Whether your child “blows up” or retreats into quiet anger, learn to teach your kids how to manage and fight anger God’s way! Read to find out more.
“Why should I trust God? He hasn’t done much for me.” My heart sank as my friend spit out each angry word. He had been through a lot in the past couple years. Instead of trusting God with those things, he had pulled his focus inwards and towards himself so much that he couldn’t see the good things God was currently doing. He was full of anger at the things that had happened to him, and it continually spilled over in his words and actions. But the saddest part was, he couldn’t see any reason to change. In his anger, he had become blinded and so self-centered in his view of life that he couldn’t see the hurt he was inflicting on others. At the end of the day, he just couldn’t let go of how unfair he felt his life had been.
Just like my friend, it’s natural for our kids to feel angry or like things are unfair when they experience difficult things in life. This feeling of anger isn’t necessarily wrong, but how it comes out in their actions and words can be. If their words are cutting, actions are hurting others, or everyone has to tip-toe around them to prevent an explosion, that’s definitely a problem. By the same token, if they are withdrawn, distant, and sullen in their anger, this is a problem as well!
Though we want to acknowledge the hard things our kids are struggling with, we should also be reminding them that living in anger is dangerous. Our response to what makes us angry can ruin relationships and even lead to bitterness. But how we view ourselves, others, and God will change how we deal with our anger. It’s not just knowing these things that will effect change in our kids’ hearts! This change in perspective really comes down to trusting God with no reservations.
Trusting What God Says About Us
Many times, when our kids are angry over things that seem unfair, they have forgotten what “fair” means. For us—sinners who have rebelled against a perfectly holy God—”fair” means punishment for our sin! It means a life that is entirely miserable and separated from God. Fair means no good things whatsoever because we do not deserve any goodness or kindness from anyone, least of all, from the God we have sinned against.
Yet because the justice of God has been satisfied by Jesus’ atonement for our sins, we are freely offered forgiveness! Jesus gives us the opportunity and ability to have a relationship with the God whose face we have spit in. This is the greatest unfair circumstance in our lives! We have been given forgiveness, love, acceptance, and care when we deserve nothing but punishment (Psalm 103:8-12). How kind and good that God would do this. Not because of what we deserve, but because He loves us so much and lavishes His mercy and grace upon us.
If your kids have accepted God’s gift of salvation, they are His children! They do not have to wonder about what God thinks of them—He tells us EVERYWHERE in His Word. He tells us that He gave up His own Son for us and that proves He will never withhold anything we need (Romans 8). He assures us that He looks at us compassionately as a father who cares for His children and understands us (Psalm 103:13-14).
Trusting What God Says About Others
Sometimes our kids’ anger is directed at others who have hurt or betrayed them. It may be as simple as not receiving the praise or position they desired or struggling with how others are continually annoying them. Maybe they feel like a friend has turned against them, or an adult they admired and trusted has suddenly become indifferent to them. When this happens, it may be tempting to become angry and unforgiving towards these people. To our kids, these people deserve their anger and even their hatred. Yet, when they trust what God says about these people, it can help our kids move past anger at these people and instead, forgive as they have been forgiven.
The truth is, Jesus died for the sin of these people too! Yes, they are sinners just like we are. But they are just as much the ones Jesus wants to save as we are (John 3:16). If they have accepted Jesus, then they are our brothers and sisters in Christ (Romans 12:5). If not, they are still offered the same forgiveness, mercy, love, and grace we have been offered (Romans 5:6-11). Jesus truly loves them just as much as He loves us, and He wants them to be His children as much as He desired that we would be.
When our kids trust God’s work in the lives of others, their anger at them can melt away. Instead of hatred or resentment, compassion and unconditional love can fill their hearts and be their first response. This trust frees our kids from feeling hurt and wronged because they know God is using even those hard circumstances to grow them and the other person involved.
Trusting What God Tells Us About Himself
In order to manage anger well, our kids also need to trust what God tells us about Himself. Often, our kids’ anger stems from a wrong view of God or a misunderstanding of how He works in our lives. They may think He doesn’t care about them or their problems. When things seem unfair, they may decide God isn’t good or just after all. Perhaps they even feel like the hard things they’ve experienced are proof of His lack of care or His punishment of them. Yet God tells us that this is not how He works.
Instead of withholding good things from us, our God has richly blessed us. Every good gift comes from Him, and we can be certain that He never changes (James 1:17). Salvation through His grace has given us more spiritual riches than we can even imagine or understand with our earthly minds (Ephesians 1:7-10, 1 Corinthians 2:9). His mercy and compassion are new every morning, and He is faithful in His love for us (Lamentations 3:21-24). This Father always has our good in mind and continually lavishes His blessing on our lives.
Not only is the character of our God so loving and kind towards us, but He is good and just in His dealings with others as well (Ecclesiastes 3:17, Romans 12:19). Though we often don’t understand what He is doing, His ways are unfailingly wise (Romans 11:33). Despite what we see or feel that seems hard and wrong in our lives, God is in control. He created us and sovereignly rules over our lives and circumstances (Revelation 4:2-11).
How Trusting God About These Things Helps Our Kids
In order to trust what God tells us about ourselves, others, and Himself, our kids have to learn these truths! This is the whole reason we wrote Don’t Blow Up: Seeking God’s Way Instead of Anger. This Bible study dives deep into the struggle most of us experience with anger and the results of this struggle. Through their study, your kids will learn what God says about anger and also what He says about how we respond to the anger we feel. Our desire is that whether your kids tend to “blow up” or “bottle up,” their trust in God will help them learn to manage anger God’s way.
Ever since she was a little girl, listening delightedly as her mom read books and poetry out loud to her, Jessica has been enraptured by the power of words. When she is not reading or scribbling down poems of her own, Jessica can most likely be found hiking with her husband or trying out new recipes. She has yet to discover at what point plants, journals, and coffee mugs become *excessive,* but is sure she can still find room for one or two more. Through her bachelor’s degree in English Literature, opportunities to write for various small publications, and experience as a Staff Writer for Not Consumed Ministries, Jessica has grown in her passion for writing and desire to share that passion with others. As she seeks to show the goodness and beauty of God in her calling as a writer-wife-homemaker, Jessica hopes to encourage you in your relationships with family, friends, and most importantly, in your relationship with Christ.