Last week, all of my classes memorized James 1:19-20:
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
In looking at these verses, I confessed to my students that I dislike myself when I am mad and I am much more likely to sin when angry. Every student agreed that anger brings about a change in them and not a change for the better. I asked my senior boys to answer two questions in discussion form. First, what does anger do to you and secondly, how do you handle your anger? Here are some responses, all used with permission.
"When people see me angry, they avoid me more than usual. Last year, I was angry most of the time, I don't know why, and sometimes I get angry for no reason. It gets me interested in something boring, I guess, but I really don't like being angry. I am rarely angry this year. I didn't care really. When I'm angry I think of other people worse than me or think, what would Jesus do? I don't punch a bag, or count to ten to get my anger out. I ask myself why am I angry and compare myself to someone in a worse position than me. Another way is for me to just sleep it off."
"When I get angry, I get really quiet, and my face kind of scrunches up. Everyone can tell I'm upset. Anger takes control over my whole body and most of the time, I can't think straight. In order to combat the anger and calm down, I listen to music. I do this partially because I don't want to hear any one's voice, but also because the music that I listen to is very peaceful and calming. Once I listen to the music and have cooled off, I pray to God and request guidance about whatever it was I was angry about."
"When I get angry, I feel as if I am going to lose control, but I don't. I want to just let loose and say and do what is on my mind but I cant because I know my place and know consequences come with my actions. To handle my anger, I try and make something good out of what happened. I am always in a good mood because I smile through a lot of my pain and problems, not letting people know that something is bothering me. Another thing is that I don't hold grudges against people. I may be mad at them at the moment but after some sleep, I won't care. I may not talk to them as closely as I did before but I still won't care."
"Anger makes me get distant from everyone and it causes me not to care about anyone. If I don't care about something, then I will do things and say things that are wrong. Once I get angry at something or someone, then I am done with it and will no longer be a part of it anymore. I handle anger by putting on my big head phones and start listening to "slow jams." When I listen to music, I will be by myself and will stay by myself. I will do this until my initial anger is gone." Hasani 12
"When I get angry, I tend to do or say bad or stupid things. My mind tends to think about what made me mad. If I'm really angry about something, I tend to get depressed. If I really get angry about something, I handle it in several different ways. Most of the time when I'm mad, I tend to isolate myself from everyone. Also when I'm angry, I will not speak to anyone and I walk around with a blank face."
"Anger makes me not want to eat. I don't want to be around anyone and just like to be alone. When I'm angry, I don't think, I just do what I want. I try to stay away from everyone because I know if anyone says anything I don't like, I will probably say something stupid. To control my anger, I go to a room by myself. I also like to play basketball because it keeps my mind free and I don't think when I play; I just play. I also like to play video games because it calms me down, especially when I win."
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