Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”
I want to take a moment to look to an emotion that Jesus rarely shows; anger. As we build to the time of the cross, Jesus does not show anger to the people, who are leading him there, he accepts his fate and instead petitions on their behalf to God. Yet there is a very famous time Jesus showed anger and that was in the temple. Anger isn’t always a negative emotion, sometimes it’s okay to be a little bit angry. Have you ever felt angry when you have seen someone be bullied? Or perhaps you have even been angry with God. Firstly God can take our anger. He can take all we have to throw at Him and more, so never be afraid to show God your true self. But secondly Jesus understood that when the world doesn’t seem fair or right, then it is okay to get angry, it just depends on what you do with that anger. If you use that anger to hurt someone else then that isn’t okay but if you use that anger and turn into a passion for changing something, be it climate change or helping someone out then that becomes justified anger.
Reflection for Mum’s
As a parent our patience is only so big. We can give and give and give but eventually even when we try not to we snap. It can be horrifying for any parent to realise when you have overreacted to something and caused your little one to cry, but we are only human too. They look up to us to role model good behaviour and we can get it wrong at times. Nevertheless, we need to remember to have a little bit of patience with ourselves but also have the humility to realise when we get it wrong that we can apologise to our little ones. And do you know what the best thing about having faith in God is? It is the ability to let off steam at Him, show Him all our anger and know that He still loves us, no matter what. And if we can show our little ones see how we lean on Him even in the times we would sometimes remain hidden, they can come to see that they too can lean on Him. Jesus was not afraid to use anger and we should be confident in God’s love for us and the ability that we have to seek the forgiveness we sometimes need when we do get it wrong.
Now is our time to respond to the emotion anger in any of the prayer activities below. People can choose their own level and how deep they go. Try just one all week or a different one each day in whatever style you desire:
- Light a candle when you feel yourself getting angry and watch the flame for a moment, knowing and taking in the fact that the light of Christ is in the room. You may also wish to pray for strength and patience. When you are feeling calmer take a moment to explain to your children why you have lit a candle.
- Practice with little ones when they are getting angry to try to blow down the nearest piece of furniture over. It may not fall over but sometimes breathing can help to calm a situation down.
- When you overreact to a situation, give yourself a moment to calm down and then apologise. Showing that you are not perfect and sometimes get it wrong can help children to realise that when they get it wrong how to handle it.
- Practice empathy. You can do this with a doll or a pet and showing how to be kind to them and discussing the emotions that the baby or pet might be feeling when they do certain things to them.
- What things make you angry in the world? Maybe take a moment to write them and down and maybe discuss is there one that everyone can agree upon to work on together. For example if it is climate change that makes you angry is there something you could do as a family to combat this? Or perhaps your child or you know of someone being bullied. Is there something you could do to help that person?
- Look for where anger features in your week, in books, songs or in the world. How do people react to that anger? Is it positively or negatively? How could the person have handled the situation better or did they handle it well to begin with and why?
- Practice angry faces. Recognising anger can be a good way for children to learn how another person may be feeling and be able to react to that emotion better.