When is it right to get mad?

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Anger (3 of 3): Right Kind of Mad

For dad only:

Get to the Heart of Anger

Many times a good dad will get boiling mad for the right reason. How we respond, however, makes a huge impact on our children’s lives.

If you see your kid coloring on the pages of the family Bible, you may become furious over such sacrilege. However, you cannot cuss the child out and kick him with your boot. Bridle your anger and ride it productively, not destructively.

In such a situation you may have to order a “Cease and desist” command immediately, then go for a walk to think of a creative way to help your child to love God’s Word the way you do (not try to add to it with Crayola’s). What you do when you are calm (teaching, training, bonding) makes a huge difference in how often you get provoked to anger.

How to prevent anger in children

Lou Priolo’s Heart of Anger helps parents see more clearly how to deal with stressors in the family. He discusses the following 25 issues that make kids mad (even though they do not realize why they are mad.):

  1. Lack of marital harmony
  2. Parents reversing God-given roles
  3. Establishing and maintaining a child-centered home
  4. Not admitting you are wrong, and not asking forgiveness
  5. Failing to keep your promises
  6. Modeling sinful anger
  7. Habitually disciplining while angry
  8. Child training with worldly methodologies
  9. Being inconsistent with discipline
  10. Having double standards
  11. Being legalistic
  12. Not allowing enough freedom
  13. Allowing too much freedom
  14. Not listening to your child
  15. Not making the time just to talk
  16. Abusing him physically
  17. Not praising or encouraging your child
  18. Constantly finding fault
  19. Comparing them to others
  20. Scolding
  21. Chastening in front of others
  22. Mocking your child
  23. Ridiculing or name-calling
  24. Unrealistic expectations
  25. Practicing favoritism

In chapter one, Priolo says angry children will be argumentative, bitter, contentious, and disrespectful. Priolo says this characterological anger will become rebellion in five common stages:

1) hurt

2) bitterness

3) anger

4) stubbornness

5) rebellion

Priolo’s diagnostic questions to determine if you are guilty of a child-centered home will take you long strides to building a God-honoring family. Learn how to overcome the other 24 issues listed above and rebellion-proof your children when you get Heart of Anger.


Read this to the kids:

Good and Angry

Last time Rusty had anger issues when playing baseball. He won’t be able to play with his new bat and ball for a while.

Rusty jumped out of bed, “Yes! It is Sunday morning. I get to see Carter again.”

Dad had stopped in his doorway. “Well, it looks like you have got a good spirit about you today Rusty. Nothing makes me happier than to see kids who are excited about church.”

“Can we invite Carter’s family over for lunch?” Rusty asked.

“Yes,” Dad said with a nod. “Your mom and I had already discussed it, since they didn’t get to stay and eat yesterday.”

The family ate a quick breakfast and got ready for church. They arrived early and went to the prayer room where other saints had gathered to connect with the Lord.

When they left the prayer room, Rusty headed for the front of the church.

“Where are you going, young man?” Mom asked.

“To watch for Carter,” he said.

Rusty stood at the front and opened the door for each person or family coming in. He searched the parking lot and looked closely for Carter’s family’s car. Just as church was about to begin, he saw their car pull into the lot. Rusty dashed out the front door of the church to the spot where the car was pulling in to park.

When Rusty got to the car, Carter’s dad was getting out. “Hi,” Rusty said.

“Hey, Rusty, how are you this morning?” Carter’s dad said.

“Fine. Is Carter with you?”

Carter’s dad sighed. “No. I’m sorry, his mom grounded him and would not let him come to church today.”

“Will he come tonight?” Rusty asked.

“Nope. He’s grounded for a week. Sorry.”

Rusty felt sick to his stomach.

Carter’s dad headed for the church doors. Rusty followed slowly behind. He felt awful. He wanted to say something. He wanted to yell really loud and say, “WHY WOULD YOU KEEP A KID FROM COMING TO CHURCH?”         Instead, he told himself, That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard.

He saw a rock and kicked it. Rusty wanted to get Dad and have him tell Carter’s dad he had to bring Carter to church. You just don’t punish a kid by keeping them from God! Rusty huffed and grit his teeth.

Dad was coming out of the front of the church. “Rusty? Church is starting. What are you doing out here?”

“I was looking for Carter,” Rusty felt limp. He felt like he wanted to slump up against Dad and cry. “They didn’t let him come.”

“I know, I just saw his dad.”

“Why? How can they keep him out of church? He just got baptized and he needs the Holy Ghost. Why?”

Dad put his arm around Rusty and led him inside.

“I wanted to yell at him,” Rusty said. “I got mad again. So much for my promise yesterday to control my temper.”

“Well,” Dad said thoughtfully, “this is different. You should get mad about something like this. It’s called righteous indignation. A godly sense of justice will make us mad when rich people steal from poor people or when someone makes fun of God. It is good to defend good things and to hate evil things. Even Jesus got mad like that.”

“So I’m not in trouble?” Rusty said as they stopped before entering the worship service.

“No,” Dad said, “I’m proud of you. Even though you were angry for the right reason, you did not act foolishly by yelling or something.”

Rusty sighed again. “Well, if I ever do get the wrong kind of mad again, please don’t ever punish me by not letting me go to church.”


Now discuss it!

Have you ever felt what Rusty was feeling?


Did he handle it the right way? What do you do when you feel this way?


What are some issues that should make us mad?

Abortion, theft, lying, false doctrine, selfishness, etc.


When you grow up, will you punish your kids by keeping them out of church?


How could Carter’s parents have punished him more effectively without grounding him from going to church?


How should Rusty deal with his feelings right now?

Go pray and ask God to forgive Carter’s parents.

Get his dad’s permission to talk to Carter’s dad about at least letting Carter come to church while he’s grounded.


What does Ephesians 4:26 mean? What is the difference between anger and rage?


Read God’s Word together:

Angry Miracles

Now there was no water for the congregation; so they gathered together against Moses and Aaron.

And the people contended with Moses and spoke, saying: “If only we had died when our brethren died before the LORD! Why have you brought up the assembly of the LORD into this wilderness, that we and our animals should die here? And why have you made us come up out of Egypt, to bring us to this evil place? It is not a place of grain or figs or vines or pomegranates; nor is there any water to drink.”

So Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and they fell on their faces.

And the glory of the LORD appeared to them. Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.”

So Moses took the rod from before the LORD as He commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock; and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?”

Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank.

Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”

(Numbers 20:2-12, NKJ)


[Jesus] entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand. So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him.

And He said to the man who had the withered hand, “Step forward.”

Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?”

But they kept silent.

And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.

(Mark 3:1-5, NKJ)


Let’s talk about it!

What did Moses get mad about?


What did he do?


What had God told Moses to do?


Moses acted in fury (rage) not in faith. What did God say, in Numbers 20:12, would happen to him and Aaron because they lacked faith?


Have you been angry for righteousness sake, yet acted wrongly about it?


Did you know Jesus got mad? What made Him angry?


Did He sin when He was angry?


How does Proverbs 16:31 apply to how Jesus dealt with His anger?


How can a person get angry, yet still work with God?


Role play: How would you react if your church closed down?


What if your church started preaching false doctrine? What would you think?


What if you saw a big kid take a little kid’s lunch? How would you feel?


You see a bully push a child into a mud puddle. Do you let your anger make you chase the bully, or do you use your angry energy to go help the child?


Memorize it!

Proverbs 16:32

He that is slow to anger

is better than the mighty;

and he that ruleth his spirit

than he that taketh a city.

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