Thursday, September 15, 2005

Jimmy cut me off, and I don't care(?)

I overheard a discussion on NJ101.5 this morning about how anger harms not only those we take it out on, but also ourselves, including physiologically.

Here are some Bible verses on human anger. I have added some comments. How are you doing with these?

Proverbs 14:29--"He who is slow to anger has great understanding,But he who is quick-tempered exalts folly." More than once I have embarrassed myself by lashing out in anger, only to later realize I didn't have the facts correct and the person was not at fault.

Proverbs 15:18--"A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,But the slow to anger calms a dispute." Is it that we want to stir up strife? Perhaps our temper adds fuel to the fire, while a calm demeanor is like water dousing the flames.

Proverbs 16:32--"He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city." How many of you have read the fable by Aesop where the sun and wind see who can make a man take his coat off sooner? The wind blows and blows, but the man just holds the coat tighter around himself. Then the sun shines brightly, and the man, now very warm, takes his coat off. We can force a person's hand with power, but we can move a person's heart with warmth.

Proverbs 19:11--"A man's discretion makes him slow to anger,And it is his glory to overlook a transgression." I too often find it "necessary" to respond in some negative way to a wrong committed against me. In my mind, the perpetrator must know the harm he caused, however trivial.

Proverbs 22:24-25--"Do not associate with a man given to anger; Or go with a hot-tempered man, Or you will learn his ways And find a snare for yourself. " I have heard it said that we become like those we are around. This doesn't mean we should never associate with angry people, but the more we are with them the more we'll become angry.

Eccliastes 7:9--"Do not be eager in your heart to be angry,For anger resides in the bosom of fools." Strange enough, it seems some people want to be angry. Maybe like those who want to be sad, they desire attention? Even if somebody were to find a way to ease their anger, they would refuse to be placated. It is foolish, isn't it?

Galatians 5:19-21--"Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: ...outbursts of anger, ...and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." If we inherited hell because we became angry, we'd all perish in that lake of fire. But I believe this passage refers to those whose pattern is one of anger (and other sins).

Ephesians 4:26--"BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger." We know Jesus had moments of anger. We can too, and yet be free from sin while doing so. Is our motive to harm or to help? Have we lashed out in anger, or did we carefully consider how to respond to the situation before taking action? As for not letting the sun go down on our anger, my wife and I live this out. Whenever we have a disagreement, we make sure we resolve it. In fact, we can't find peace in our hearts until we work it out, and I can't recall a time that we went to sleep still angry at one another.

James 1:19-20--"This you know, my beloved brethren But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. For the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God." I know you all know the cliche about why we have 2 ears and one mouth. But I'm repeating it anyway. How common it is for us to chomp at the bit just waiting to tell our side rather than listening to what the other person has to say. How can God be in that? How can human, sinful anger produce anything godly?

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