Cruising Route 66
“Controlling the Monster”
The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young—let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:1-7
We live in a world of uncontrolled anger, where this emotion has been romanticized in movies, TV, children’s shows, books, magazines, and games. Anger is the base of countless plots that justify the hero’s revenge on the evildoers. It’s used as the groundwork for numerous comedy situations, but anger is not humorous, nor is it entertaining, It is an emotion that often leads to destruction.
Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city. Proverbs 16:32
There are specific phases of anger and we have all experienced at least one of them at one time or another. It can become a monster within us. Anger may begin with mild irritation, being upset or irritated about something. Then it moves to resentment, the feeling of being wronged. Both irritation and resentment can exist in silence, and never be expressed.
Resentment that is fed can soon become wrath, and wrath never goes unexpressed. When this emotion increases it becomes fury, a loss of emotional control and violence. At this point anger is often seen as moving into its last and most dangerous stage, rage. Rage is a mindless reaction that results in destruction.
Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming,… Proverbs 27:4
There are a few important things we learn about anger and recognizing them may help us not move from irritation to rage.
“When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath – your exasperation, your fury of indignation – last until the sun goes down. Leave no room or foothold for the devil – give no opportunity to him.” Ephesians 4:26-27
Anger is a fact of life, so plan on experiencing it, but it must have its boundaries. Every emotion woven into the human experience has the potential of being distorted and perverted. God’s word tells us to love but to restrict that love. We are to love those in the world, but not to love the things of the world. We can be angry but don’t carry that anger to the point of sin. Anger must have safeguards, and there are two mentioned in this passage.
Don’t let the sun go down on your anger… verse 26.
Don’t carry your anger into tomorrow. In other words, don’t allow yourself the luxury of feeling you can take care of it later. Deal with it now!
Don’t give the devil an opportunity…verse 27.
When we are under the control of the Holy Spirit, Christ’s character of love, gentleness, and compassion flows freely through us, love. When we are given over to the things of Satan, we take on his characteristics as well. Anger is a monster that resides with many of us, but it doesn’t have control over us. We can win over anger. It’s simply a matter choice.
A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11
Ignore petty disagreements. Harboring an anger may feel good sometimes but can lead to a deeper problem.
Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out. Proverbs 17:14
Don’t be defensive about your rights. What will be gained? How can you find peace when your mind is constantly tangled with personal justification for your anger?
Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared. Proverbs 22:24-25
Don’t associate with angry people. It’s easy to become angry when you’re in the environment of anger. Don’t befriend people who are prone to violence. Don’t even hang out with those who demonstrate negative passions.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. Proverbs 15:1-2
Keep close check on your tongue, it’s lethal. When not under control, it spews out a venom that attaches itself to the heart. It always hits its target. It doesn’t kill instantly, but rather leaves behind a contagious cancer that can bring about a slow and agonizing death. Keep in mind, however, the tongue can also be a blessing.
Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. Proverbs 27:5-6
Cultivate honesty in your communication. Speak the truth and be willing to hear it. A true friend is one who is willing to speak the truth to help, and inspire even when they could use their words to undermine and wound. In other words, a true friend looks for the good and encourages it, while refusing to point out weaknesses and flaws.
The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked. Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers all wrongs. Proverbs 10:11-12
Let your expectations, and your frustrations with others be less important than your love for them. God has called us to love. TSo do anything else even with righteous justification, violates the greatest commandment, love one another.
Until next time…