For the leader: This would be a great week to play a game together! A game is  an easy way to allow people’s competitive nature to shine though (or their lack thereof!) ! You could play a quick game of Head’s Up on your phone, or Catch Phrase, or even something like corn hole if you have time! Whatever you choose, a game is the perfect segway into today’s questions! Have fun celebrating how we are each wired differently with competition.

When we feel anger, our emotions tell us it’s 100 percent someone else’s fault. But James, the brother of Jesus, has something different to say. When we take a step back and acknowledge what the problem really is, anger will no longer be the boss of us.

Start Talking

  • Who is a character in a book, show, or movie whom you would describe as Angry (anyone thinking about “Anger” from Inside Out ?!)?  What about them made you describe them as Angry?
  • What’s something other drivers do on the road that makes you angry?
  • Have you encountered someone in your personal life that you would describe as Angry? What did it feel like to be around that person?

What About You?

  • Describe your relationship with anger. Do you tend to shout out or shut down?
  • Do you think your answer to the question above is a learned behavior or a natural one?
  • What and/or who triggers your strongest feelings of anger? Explain.
  • Think about a recent situation in which you found yourself becoming angry. What did you want that you didn’t get?
  • It is often said that anger is a secondary emotion, meaning anger is a byproduct of another emotion we are experiencing. During the times  you are angry, what would you say is the primary emotion that is causing your anger? Feel free to give an example!

Look It Up

Read James 3:13–16 and James 4:1–2.

  • What stands out to you?
  • Where does James say our anger comes from?
  • What does James say is the potential consequence of our anger if we don’t acknowledge the root cause?

What Now?

  • How might your relationships be impacted if, in the midst of your anger, you acknowledge that part of the problem is you’re not getting what you want?
  • Wisdom leads to humility. What would it look like to practice humility in a situation that typically angers you?
  • Are there any anger warning signs you could pay attention to prevent anger from being your boss?
  • What practical step can you take the next time you feel anger bubble up inside of you?

Moving Forward

When anger begins to emerge…

  • Pause.
  • Own your part.
  • Acknowledge it’s okay to not get your way.

As you do this, you will move away from self-centeredness and closer to others-centeredness. This will lead to a life where anger is no longer the boss of you.

Consider posting this in your car, bathroom mirror, or desk: “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”  —Philippians 2:5–7

Additional Resources

How to Deal with Toxic People by Dr. Caroline Leaf (Podcast)
The Root of Sinful Anger by Desiring God (Video)
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown (Book)
Living Beyond Your Feelings: Controlling Your Feelings So They Don’t Control You by Joyce Meyer (Book)
Enemies of the Heart by Andy Stanley (Book)
Living Beyond Yourself: Exploring the Fruits of the Spirit by Beth Moore (Bible Study Book)