In life, we experience many disappointments. Our family members, friends, co-workers and other people disappoint us for different reasons, often bringing with it anger and resentment. Do life’s disappointments always (or often) lead you to anger? If so, why?
Read and Discuss
While anger is not a sin, the Bible teaches us that how we respond in our anger can lead us to sin. Life’s messiness and dysfunctions come from anger that is not properly and healthily expressed. Genesis 27:41-28:9 gives us four biblical principles about anger and disappointment and how we are to deal with it:
Revenge is often the natural consolation for people who have been hurt, don’t let the thought of revenge take over your life (v. 41-42). How did Esau respond to his disappointment with the situation? What did Rebekah do when she was told about what Esau had said (v. 42)? Do you think that Esau’s anger and his desire for revenge were justifiable? Discuss what happens when thoughts of revenge take over your life.
As Christ’s follower, what should be your response when someone has unfairly disappointed and angered you? Is it easy to love and forgive? Why is it possible that a person with Christ in his life can actually do it?
Anger often subsides with time, but don’t allow too much time to pass before dealing with any residual anger (v. 43-45). Rebekah advised Jacob to leave and stay with his Uncle Laban (Rebekah’s brother) until Esau’s anger subsided. Rebekah knew that time would settle down Esau’s anger. Unfortunately, it didn’t subside until after decades have passed. Discuss why it is possible to forgive but harder to forget.
Time may lessen your anger, but why is it important to deal with it as soon as possible? What does Ephesians 4:26-27 teach us about anger? What happens when you don’t deal with your anger and allow it to prolong?
Sometimes, (temporary) separation or avoidance is needed to deal with disappointment or to diffuse anger (ch. 27:46–28:5). How does temporary separation diffuse anger between two people who are not seeing each other eye to eye? Share how walking away from a fight helped you to calm down and think things over.
Giving up hope and responding in anger is not the solution to disappointment. It is trusting in God and finding hope in Him (v. 28:6-9). Rebekah used a different reason so that Isaac will allow Jacob to leave. But in hearing that Isaac blessed Jacob again and that Isaac did not want Jacob to have a Hittite wife, Esau grew even angrier. What did he do out of anger to displease his parents? Why is it dangerous to make an important decision or to respond to disappointment when you are angry? How does trusting in God give you hope in a disappointing situation?
“If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.”
Anger is a normal emotion that anyone can feel when dealing with unfairness or disappointments in life. However, it should not rule your life nor cause you to give up hope. Instead, you must trust God and find hope in Him. Are you upset right now because someone or a situation disappointed you? How will you ask God to calm you down, give you the right mind to think, and find hope in Him?
In Prayer: Heavenly Father, my life may not be similar to Isaac, Rebekah, Esau, and Jacob, but just like them, I deal with disappointment and anger all the time. Lord, please help me to be patient. Help me to give time and space to myself and to the person I am upset with so that I can deal with my anger without falling into sin. Thank you Lord that I am not alone in coping with it, because I have the Holy Spirit to help me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.