Throughout the course of history, some things haven’t changed. In both the Old and New Testament times people struggled to control their emotions – and how they expressed those emotions – just as we do today.
Choose one or two of the following Bible passages to read to your children. If the passage is too difficult for your kids to understand, use the summary provided in the “key concepts.” Use the questions for discussion to help your children internalize the Biblical truths and apply them to their own life.
Read Psalm 39:1-4,9,11.
It can be hard to restrain ourselves from saying things we shouldn’t. In Psalm 39, David said he remained silent when he was angry because he recognized that God was in control. Talking to God and remembering that God is in control can help us stay quiet even when we feel like yelling or saying hurtful things to others. God gives us instructions in the Bible to help us stay in control of the words we say (James 1:19-20). Pray, asking that God would give you wisdom to talk to him first when you are angry or upset as David did.
Read James 1:19-20.
The Bible has very clear instructions on how to have harmony in communication. James wrote that we are to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry. Most people use poor communication skills, rather than those described in the Bible. Communication works better when we are focused on listening rather than speaking. Choosing to be patient and forgiving, rather than being quick to get angry with each other, helps keep our home peaceful.
Have your children practice filling in the blanks in this phrase from James 1:19:
“Everyone should be quick to ________, slow to ________ and slow to become ________.”
Now pray James 1:19 aloud, allowing your children to fill in the missing words as you pray.
Read Psalm 52, Ephesians 4:29 and Jeremiah 9:23-24.
It is better to let others praise us than to praise ourselves. No one likes to hear people boast and brag. We encourage others when we say kind things about them. The Bible tells us that the only thing that we should boast about is knowing God.
Close by praying a prayer similar to this one: “God, please watch over the door of my mouth so that I do not brag about myself. Instead, help me to think of things that I can say to encourage and build others up.”
Before we speak, it is important to consider how we are feeling. Prior to voicing our thoughts, we should ask ourselves, “Am I angry, sad, hurt, jealous or feeling bad in some other way? Then we need to take those feelings to God and ask Him to help us get our feelings under control before we speak. God already knows what we are feeling and thinking. He is our best helper in times when we are frustrated, upset, angry, hurt or disappointed. God can help us control our emotions and allow us to speak to others with gentleness, kindness and respect, even though we are feeling bad.
Close by reading 1 John 1:9. Pray together, asking God to forgive any sins like hatred, discord, fits of rage, selfishness and envy and to fill your hearts with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness instead (Galatians 5:22-23).
Read Proverbs 16:21,24.
It’s tempting to raise our voices, talk louder or yell to get others to listen to us. But when we speak with soft and gentle words, others are more likely to listen to us than when we yell or scream. Let’s pray, confessing that at times we have spoken with harsh or unkind words. Let’s ask God to help us speak with pleasant and kind words instead.
Give your children the opportunity to pray, repeating your words after you.
Actions that express concern for the needs of others indicate love for that person. Saying “I love you” carries little meaning unless it is accompanied by actions that show love. Pray, asking God to help you show love to others through actions and words.