A Joyful Path, Year Three – Week 24: It’s Ok To Be Angry — Story: Sometimes My Light Is Fire!

For Classroom or Home School



Week 24: Winter
Lesson 20: It’s OK to be Angry

I express my anger in healthy ways.

Getting to the Heart of the Lesson

Anger has been given a bad rap. Somewhere along the way, many of us learned anger is “bad.” And bad things are to be avoided. The important message of this week’s lesson is anger is an emotion — a feeling we all have and, just like every other emotion, anger wants to be acknowledged and expressed. In Psalm 4:4, King David instructs, “Be angry and do not sin;” King David did not write “If you are angry, it is a sin.” Too often we have gotten confused about this. “Turn the other cheek” teachings are the goal, but they must not gloss over the important work of recognizing anger in order to speak one’s truth (as we will see in the story for this lesson).

Behind anger, there is always an important message. Ignoring our feelings, or “stuffing” them away with other substitutes, becomes harmful to us and those around us. In this lesson, we explore how anger feels in our bodies, how to listen to our anger, and how to express our anger in healthy ways.

Anger lets us know where we have been hurt or when we have witnessed something that is unjust, unkind, or not alright. In this way, anger invites us to become more clear and more capable in our ability to speak up, voice our needs, and do justice. This is very important! The ideal outcome of this lesson is for all of us to have new ideas about how to listen to our anger and how to turn anger into a clean, clear channel of expression and a clean, clear request for truth and transformation.

(NOTE: If you wish to focus more intentionally on the Christian calendar, Lent and the time before Easter, this lesson illustrates important teachings from Jesus during the events of Holy Week.)

Teacher Reflection

Some reading and a 10-20 min exercise (more if you have time and wish to take it) so you are able to experience the teachings offered through this lesson.

Do you get angry? Some of us go there readily…. for others, anger is a scary place to be.

Option 1 — Read through the Wisdom Quotes and Sacred Text selections for the week. Which phrases resonate for you? As you reflect on anger and the role it does or does not play in your life, what would be most helpful for you in creating a healthy relationship toward anger? In what ways might anger be a teacher for you this week? Within your family? Watching the news? Running errands? Completing a project? Waiting in line (or waiting in general)? Take some time to journal or meditate on this. Then, as best you can, put your reflections to practice this week.

Option 2 —If expressing anger is new for you, or if you are looking for ways to express anger more productively, it might take a few attempts before you find a way to share your anger in a way that feels helpful, liberating, even healing. Notice if anything on this list feels like a good place to start and then try the activity with something that has recently made you angry: crying out to God (in spoken prayer, journaling, making music, etc), talking with a trusted confidant, writing a cathartic letter (that will not be delivered) to the person/ issue with whom we are upset, attending an anger management or other support group, processing the experience in therapy, confronting the person with whom you are upset, establishing healthier boundaries (to what we say “yes” and “no” in our lives), or creating (painting, dancing, acting, etc.).

Read through the lesson before your time with the children. Decide which Activity Exploration will work best for your class (There are usually two options; choose one). Just below the heading, “Children’s Lesson and Story” you will find the preparations checklist for this lesson so you can collect any needed materials or make arrangements to support your selected activity.

Sacred Text Quotes

Christian Scriptures. Matthew 21:12-13 (NRSV)

Then Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a den of robbers.”

Christian Scriptures. Ephesians 4:25-28 (NRSV)

So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy.

Hebrew Scriptures. Psalms 4:4 (NRSV)

When you are disturbed, do not sin; ponder it on your beds, and be silent.

Confucianism. Analects 15.10

The Master said, “What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the mean man seeks is in others.”

Islam. Qur’an 5.105

O ye who believe! You have charge over your own souls.

Islam. Qur’an 4.135

O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it concerns rich or poor: for God can best protect both. Follow not the lusts of your hearts lest you swerve, and if you distort justice or decline to do justice, verily God is well-acquainted with all that you do.

Wisdom Quotes

The world needs anger. The world often continues to allow evil because it isn’t angry enough. ― Bede Jarrett

Usually when people are sad, they don’t do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change. ― Malcolm X

Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean. ― Maya Angelou

I would not look upon anger as something foreign to me that I have to fight… I have to deal with my anger with care, with love, with tenderness, with nonviolence. ― Thich Nhat Hanh, Being Peace

If you try to get rid of fear and anger without knowing their meaning, they will grow stronger and return. ― Deepak Chopra, The Third Jesus: The Christ We Cannot Ignore

Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy. ― Aristotle

I say it in my own house, I say it on the streets. I say it on a record yo, and I say it on a beat. I paint it on a wall yo, till everybody sees. When we all see justice, we all see peace. ― Michael Franti, Same as it Ever Was

Be sure to click here to download the Teaching Introduction and Instructions.

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