Focal Passage: Proverbs
14:16-17, 29; 19:11-12; 22:24-25
My mother and I were arguing
at the dinner table. We both got angry. I got grounded.
I held my tongue, but I was
still mad! I balled up my fist, under the table and out of sight — or so I
thought. But she knew! How do moms do that? Grounded again, for another week.
If I couldn’t verbalize it,
and if I couldn’t make a fist under the table, what was I supposed to do with
Store it away, obviously,
and let it surface years later in a Biblical Recorder Sunday School lesson.
It’s going to come out, one
way or the other, like steam in a boiler.
We can vent it in measured
doses, like blowing the whistle on a locomotive.
We can put it to productive
use, like driving the train or heating a building.
Or we can let it build up
until the whole thing blows.
According to Ephesians 4:26,
it’s not the anger that’s the problem. It’s what we do with it: “Be angry, but
sin not.” And how do we do that?
“Don’t let the sun go down
on your anger.”
We can’t help getting mad,
but we don’t have to hang on to it.
Like a fever, anger
indicates that something needs attention. Settle it. Work it out.
Otherwise we might “make
room for the devil” — in a word, sin. Today’s verses offer additional advice
about how to “be angry, but sin not.”
The most consistent theme is
not to be rash or quick-tempered. Instead, try exercising restraint (14:16-17,
29; 19:11; 22:24b).
Remember “count to 10?”
That’s why my e-mail has a “Save Draft” button: to keep me from hitting “Reply”
(or worse, “Reply All”) before I’ve thought through my response.
Also, nobody likes a
“schemer” (14:17), someone who bears grudges and plots revenge.
Likewise for one who is
“given to anger” (22:24a), constantly nursing and cultivating ill feelings.
You just become sour and
When you’re angry, don’t use
any power you may have over another person to take unfair advantage, like a
king whose anger roars like a lion (19:12).
Be careful of the company
you keep. Hanging out with hotheads or habitually angry people simply
reinforces our own bad habits (22:24-25).
Most of all, how generous it
is “to overlook an offense” (19:11)!
“Turn the other cheek,”
Anger comes out, one way or
It’s how we handle it that
“Be angry, but sin not.”