control and bring the powerful emotion of anger under the direction and control of the Spirit.

Have group members continue to encourage one another in making progress to make anger their servant.

Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127

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Selected Bibliography Augsburger, David, Caring Enough to Confront. Glendale: Regal Books, 1980. Balswick, Jack and Judith, The Dual-Earner Marriage: The Elaborate Balancing Act. Grand Rapids: Revell, 1995. Carlson, Dwight L., Overcoming Hurts and Anger. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1981. Carter, Les, and Frank Minirth, The Anger Workbook. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1993. Cosgrove, Mark P., Counseling for Anger: Resources for Christian Counseling. Dallas: Word Publishing, 1988. Dobbins, Richard D., Your Emotional and Spiritual Power. Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell, 1984. Holland, N. Elizabeth, M.D., Godly Parenting:Parenting Skills at Each Stage of Growth—Group Workbook. Chattanooga: Turning Point Ministries, 1995. Jacobs, Joan, Feelings. Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1976. Lee, Jimmy Ray, Behind Our Sunday Smiles. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1991. _______, Insight Group Workbook,Third Edition. Chattanooga: Turning Point Ministries, 1995. Minirth, Frank and Paul Meier, Happiness Is A Choice. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1978. ________, Richard Meier, and Don Hawkins, The Healthy Christian Life:the Minirth-Meier Clinic Bible Study Guide. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1988. Oliver, Gary Jackson and H.Norman Wright,When Anger His Home. Chicago: Moody Press, 1992. Parrott III, Les, Helping The Struggling Adolescent. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993. Schmidt, Jerry and Raymond Brock, The Emotions of a Man. Eugene: Harvest House, 1983. Springle, Pat, Codependency: A Christian Perspective—Breaking Free from the Hurt and Manipulation of Dysfunctional Relationships. Houston: Rapha Publishing/Word, 1993. Wright, H. Norman, The Power of a Parent’s Words. Ventura, CA: Regal, 1990. _______, Communication: Key to Your Marriage. Glendale: Regal, 1974.

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Facilitator’s Guide: Anger: Our Master or Our Servant, Turning Point, P. O. Box 22127, Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127


Is there any good reason why you cannot receive Jesus Christ right now? How to receive Christ: 1. Admit your need (that you are a sinner). 2. Be willing to turn from your sins (repent). 3. Believe that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross and rose from the grave. 4. Through prayer, invite Jesus Christ to come in and control your life through the Holy Spirit (receive Him as Savior and Lord).

What to Pray Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins. I am willing to turn from my sins. I now invite Jesus Christ to come into my heart and life as my personal Savior. I am willing, by God’s strength, to follow and obey Jesus Christ as the Lord of my life. Date

Signature

The Bible says: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13 “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1 When we receive Christ, we are born into the family of God through the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit who lives within every believer. This process is called regeneration or the new birth. Share your decision to receive Christ with another person. Connect to a local church.

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Profile for Living Free, Inc.

Anger Our Master or Our Servant Facilitator  

Offers a clear explanation of anger, what causes it, and how to recognize when you are sinning with anger. This not only ministers to church...

Anger Our Master or Our Servant Facilitator  

Offers a clear explanation of anger, what causes it, and how to recognize when you are sinning with anger. This not only ministers to church...

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