In continuing our reflection series in Proverbs, Younan Younan shares his message about the implications of anger from the book of Proverbs 14.
Younan serves as the Director of Information Technology (IT) at Tyndale University.
Good morning, everyone. Welcome to our continuing series of reflections on the book of Proverbs this summer.
I'm Younan Younan, and I work in the Information Technology Department here at Tyndale. It's my pleasure today to share with you some thoughts about a couple of verses in Proverbs 14. In verse 29, it says, "Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick tempered displays folly". Verse 30 says, "A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones".
We're talking today about anger, as you probably guessed, and we all know that anger has dangerous powers and implications. And it's not good for you and for me. But the question is how bad anger is? And is there different kinds of anger? Should we learn not to be angry? According to Proverbs 14, anger has very bad implications on our body, our community, and on our ability to make wise decisions. Anger is far worse on our body than anxiety, than sorrow, than any other emotions. Even if we don't show it, we learned to hide and suppress our anger, and smile. And we live in a culture that says good people do not get angry.
In one report, researchers found that healthy people who are often angry or hostile, are 19% more likely than calmer people to get heart diseases. Anger doesn't only damage our health and body, it also affects and damage our community. Proverbs 29:22 says, "An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot tempered person commits many sins". When we're angry, we throw words around that wound and hurt people, and damage relationships. Damaged relationships take a long time to be healed. So anger is not only bad for our health, and our body, and our community, it also cloud our ability to make wise decisions and choices. Verse 29, says "Whoever is patient", which is the opposite of quick tempered or an angry person, "Whoever is patient has great understanding. But one who is quick tempered displays folly". See the ability to think before speaking, or acting, is a sign of great maturity. And throughout the book of Proverbs, the notion was that learning leads to knowledge. Knowledge is then transformed to be wisdom. Well developed wisdom becomes understanding, which can then be passed on to others. So, are we saying that anger is bad? Well, everybody gets angry from time to time, because anger is a completely normal human emotion. If we don't ever get angry about anything, we don't love anything. Because if you love, and see the thing you love threatened, you will be angry. And if you are indifferent, you are not in love. So it seems that there is a connection between anger and love. We're going to explore that more in few minutes. For some people, their anger about what they love, gets out of control, begins to ruin their life, or turn destructive. It becomes a problem it becomes a sin, and if ignored, it can cause difficulties in their communities, marriages, relationships, at our workplaces and in our everyday life.
Let's see what the Bible says about anger. In Ephesians 4:26, it says, "Be angry and do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger". In another translation, it says, "In your anger, do not sin". So it assumes, assumes that we will get angry. And it says, "In your anger, do not sin, do not let the sun go down while you're still angry". We also know that Jesus himself got angry at the temple courts. And we know that God gets angry. There are many verses in the Bible that talk about God's anger. So the question here is, is that a different kind of anger? Let's see if our anger is different than the anger of Jesus and of God. Timothy Keller argues that our anger got disordered, because our love is disordered. And he says that disordered love creates disordered anger. Why do we get angry, if we were snubbed, for example, more angry than we are about the injustice in the world, or about a war that's taking place in a different country. See, if all what we are looking for and love, ultimately, is, for example, people approval, good reputation, or status or position or wealth, then when anything gets between us, and the thing we love, we become very angry. We get angry over the wrong causes. But Jesus' anger was pure and completely justified, because at its roots, was concerned for God's holiness and worship, because the things he loved were properly ordered. If we look deeper in Jesus anger, we find the following. One, His anger had the proper motivation. In other words, He was angry for the right reasons. Jesus' anger did not arise from petty arguments or personal snubs against Him. There was no selfishness involved. Number two, His anger had the proper focus. He was not angry at God, or at the weaknesses of other people. His anger targeted sinful behaviour, and true injustice. Number three, His anger had the proper control. Jesus was never out of control, even in His wrath. The temple leaders didn't like his cleansing of the temple, but he had done nothing sinful. He controlled his emotions, His emotions did not control Him. Number four, Jesus' anger had the proper duration. He did not allow his anger to turn into bitterness. He did not hold grudges. He dealt with each situation properly, and he handled anger in good time. See, when we get angry, too often we have improper control or an improper focus. We fail in one or more of the above points. James 1:19 says "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires". See, Jesus did not exhibit man's anger here.
So how to get rid of and control our anger? Here are three steps to deal with our disordered anger. Number one, admit it. See this is the first step of the learning curve. Anger is one of these behaviours that hides itself. We usually deny it, and fail to recognize that we were angry. Number two, we need to analyze it. We need to ask ourselves, what is the reason behind our anger and who we are angry at. For example, if we fail to plan our time properly, and we are late for an appointment, we shouldn't be angry at a person who's driving according to the speed limit. See, anger comes from what you believe, not from what people do to you. And then thirdly, we learn, we need to learn to transform it. Chapter 15:1 says "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger". So we need to be trained to respond gently, and defuse our anger.
Friends, in conclusion, my prayer is that we all learn to be slow to anger, slow to react, and think a lot before we get angry and respond. But when we do get angry, my prayer for all of us, is to have the courage to admit it, the time to analyze it, and the skill to transform it.
I will leave you with Ephesians 4:26 that says, "Be angry and do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger". Have a blessed day. And thank you for tuning in.
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