The internet is full of quick resources and self-help advice amidst times of calm and times of crisis. Today we talk about Anger. You can find help on literally anything on the go anytime, anywhere. But how much of it is true and actually helpful and how much of it is just click-bait and sensationalism. Thankfully, we have a book that has stood the test of time. King Solomon, the wisest man to have ever lived (excluding Jesus fully-man of course). Solomon, Son of David, when asked by God he can have anything he wants, Solomon responded “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (2 Chronicles 1:10). It is through this godly wisdom that we have the book of Proverbs today! Today we focus on Proverbs 14 – Losing it!
Let’s journey through Proverbs!
Wisdom vs Anger
The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. 2 Whoever fears the Lord walks uprightly,
but those who despise him are devious in their ways. 3 A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride,
but the lips of the wise protect them. 4 Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty,
but from the strength of an ox come abundant harvests. 5 An honest witness does not deceive,
but a false witness pours out lies. 6 The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none,
but knowledge comes easily to the discerning. 7 Stay away from a fool,
for you will not find knowledge on their lips. 8 The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways,
but the folly of fools is deception. 9 Fools mock at making amends for sin,
but goodwill is found among the upright. 10 Each heart knows its own bitterness,
and no one else can share its joy. 11 The house of the wicked will be destroyed,
but the tent of the upright will flourish. 12 There is a way that appears to be right,
but in the end it leads to death. 13 Even in laughter the heart may ache,
and rejoicing may end in grief. 14 The faithless will be fully repaid for their ways,
and the good rewarded for theirs. 15 The simple believe anything,
but the prudent give thought to their steps. 16 The wise fear the Lord and shun evil,
but a fool is hotheaded and yet feels secure. 17 A quick-tempered person does foolish things,
and the one who devises evil schemes is hated. 18 The simple inherit folly,
but the prudent are crowned with knowledge. 19 Evildoers will bow down in the presence of the good,
and the wicked at the gates of the righteous. 20 The poor are shunned even by their neighbors,
but the rich have many friends. 21 It is a sin to despise one’s neighbor,
but blessed is the one who is kind to the needy. 22 Do not those who plot evil go astray?
But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness. 23 All hard work brings a profit,
but mere talk leads only to poverty. 24 The wealth of the wise is their crown,
but the folly of fools yields folly. 25 A truthful witness saves lives,
but a false witness is deceitful. 26 Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress,
and for their children it will be a refuge. 27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,
turning a person from the snares of death. 28 A large population is a king’s glory,
but without subjects a prince is ruined. 29 Whoever is patient has great understanding,
but one who is quick-tempered displays folly. 30 A heart at peace gives life to the body,
but envy rots the bones.31 Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker,
but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. 32 When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down,
but even in death the righteous seek refuge in God. 33 Wisdom reposes in the heart of the discerning
and even among fools she lets herself be known. 34 Righteousness exalts a nation,
but sin condemns any people. 35 A king delights in a wise servant,
but a shameful servant arouses his fury.
I have had the experience of completely losing it many times in my life.
Typically, the situation could go like this: long day, lots of challenges at work, difficult conversations and little irritations have come up throughout the day. I get in the car and head out into traffic to come home.
People cut me off won’t pay attention at the traffic lights. People won’t turn when there’s a green turn arrow, but instead they look both ways.
The heart rate starts to build up. Rage takes over. I can feel it in my neck, and then it just explodes. Horn blasting, and I’m basically shouting in my car for my own benefit. I just lose it.
Anger always finds a way to escape.
Anger causes tremendous issues in our lives. Jesus even said that the distance between anger at someone and murdering them is pretty short because anger basically devalues someone else to the point where we’d be okay if they weren’t alive. (See Matthew 5:21-22.) The word “contempt” comes to mind here (e.g., you’re in my way; you’re not worth paying attention to or respecting; it’d be better if you weren’t there; I can’t control what’s going on with you there).
The wisdom of God has a lot to do with disarming our anger. Anger makes us do things we don’t want to, like lash out (Proverbs 14:3) or act without thinking (Proverbs 14:8). Anger makes really intelligent people act foolish (Proverbs 14:17) and miss the consequences of angry actions (Proverbs 14:12).
So what’s the other side? What does wisdom bring us that helps deal with anger?
One word: patience.
“Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” (Proverbs 14:29)
Patience is one of the wisest virtues because it helps us stop. Then listen and assess reality. Patience keeps us from acting too quickly and violently based on simply what we’re feeling.
Patience helps us take a deep breath and see, really and truly, what matters most.
As you read today’s Proverb, think about how patience and anger have appeared in your life recently. What can chasing after God’s wisdom do in helping you find patience that gives life rather than the anger that takes it away?